TeX on Windows

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Please note that this page is a courtesy of the TeX on Mac Wiki. It is likely not the best maintained (as compared to the remainder of the wiki), but should be a reasonable starting point. Please also go to TUG.

TeX-installations on a Mac and Windows are very similar. Many files a TeX-installation consists of are identical on all operating systems. The applications running as a previewer, editor or FrontEnd are, of course, different on Windows from those available for the Mac.



The idea of proTeXt is an installer that provides TeX users on Windows an easy way to install a TeX installation, an Editor and a previewer. The installation process is guided by an interactive pdf (available in English, French, German, and Italian) that guides you through the several steps of the installation and configuration process. So, once you have used the proTeXt-installer, you have everything necessary to use TeX on Windows.

proTeXt is recommended by TUG for TeX users with a windows operating system, see TUG's Getting started page.

protext installs MiKTeX as the TeX installation (Mactex installs TeXLive) and TeXnicCenter as an editor. For previewing, MiKTeX comes with YAP as a previewer for DVI-output. proTeXt also installs Ghostscript and GSView (a graphical interface for Ghostscript). GSView can be used as an viewer for PostScript and PDF files. For more details on these protex-incredients below.

Of course it is also possible to do your own selections of TeX installation, Editor and previewer.

Windows TeX sites

Individual tools

You need one thing from each category.






Merging Documents

Merging documents from multiple sources/authors can be a challenge. WinMerge can help with this.

Used to TeX on a Mac? TeX on Windows is a bit different

On a Mac, typesetting a .tex-file usually triggers a run of pdflatex that (directly) outputs a PDF file. Even if you choose as typesetting mode tex -> dvi -> ps -> pdf, viewing usually involves the pdf-file. Bi-directional synchronization between the PDF and the .tex file is available out of the box (or easily to configure).

On Windows, most editors are preconfigured to produce a .dvi-file or a PostScript .ps file that is then viewed with a dvi oder PostScript Viewer ("dvi typesetting mode"). Using the PDF file for previewing on Windows is a rather exotic approach. The configuration of Front Ends and Editor / Previewer combinations on Windows to use the direct .tex -> pdf typesetting mode with synchronization in both directions is not easily achieved. Hence, most TeX users on Windows use the .dvi or .ps file for previewing and produce a PDF file only if all the editing is done.

I you have difficulties to typeset a file that works just fine on your Mac but causes errors on Windows (or vice versa), the different typesetting modes often are the underlying cause. One example is the inclusion of graphics: While pdflatex accepts as graphics format pdf, png and jpg, the only possible graphics format for TeX on a Windows machine that is in "dvi typesetting mode" is .eps (Encapsulated PostScript). See this article in the PracTeX Journal for more on this.

TeXWorks (See the Front Ends Page), a TeX Front End that is developed to be multi-platform (Mac, Windows, Unix), comes with its own previewer for PDF files and supports bi-directional synchronization between .tex and PDF.

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