[Tex/LaTex] LaTeX Editors/IDEs


What editors/IDEs are available for easing the process of writing TeX/LaTeX documents?

Please state some useful features like code completion, spell checking, building final DVI or PDF files, etc.

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Best Answer

Emacs with AUCTeX

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac (incl. Aquamacs fork), Unix
  • License: Free software (GPL)
  • Languages: de, dk, fr, is, it, jp, nl, pl, se, sk are supported by AUCTeX language styles
  • Unicode: Yes, from Emacs 23, characters are represented using Unicode
  • RTL/bidirectional support: From Emacs 24, through bidi-mode
  • % !TeX directives: No, but has several realizations of file local variables
  • Syntax highlighting: Yes, customisable through customize and Elisp
  • Code completion: Yes
  • Code folding: Yes
  • Spell checking: Yes
  • SyncTeX: Yes
  • Built-in output viewer: Yes
  • Project management: org-mode, reftex-mode, speedbar

Emacs is one of the oldest programmable editors, which has basic support for TeX and friends. AUCTeX is a plugin to Emacs which provides a much more advanced support for editing LaTeX, ConTeXt, docTeX, Texinfo, and Plain TeX documents. It comes with a sophisticated auto-completion mechanism for environments and commands, supporting by default more than two hundreds LaTeX packages (but virtually any package can be automatically parsed in order to provide autocompletion for its commands and environments).

Emacs with sample file loaded

(In this screenshot, visual-line-mode is enabled. In this mode, lines that are wider than the window are broken between words. The line breaks are not added to the source file.)

RefTeX is another plugin to Emacs, independent from and complementary to AUCTeX, which aids you with the management of bibliographic sources. It makes all your references as easy to find as a C-c <key>, for both BibTeX and biblatex, and also provides convenient shortcuts for navigating between sections in your document, bound by default to C-c =:

Screenshot featuring RefTeX's outliner (Note that colour themes are completely customizable)

AUCTeX supports multi-file parsing, so that huge documents with \input or \include commands are easily compiled with C-c C-c from any of their files. No more going back to the master file in order to compile.

AUCTeX's preview-latex offers WYSIWYG previewing of formulae.

Interesting features of Emacs:

  • Use table-insert along with table-generate-source and table-recognize-* functions to easily create a base for your tables.
  • Lots of useful keyboard shortcuts
  • Extensively documented, both in Emacs, via the Emacs and AUCTeX Texinfo manuals, and via many books in several languages.
  • Supports most of vim's features and keybindings through evil-mode.
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