LaTeX is an incredibly powerful and customizable document preparation system. However, it can be daunting to learn, but luckily there are a variety of editors on Windows that will help you write your LaTeX documents with ease. Every editor listed here allows for previewing, making it possible to spot errors, formatting issues, and even typos quickly. However, the “preview” feature of the various applications varies significantly. Some are merely simple sentence-by-sentence renders, some offer options for the exact text block you are writing, some will even allow for proofreading, and others just can not live up to their promise. That being said, though, the following editors are the best LaTeX editors on Windows.
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5 Best LaTeX Editors for Windows in 2021
TeXnicCenter is an open-source LaTeX editor for Windows. It supports editing, compiling, viewing PDFs, and managing other TeX/LaTeX tools. It’s reasonably easy to use after installing, providing you with several options to get started.
Installation of TeXnicCenter is simple with the provided installer. It’s worth noting that the installer will automatically download and install all of the necessary packages, so installation is essentially automatic. TeXnicCenter is written in C# with the .NET framework. It uses Qt for its graphical interface.
Here are some of the benefits of TeXnicCenter:
ⓐ Easy to use interface, providing several essential options in the main window, including “New,” “Open,” “Save,” and “Preview.”
ⓑ Ability to manage any LaTeX file or project directly, making it easy to view or edit your files.
ⓒ A built-in Selector tool, allowing you to select any text in your document and change it quickly.
ⓓ Built-in Outline view, or the ability to create your own outline (similar to Word’s Outline view).
Overleaf is an online LaTeX editor which supports editing, compiling, and storing files. It also offers an array of features, including collaboration, project management, and publishing.
Everything you do is online, so you’ll need to have an internet connection to use it. This can be a bit inconvenient at times, but Overleaf does offer a great alternative to other LaTeX editors.
Overleaf is one of the top-rated LaTeX editors, with good reason. Here are some of the benefits:
ⓐ Preview every sentence.
- It’s possible to see what your document will look like on the fly, allowing quick error detection and correction.
ⓑ Collaborate with others.
- Overleaf allows you to work with others through the platform, making it easy to create a document with multiple contributors.
ⓒ Document management.
- Managing documents is a breeze in Overleaf, allowing you to organize and sort through your files easily.
ⓓ Converting documents to other formats.
- Overleaf is highly versatile when it comes to converting files, allowing you to export in PDF or even Word format.
TeXstudio is a LaTeX editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has a vast array of features which makes it a fantastic alternative to other editors.
The main advantage of TeXstudio is that it’s completely free and open-source. This makes it possible to use, test, and learn from the editor even if you have no money for a subscription.
Note that TeXstudio is not limited to just LaTeX. It supports compiling other types of files, including RTF/DOC files and HTML.
TeXstudio has a wide variety of features, including:
ⓐ Full Unicode support with many fonts and symbols included for most languages.
ⓑ Formatting with various options, including mathematical formatting, colors, alignments, and more.
ⓒ Completely customizable.
- TeXstudio allows you to customize your workspace and configurations easily, allowing for a “one size fits all” approach.
ⓓ Editing text directly on the screen
- You can directly edit the words on the screen, which is essential for multilingual documents.
ⓔ PDF output with LaTeX
- You can easily export to PDF format, making it possible to view your document in another application or device.
ⓕ Import / Export from Microsoft Word
- TeXstudio offers a plug-in for Microsoft Word, allowing you to convert your Word document directly to LaTeX easily.
LyX is a full-featured LaTeX editor focused on providing a rich feature set for those using it to write technical documents. It has a massive library of useful functions and features, as well as the ability to export your files in PDF format.
LyX has many useful features that allow a very high level of customization when it comes to editing. Here are some of the features included in LyX:
ⓐ Flexible document formatting
- You can create your own custom layouts and choose from a variety of fonts and colors.
ⓑ Quick Preview of your document
- LyX allows you to quickly view the entire document at once, making spotting errors easy.
ⓒ Support for different languages with spelling checking
- LyX will automatically determine the language of your document and provide spelling suggestions.
ⓓ Support for Math formulas
- LyX has built-in support for mathematical formulas, making it easy to enter them into your documents.
ⓔ Automatic formatting of code fragments
- LyX will automatically format code fragments for you, making it easy to write code.
ⓕ Block quotations
- LyX allows you to add block quotes without having to manually insert breaks.
ⓖ Customizable commands
- LyX has a variety of commands that can be customized within the editor.
TeXmaker is another free LaTeX editor for Windows. It’s simple to use, focusing more on providing a great user experience than adding additional features. TeXmaker is an excellent alternative to many of the top LaTeX editors. It’s simple to use, completely free, and cross-platform.
Here are some of the features included in TeXmaker:
ⓐ Cross-platform compatibility
- TeXmaker is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
ⓑ Automatic conversion from Word
- TeXmaker will automatically convert your Word documents to LaTeX, making it possible to compile without doing it manually.
ⓒ Simple Interface
- TeXmaker focuses on providing a simple interface, making it easy to build and edit your document quickly.
ⓓ PDF Preview
- TeXmaker allows you to easily view your document in PDF format, allowing you to see how it looks on the fly.
ⓔ Text wrapping options
- You can configure text wrapping for your document easily, allowing you to write any way you want.
ⓕ Automatic error detection
- TeXmaker can automatically detect common errors, allowing you to fix them immediately without manually doing so.
ⓖ Smart keyboard shortcuts
- TeXmaker allows you to use all of your keyboard shortcuts, making it easy to utilize.
As you can see, there are many LaTeX editors that you can choose from. You have to find the one that offers everything that you want.
For example, if you’re a beginner and want a basic editor, you might want to try Overleaf. On the other hand, if you’re a more advanced user, then TeXnicCenter is a good choice. No matter what editor you choose, you’ll be able to get the job done. It’s just a matter of finding the right tool for the job.