Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I've been editing LaTeX files using an old version of WinEdt. But at least in the old version I was using, I was having a terrible time ensuring things like matching \begin{...} and \end{...} for frame and itemize blocks when editing Beamer presentations. But I think I finally found a better way to handle LaTeX: the TeXlipse plugin for Eclipse. I can now have background building (at least when I save, and I press ctrl-s quite often instinctually), syntax highlighting and indenting, autocomplete, a handy hierarchical view, and very nice handling of error messages.

The downsides are that you need Eclipse (but I have it already installed for Android software development, and it is free after all) and Eclipse is bloated and doesn't start fast, setting up a new project takes a few more clicks than before, and the PDF viewer that comes with TeXlipse doesn't show all the graphical elements in a Beamer file. The last is a nuisance, but the nice way that the PDF file is linked with the LaTeX source compensates for it, as does the fact that I can just set up SumatraPDF as a secondary PDF viewer, and SumatraPDF (unlike Acrobat) will automatically reload the pdf file when it is regenerated. All in all, it seems worthwhile.


skip said...

Emacs with Org mode is the ultimate combination of simple input, powerful functionality, and polished output (including beamer). Some great features:
Agendas and TODO tracking
Structured documents
Embedded source code edit, tangle, compile, execute
Tables that work like magic
Export: latex, beamer, odt, plain text, ...
Etc. etc.

You seem like the ideal user.

patrick said...

Have you tried
TeXStudio? It is an open source TeX editor for M$ Windows.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I tried Emacs some time in the late 80s or early 90s, and didn't like it. It may have improved since. :-)

TeXStudio looks good, though the nice thing about an Eclipse plugin is that it's Eclipse which I am somewhat familiar with.

Alexander R Pruss said...

I think I slightly prefer TeXlipse to TeXStudio, though TeXStudio looks really good. Even after changing some settings in TeXStudio, TeXlipse seems a touch nicer. I like the fact that it gives me \item at the beginning of every line in an itemize environment (maybe there is a setting in TeXStudio for that), and I was annoyed in TeXStudio by all the colors changing around as I typed, indicating delimiter matching. The delimiter matching in TeXlipse was less intrusive (it activates after a pause--maybe there is a TeXStudio option for that?)

On the other hand, I am having trouble getting the structure outline to update in TeXlipse.

Alexander R Pruss said...

But I keep coming back to WinEdt, because it is so light-weight.