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

David Crosswell davidcrosswell at internode.on.net
Fri Mar 22 16:55:28 CET 2013

On 23/03/13 01:20, Uwe Lück wrote:
> Steve,
> Am Donnerstag, den 21.03.2013, 14:01 -0400 schrieb Steven Pisano:
>> Barbara, Thomas:

Try jedit.


I use it for other work and it handles just about anything.
Kind regards,


>> Thank you so much for your input, and helping along a newbie.
>> Here is a sample file (.txt) I edited (along with original ".tex" file). 
>> Without being specific, the publisher told me I could not give them
>> a "txt" file because "characters will not appear correctly in ASCII format."
> I see that actually a mistake happened, rev-1.tex.txt has question
> marks where in 1.tex are quotation marks.
> It is correct that you should not send ASCII files. 
> But ASCII is not the same as plain text.
> ASCII means that only (at most) the first 128 "characters" 
> are preserved.  The more recent ISO-8859 encodings preserve 
> (almost) 256 characters.  They suffice for "Latin" alphabets, 
> especially they can handle many accents, currency symbols, ... 
> that cannot be encoded by ASCII. 
> The standard today is to encode much more than 256 characters, 
> by Unicode.  With the standard UTF-8 encoding, in general one 
> character cannot be represented by a single byte. 
> This is a difficulty for certain TeX versions, 
> some care is needed to deal with 2-byte characters.
> But still it is plain text, and .tex files are plain text files.
> You should not make .tex.txt files.  This is may be a difficulty 
> with Word: saving "as plain text" what Word internally handles 
> as something binary, and then that funny program adds the 
> .txt extension.
> You should simply edit the .tex files, without changing their 
> names, at least keep the extension .tex.
>> So, all "wars" aside, what I guess I need to know is that if Word 
>> could inadvertently introduce artifacts that would prevent or interfere 
>> with TeX compiling the file correctly, all I need to use is a bare bones 
>> editor that will enable me to give a ".tex" file back to the publisher.
> There are probably ways to avoid such mistakes with Word, 
> and mistakes can happen with plain text editors as well. 
> I would just say that Word is too heavy for the task.
> A plain text editor usually does not change the encoding, 
> but I have experienced difficulties with that.
> Especially, I just had an experience where I received ISO-8859 
> files, while my editor by default saves as UTF-8.  This actually 
> broke the TeX runs.  The text editor I used for this task is in 
> my view not very helpful about encodings, but I found a way.
> I needed a trick to corroborate my suspicion that the original 
> encoding was 1-byte and that I should keep 1-byte encoding. 
> The fogging editor allowed saving "as ISO 8859-15" as an 
> alternative to UTF-8.  That was OK, although the encoding 
> probably was ISO 8859-1 and the editor displayed some symbols 
> wrongly.  I just needed to save "in 1-byte mode".
> That was just a story, it was on Linux.  If you are on Windows, 
> I cannot tell you much, have not worked with it for some years.
> You might just try Notepad and first clarify its behaviour 
> with encodings on examples, we might help here about that.
>> I am not creating dvi files. I am not 'typesetting' the book.
>> I am only doing "language editing," not actually editing the equations
> Then I would consider it bad to get an entire TeX installation. 
> But it would be good if you had an editor with TeX syntax highlighting.
> The terrible gedit that I used here on Ubuntu-Linux at least is 
> great in that it provides TeX syntax highlighting without requiring
> a TeX installation.  Maybe you can find something similar, 
> maybe you could switch to Linux, it is not so difficult today!
> You could simply, as I have done, buy a little laptop and install 
> Linux on it, as an alternative to the computer you mainly use. 
> This may be easier than learning how to choose the operating 
> system while booting or create hard disk partitions for different 
> operating systems.
> Best,
>     Uwe.
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