What Latex Editor for osX?

We recently had a conversation with my colleagues about the « best \({\LaTeX}\) Editor ». Apparently, if you have Linux, Kile is the best choice around, and since I do not have Linux, I won’t comment on this!

However, I do have a Mac with osX. Until this conversation, I was using TeXShop, like everyone I know who has a mac. But I had never tried the other ones… until yesterday! So let’s have a look at TexShop, Sublime Text+Skim, TexMaker, and TexStudio.

But first, what are the main features a \({\LaTeX}\) Editor must have? Here is my own list of things that I want:

  • Inverse search: navigate from a location on the pdf file to the corresponding location on the .tex file, and vice-versa.
  • Auto-completion: the Editor should propose \({\backslash}\)begin\{\({\bullet}\)\} if I start writing \({\backslash}\)beg, then, it should propose \({\backslash}\)begin\{itemize\} if I write \({\backslash}\)begin\{it \} .
  • Bibliographical auto-completion: The editor should propose my bibliographic list if I type \({\backslash}\)cite.



As I said, I used TeXShop for many years, I wrote my thesis with it, and all my colleagues have it. It is easy to install (actually, it comes automatically with MacTex), and is quite beautiful. The inverse search works really well, but… that’s almost all!

More specifically, there is a sort of auto-completion, but you need to know it. It is not intuitive. I didn’t know it until I really looked for it. For instance, if you type \({\backslash}\)beq and then Esc (why Esc?) or Tab, then you indeed have the equation environment.
Finally, the bibliographical auto-completion only works if you use the BibDesk application…

Sublime Text + Skim


I really love Sublime Text, and I use it to write my codes. It is a perfect Text Editor that even Emacs users like. So I was really happy to find out that there was a Tex package for ST3.

The installation is not difficult, but not so easy,… and it is not free (well, you can use it for free, but you then have annoying pop-up messages reminding you that you should buy a license). First, install Sublime Text 3 (70 USD !!!), then install the LaTeXing package within ST3 (10 USD), and finally install Skim, which is a free pdf/dvi viewer.

As I said, I was first happy to be able to write \({\LaTeX}\) with Sublime Text, but I was disappointed just few minutes after that. The inverse search only works in one direction (from the pdf to the .tex file), and the auto-completion is similar to the one of TexShop: you need to guess it or to know it to make it work. Finally, the bibliographical auto-completion is absent (or at least I could not find it).



It is now time to try TexMaker. It is easy to install, and works really well. Finally a good auto-completion and bibliographical auto-completion, plus some nice extra-features (list of math symbols, simple navigation in the text,…).

I would certainly have chosen TexMaker, but I was unhappy with two things. First, the inverse-search works, but is very approximative: if you click on a word in the pdf file, it usually finds the corresponding paragraph in the .tex file; is does not pinpoint the word. Then, it is not beautiful… it has a Linux flavor, and not an osX one (for instance, it is not possible to zoom with the trackpad). Also, there are very few options to customize the colors of the text (no Monokai theme 🙁 ).



It is getting late, and I still haven’t found my perfect \({\LaTeX}\) Editor. Let us try a last one: TexStudio.

It is simple to install, and at first, it really looks like TexMaker: nice auto-completion and bibliographical auto-completion, and the same nice features that I liked with TexMaker. But it is more beautiful (the trackpad works well), and the inverse-search works perfectly!

Also, it is higly customizable. I could « import » all my Sublime Text shortcuts in TexStudio, create new ones, and I could change the colors (see below).


If you have osX, and write \({\LaTeX}\), I recommend TexStudio. In my opinion, it is the best in all categories (I did not try Kile for osX, since the installation is quite troublesome). Also, after installation, I would recommend to spend some time to customize it.

For instance, I suggest that you try the dark theme of Rob J Hyndman. To install it, quit TexStudio, copy this text, and paste it in the [format] part of the file ~/.config/texstudio/texstudio.ini .

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2 Commentaires

  1. I’ve been trying Archimedes recently: https://archimedesapp.com

    It doesn’t require a full LaTeX and is great for basic note taking and homework needs.

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