editors and shells#

There are good environments and editors for most operating systems; some are described below, but this is only a personal selection :

1.  Unix/Linux#

The commonest choices are [X]Emacs or vim, though several others are available.

  • GNU emacs and XEmacs are supported by the bundle (available from CTAN). provides menu items and control sequences for common constructs, checks syntax, lays out markup nicely, lets you call and drivers from within the editor, and everything else like this that you can think of. Complex, but very powerful.

  • Vim is also highly configurable (also available for Windows and Macintosh systems). Many plugins are available to support the needs of the user, including syntax highlighting, calling programs, auto-insertion and -completion of common structures, and browsing help. The scripts auctex.vim and bibtex.vim seem to be the most common recommendations.

  • The editor NEdit is also free and programmable, and is available for Unix systems. An set of extensions for NEdit is available from CTAN.

  • LaTeX4Jed provides much enhanced support for the jed editor. LaTeX4Jed is similar to menus, shortcuts, templates, syntax highlighting, document outline, integrated debugging, symbol completion, full integration with external programs, and more. It was designed with both the beginner and the advanced user in mind.

  • The Kile editor that is provided with the KDE window manager provides GUI « shell-like » facilities, in a similar way to the widely-praised Winedt (see below); details (and downloads) are available from the project’s home on SourceForge.

  • TUG is sponsoring the development of a cross-platform editor and shell, modelled on the excellent for the Macintosh. The result, , is recommended : if you’re looking for a development environment, it may be for you. (It is distributed with both Live and

  • A possible alternative is

2.  Windows#

  • (see above) is also available for Windows systems.

  • So does .

  • WinEdt, a shareware package, is also highly spoken of. It too provides a shell for the use of and related programs, as well as a powerful and well-configured editor. The editor can generate its output in UTF-8 (to some extent), which is useful when working with (and other « next-generation » applications).

  • TeXnicCenter is a (free) development system, uniting a powerful platform for executing and friends with a configurable editor.

  • Both emacs and vim are available in versions for Windows systems.

3.  macOS#

  • For macOS/X users, the free tool of choice appears to be , which combines an editor and a shell with a coherent philosophy of dealing with in the OS X environment. is distributed as part of the system, and will therefore be available out of the box on machines on which has been installed.

  • Vim is also available for use on Macintosh systems.

  • The commercial Textures provides an excellent integrated Macintosh environment with its own editor. More powerful still (as an editor) is the shareware Alpha which is extensible enough to let you perform almost any job. It also works well with From release 2.2.0 (at least), Textures works under macOS/X.

4.  OS/2, Atari, Amiga, NeXT…#

epmtex offers an OS/2-specific shell.

Atari, Amiga and NeXT users also have nice environments. users looking for make-like facilities should review the answer on Makefiles for documents.

While many editors can support work on files, there are many systems that provide specific « database-like » access to your files — see creating a bibliography file.