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

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Fri Mar 22 02:05:06 CET 2013

On 2013-03-21 at 20:10:14 +0000, Philip TAYLOR wrote:

 > Henry Law wrote:
 > > I definitely support the idea that Word is a bad choice for an
 > > editor.  Although people know how to use it, most of what they
 > > know how to use is positively unwanted when coding (La)Tex.
 > Although I do not use Microsoft Word as a TeX editor
 > (I use TeXworks and WinEDT), I do not think there is
 > any a priori reason not to : all that is necessary is
 > to remind oneself that its (Word's) sole function in
 > such a role to insert, delete, copy, cut and paste
 > unformatted text : nothing more.

Well, since Steve is on OS X (he asked whether he should install
MacTeX), it doesn't make much sense to discuss the pros and cons of
Microsoft Word in detail.

As far as UTF-8 is concerned, we still don't know how the files Steve
has to edit are encoded.  He certainly doesn't want to re-encode them.
However, almost all editors support UTF-8 nowadys.  I never used Word,
but I recently created a .csv file containing UTF-8 characters.
Though Excel allows to specify the encoding when "importing" .csv
files, a requirement was that the encoding is detected when people
click on the filename in the Exploder.  In this case CP1252 is
assumed.  I found out that UTF-8 is detected if the first byte of the
file is a BOM.  If Word behaves similar then it might be halfways easy
to create UTF-8 files but it can be painful to load UTF-8 files which
don't have the BOM already.
The best choice is indeed to install MacTeX and use either TeXShop or
TeXworks as an editor.  They are both part of MacTeX.

They are both easy to use and the ability to compile the document in
order to check whether it still works is quite helpful.  It's also
helpful to see the formatted output without all the control sequences.
And an extremely nice feature is that one can click on a particular
word in the PDF preview and the cursor jumps to the same word in the
TeX source file (or vice versa).

the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that installing
MacTeX is by far the best solution.  As a Mac user you certainly want
to use TeXShop as an editor.  It's easy to use but quite powerful
though.  It's designed for the Mac, so you will be comfortable with
its user interface immediately.  As said before, it's part of MacTeX,
you don't have to install it separetly.

I'm absolutely sure that TeXShop is exactly what you asked for and that
you'll enjoy it.

BTW, it's strange to see that if someone doesn't mention the OS he's
using, everybody assumes that it's Windows.  And even after you
mentioned MacTeX, people suggested to install Windows binaries.  Sigh!
When will Windows users grok that they are not alone in the universe?


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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