[texhax] What program can I use to edit TeX files?

Murray Eisenberg murrayeisenberg at gmail.com
Thu Mar 21 19:31:14 CET 2013

On 21 Mar 2013 11:21:47 -0400, Steven Pisano <spisano1 at nyc.rr.com> wrote:

> I am a copyeditor being asked to edit TeX and LaTeX files for a publisher.
> I thought I could just work on the TeX files in Word, treating them as ASCII files, but the publisher wants me to edit the actual TeX files and send them back to them as edited TeX files, not as ASCII files.
> Could you please tell me what program I should obtain and install to do this kind of work?
> I don't really need to be be able to run TeX/LaTeX as a typesetting program. I just need to be able to edit the native files.

First, I'll second what others have indicated: Word is not a good choice for editing .tex files, simply because it's too easy to be saving in Word format rather than plain text format, hence getting all sorts of other junk embedded that a TeX system won't be able to handle.

Second, while any plain-text editor will work, there's a definite advantage to using such an editor that's TeX-aware: it will do some kind of syntax coloring, catch unpaired brackets, etc.

Third, if you're "just editing" the .tex source files, how do you know your edits are purely innocent and will still give error-free TeX processing?  Hence it's probably a good idea to install a TeX/LaTeX distribution along with a TeX-aware text editor? That way with a simple click on a button you can verify that the modifications you made still allow the document to be processed by TeX. 

Even more, by processing the file(s) in TeX, you'll see an output format (typically, pdf these days) will be a lot easier for you to proofread than would be the .tex source with all its mark-up.

On Mac, you can get an entire TeX distribution that includes an excellent TeX editor in the form of MacTeX (the underlying distribution is TeXLive).  On Windows, proTeXt is a similar combination except that it uses MiKTeX as underlying TeX distribution. 
For links to both, see: http://tug.org/interest.html#free

Murray Eisenberg                     murrayeisenberg at gmail.com
80 Fearing Street                    phone 413 549-1020 (H)
Amherst, MA 01002-1912

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