GUI Tools

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Some of these tools work under MacOS X, some do not. We are still working on figuring out which.

This page lists software which is primarily designed for use with TeX and which includes a GUI interface. Software which complements TeX although not designed primarily for use with TeX is listed on the TeX Helpers page. Software primarily designed for use with TeX which lacks a GUI interface is listed on the TeX Tools page.




Open source (GPL)

AquaTkbibtex is an "Aquafied" version of tkbibtex, developed by Peter Corke. tkbibtex is a portable editor and browser for BibTeX files (LaTeX bibliographies). AquaTkbibtex adds additional functionality by providing a double-clickable application bundle to launch the program, as well as allowing drag-and-drop opening of bibtex (.bib) files. This allows better integration between tkbibtex and the Aqua environment.

Here are some key features of "AquaTkbibtex":

  • A fully Aquafied, standalone application.
  • Drag-and-drop opening of .bib files without AppleScript.
  • A streamlined interface for printing documents.
  • Tight integration with the LyX-Aqua LaTeX editor.

AquaTkbibtex is included in MacTeXtras.


by Hitoshi Nakahara

Restricted freeware (not available to those involved in any sort of weapons development or those who are in anyway actively anti-peace; may also exclude those related to anybody involved in developing any sort of weapons - the English is unclear and the Japanese takes legal precedence but I cannot read Japanese)

Bibliography management software and BibTeX database editor. According to the author's description, features include a search function, the ability to attach files to bibliography entries and "smart/manual" libraries.


Open source (BSD)

Bibliographic database program designed for use with BibTeX which also keeps track of your local copies of papers. Integrates with TeX editors. See the BibDesk Wiki for details.

Some highlights:

  • Focused on smooth workflow for searching for papers online, adding them quickly, and finding them to cite later.
  • Attach files of any type to a reference and track them by file alias
  • Search the contents of attached files
  • Search online databases including PubMed, many public libraries, Google Scholar, and more.
  • Organize your papers in Groups, or by keywords.
  • Numerous import types supported
  • BibDesk uses the standard BibTeX .bib file format so you can use existing tools and share with non-BibDesk-users without too much hassle.

Application versions currently available for Panther (10.3), new features available in the newer branches for Tiger and Leopard (10.4 and 10.5).

BibDesk is included in both MacTeX and MacTeXtras.


Cripple-Ware (limit of 50 references without fee.)
Bookends is a full-featured and cost-effective bibliography/reference and information management system for students and professionals. Bookends runs natively in Mac OS X as well as Mac OS 9.x. With Bookends you can easily import references (information about journal articles, books, etc.) from hundreds of online sources (even import references directly from PubMed ,Medline on BioMedNet, and some OVID databases without intermediary files). Import references from BibTeX, EndNote, Papyrus, and Reference Manager databases. "Scan" your manuscripts to generate finished versions ready for submission or publication, with full in-text citations and bibliographies that meet the most exacting requirements. Plug-ins let you access the power of Bookends from within Microsoft Word and Nisus Writer/Nisus Writer Express to directly format manuscripts for publication. Bookends can also scan manuscripts saved from any word processor in RTF format. Attach any file to a reference and with a single click open it in Bookends or in the application that created it. This means you can, for example, search Bookends for an article and, if present on the hard disk or server, instantly open its PDF file. Pictures and graphics (figures, graphs, diagrams, etc.) are just as easily accessed.


by Toshihiro Aoyama

Open source (details)

Manages PDF files from PubMed. Features include searching and importing from PubMed, reference management and search, and management of supplementary files.


Open source (GPL)

Platform independent Java based bibliography manager.

JabRef is included in MacTeXtras.



Paper management software. According to the home page, features include online searching, downloading, archiving and organisation, facilities to add notes and share papers, and a selection of plug-ins for use with various online repositories.

See also BibTeX Tools



by JAM Software
It's difficult to create tables in LaTeX, especially if some columns are calculated. Excel2LaTeX allows you to transform the current selection from Excel to Latex. Most of the formatting will be kept (bold, italic, border lines, multicolumn cells, etc.). The LaTeX code can be copied to the clipboard or saved as a LaTeX file, which then can be included in an existing LaTeX document using the \input command.
Don't mind that the page says that it is Windows software.

