Front Ends

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A Front End is defined as a rather complete interface for working with TeX. It has an integrated editor and viewer. Many front ends can also be used as an editor, with a separate viewer, or a viewer, with a separate editor.

Add-ons for front ends should also be listed here:

  • directly following the appropriate front end
  • in the add-ons section if they work with more than one front end.

New to TeX is SyncTeX, the pdfsync replacement. Please refer to the SyncTeX page for more information.



by Jerome Laurens

Open source (GPL)

A native OS X front end. It was written after the author of TeXShop and the author of iTeXMac disagreed on the direction/features of TeXShop (the original OS X Cocoa editor). Interestingly enough, Jerome made the icon for TeXShop. Like the other front ends on this page, it requires a distribution of TeX such as MacTeX.

Editor's note: iTeXMac is like TeXShop on steroids. This is good or bad depending on your perspective. As a gross oversimplification, TeXShop can do anything you need it to do, while iTeXMac can do most anything you want it to do. This comes at the expense of complexity, and some bugs. It's hard to argue with Jerome who says "Why not have both?".

iTeXMac is included in MacTeXtras.


by Taco Software


From author description:

Latexian is a revolutionary, new LaTeX editor for the Mac. Latexian provides advanced tools for creating and typesetting LaTeX documents. Using Latexian's Live Preview, you can see how your document typesets while you are editing it — the PDF preview updates automatically! Latexian has many other advanced features, including syntax-aware spell checking, tabbed documents, code completion, and much more. Latexian supports the LaTeX and XeTeX typesetters, and includes support for working with BibTeX documents.


Open source (GPL)

LyX is a WYSIWYM (WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouMean) DocumentProcessor. It is a front end for LaTeX. What sets LyX apart from other front ends and editors for TeX is that you do not need to actually learn (La)TeX in order to use it. The idea is that you write your document much as you might in a word processor and LyX takes care of the coding behind the scenes. Your document therefore looks much more like the final product as you edit it and you do not need to worry about which command LaTeX uses to start a section, for example. Rather, you start a section much as you might in a word processor and LyX will ensure that the correct command is inserted in the source file. Meanwhile, you continue editing LyX's representation of your document rather than tangling with the raw commands themselves.

To get the most out of TeX or to achieve customised styles and specific effects, you need to learn something about (La)TeX commands. This is true whether you choose LyX or another front end or editor. If, however, you wish to produce relatively standard types of document and are happy to accept reasonable defaults or to restrict your customisations to those accessible via LyX's interface, you may find that LyX offers you the best of both worlds: the ease of use of a word processor with the quality of output offered by TeX.

(Mac)LyX is included in MacTeXtras.


by Pascal Brachet

Open source (GPL)

A sophisticated multi-platform unicode editor for LaTeX. Features include BibTeX support, document and code templates, and an integrated utility to convert LaTeX to html. It runs on Unix, Mac OS X and Windows systems and may be a good choice if you are looking for a Kile-like LaTeX editor.


  • An unicode editor to write your LaTeX source files (syntax highlighting, code completion, undo-redo, search-replace, spell checker...)
  • The principal LaTex tags can be inserted directly with the "LaTeX" and "Math" menus
  • 370 mathematical symbols can be inserted in just one click
  • Wizards to generate code ('Quick document', 'Quick letter', tabular, tabbing and array environments)
  • LaTeX-related programs can be launched via the "Tools" menu
  • The standard Bibtex entry types can be inserted in the ".bib" file with the "Bibliography" menu
  • A "structure view" of the document for easier navigation of a document (by clicking on an item in the "Structure" frame, you can jump directly to the corresponding part of your document
  • Extensive LaTeX documentation
  • In the "Messages / Log File" frame, you can see information about processes and the logfile after a LaTeX compilation
  • The "Next Latex Error" and "Previous Latex Error" commands let you reach the LaTeX errors detected in the log file
  • By clicking on the number of a line in the log file, the cursor jumps to the corresponding line in the editor
  • An integrated LaTeX to html conversion tool

Texmaker is included in MacTeXtras.


by Valletta Ventures

Commercial with a demo available here

From author description:

Texpad is a LaTeX editor designed for straightforward navigation of projects of any size. When Texpad opens a document it scans through it, looking for LaTeX structure commands and any included files, then it presents you with an outline view with which you can swiftly navigate the entire project. Texpad replaces LaTeX’s obscure console output with a table of typesetting errors. Clicking on these errors will direct you to the offending line in the LaTeX source. Texpad’s elegant single window design saves you from the clutter of windows. In even the largest projects all files are accessible from the outline view to the left of the editor. This one-window design works especially well with Lion’s fullscreen mode.



The author describes this as providing "a graphical user interface to teTeX".

Note: since teTeX is now obsolete, it appears that this front end has not been updated in some time. This is not necessarily a mark against it if it works for you and can be configured to use a different distribution but new users should be aware that the use of teTeX is now deprecated. --CFR 14:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)


by Richard Koch

Open source (GPL)

TeXShop is a TeX previewer/editor for Mac OS X (the first native front end), written in Cocoa. Since PDF is a native file format on OS X, TeXShop uses pdftex and pdflatex to produce pdf in its default configuration. Commands to produce dvi using tex and latex are, however, readily available, as are options to use a variety of alternative engines.

TeXShop supports customisable templates, macros, command completion, keyboard shortcuts, extensive help options and more. It can be configured for use with an external editor or viewer if preferred. It also offers easy ways to create or modify engines (little scripts that are run from within TeXShop). This allows you to implement support for e.g. bibtopic, bibtex8 etc.

TeXShop is included in both MacTeX and MacTeXtras.

Herb Schulz' "TeXShop Tips & Tricks" is included in TeXShop and can be accessed from the Help menu.

See also SyncTeX

See also TeXShop Synchronization

See also Flashmode


by Allan Oodgaard.


TextMate is an extensible editor featuring syntax highlighting and includes a LaTeX bundle that works out of the box but is highly configurable for large or small projects. It has a native PDF viewer, but you can also use Skim which provides support for SyncTeX


by Nic Doebelin

Open source (GPL)

LaTeX document creation wizard with support for KOMA-Script.


Open source (GPL)

Platform independent TeX Front End inspired by TeXShop.

TeXworks is included in MacTeX.

Version 0.5 r.756

See also Flashmode

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