Bleg: Windows Latex editors

Masochist that I am, I’m one of the few individuals in the universe who voluntarily use all three of Windows, Mac OSX and Linux on a basically daily basis (I have Mac and Windows laptops, and use a Linux desktop in my office). Now, on Mac and Linux installations, there is no question as to which editor I will use; I confess to being an Emacs evangelist (especially to Mac users who haven’t tried Aquamacs). I recognize a lot of people have trouble with the learning curve on Emacs, but once you’re through it, every other editor just seems annoying.

Unfortunately, I’ve never found a good version of Emacs for Windows. In my day, I’ve used Winedt, and LEd (actually, I wrote much of undergrad thesis in Notepad, but I was young and foolish then), both of which I found basically fine, but I’ve always kind of felt like there must be a better program out there. Does anyone have other suggestions?

16 thoughts on “Bleg: Windows Latex editors

  1. I wish I could get over the learning hump with xemacs, but cygwin is terrible and just about everything else out there makes life so much more palatable.

    I’ve been using LYX simply because of the previewing which helps me catch mistakes. It isn’t fully unadulterated LATEX, but it works.

    is it possible to force emacs to display symbols/superscripts when editing something like matlab?

  2. In Windows, I’m a fan of both WinEdt and LyX (with JabRef for bibliography management). I used to use XEmacs extensively in Windows (with the idea that keeping my software consistent through my various workstations would make me more productive) but I’ve started using Notepad++ more and more where I used to use XEmacs.

    I highly recommend LyX to all math/engineering researchers. The WYSIWYM interface can be clunky, and I rarely use the software to create publications, but it’s spectacular for note-taking and recording research as you go, which I think is invaluable.

    Finally, Word is close beating LaTeX for me for scientific publishing (it did that for nonscientific publishing with the 2003 version). There are just a few problems that cause bibtex and latex to remain my choice–with equation numbering and bibliography editing and sharing, primarily–but I think the unicode markup that Microsoft has implemented is faster, cleaner, and more reasonable than LaTeX’s.

  3. My “default” answer to this question is TeXnicCenter (with TeXlive for a TeX distro).

    Having said that, i have to confess that i find it next to impossible to use anything other than Emacs+AucTeX for my TeX needs — these pseudo-WYSIWYG editors are mostly a pain to my taste.

    On that note, there is a “native” Emacs for Windows, Emacs for Windows (native) — which, coupled with the AucTeX link above, could make your life almost “normal”. ;-)

    Good luck…

  4. I have long used Winshell ( which I’ve come to really like.

    Sadly, some combination of a new laptop running Vista and the latest version of Winshell has lead to the spellchecker (either the standard one or the on-the-fly one) being rather buggy: it regularly just stops working, especially on larger documents. It also seems quite slow when editting a 50 page article I’ve recently been working on. I’m sort of wedded to Winshell now, but these problems mean that I wouldn’t, currently, recommend it to someone new…

  5. Hm, Emacs works perfectly fine on Windows. For TeX use Miktex. I don’t notice a difference when on Linux or on Windows. Did you try the new Emacs 23.1? You need to install Auctex and Aspell (?) separately, but that is the only problem I see with Windows.

  6. Can you explain what’s wrong with the major emacs-on-windows options? It’s been a while since I’ve used them, but I remember them as being just like any other emacs. I think it was XEmacs I was using, but there’s also NTEmacs and Cygwin Emacs.

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