Note: Given that Microsoft Office 2008 does not have visual basic anymore this will not work with it. It does however, work with Microsoft Office 2004. Microsoft plans to add back visual basic support for future versions of Office (corporate clients have a lot invested in that feature).



GUI interface for running LaTeX2rtf.

Odd Jobs

by Andrew Trevorrow
Shareware - $20
68K and PowerPC (System 7 or later)
Updated: 8/27/2004Odd Jobs is a collection of powerful file-processing tasks. The easiest way to use Odd Jobs is to drop files/folders/disks onto an appropriate "joblet" (or a conveniently located alias). Some of the supplied joblets are very handy for TeX users:

     Alpha Doc         - converts given text files to Alpha documents
     BBEdit Doc        - converts given text files to BBEdit documents
     Count Items       - counts files/aliases/folders
     Delete 4bit Icons - deletes 16-color custom icons from selected files
     Delete 68K Code   - deletes 680x0 code from fat applications
     Delete Res Fork   - deletes resource forks from given text files
     EPSF <-> TEXT     - changes an EPSF file to TEXT and vice versa
     Mac Text          - converts Unix/DOS text files to Mac format
     Same Names        - finds all duplicate file names in given folders/disks
     Send PS           - sends PostScript files to the current printer
     Show Aliases      - shows aliases (and detects bad links)
     Show Apps         - shows applications and their creator codes
     Show Essential    - shows files/folders with the "Essential" label
     Show Folders      - shows the folder hierarchy in given folders/disks
     Show Long Names   - shows file/folder names longer than 25 characters
     Show Weird Names  - shows file/folder names with invisible characters
     Sort PKs          - moves PK files into appropriate subfolders
     Trash TeX Temps   - moves TeX's *.log/aux/toc files to the Trash
     Unlock Files      - have a guess!

Many other tasks are possible. Joblets run specific tasks based on the general-purpose jobs built into Odd Jobs. It's a simple matter to modify an existing joblet (just double click on it), or to create new ones. Details are provided in the Help menu. The most interesting feature in Odd Jobs is its pattern matching capabilities. You can restrict processing to files/folders whose names, types, creators or attributes match grep-like patterns. Some examples: The Show Weird Names joblet uses the pattern *[\0-\31\127]* to find all file/folder names containing any control character or delete; Show Long Names uses the pattern ?<26->; and Send PS uses *.(ps|eps(|f)) to match file names ending in .ps or .eps or .epsf. Such patterns allow you to do sophisticated selections that can't be done using Find File.

OmniOutliner add-ons


Users of OmniOutliner may be interested in the TeX-related add-ons included among these OmniOutliner Extras. Apparently relevant options include:

  • OmniOutliner Export Plugin which supports export from OmniOutliner 3.0 Pro (not earlier versions, and only the Pro version) to LaTeX Article and Book formats. A sample file is included in the Plugin download.
  • ConTeXt Plugin;
  • LaTeX Equation Script which can convert a LaTeX-encoded equation to a PDF for inclusion in your outline.


Open source (GPL)

SimpleTeX4ht is a GUI interface for TeX4ht.

Equation Editors

Equation Service

No longer being updated.

Equation Service is a program that uses pdfLaTeX to produce small PDF files containing equations and other text. You can either do the input and typesetting in the main Equation Service window and then drag and drop the resulting PDF into your application, or highlight text in the other application and run Equation Service on it by typing command.

Equation Service is included in MacTeXtras.


by Apple


Mac OS X application bundled with the OS.

In the Applications/Utilities folder, there is a program called which you can use to correctly write equations for LaTeX. Make a 2D or 3D window and write the equation into Grapher. You can also use Grapher's different symbols. When you are finished, highlight the equation and command-click (right-click) and simply select "Copy LaTeX Expression." Now paste it into LaTeX.



Web service

HostMath is a web-based editor for mathematical formulas. It uses WYSIWYG-style editing and allows creating mathematical equations through simple point-and-click techniques. You can send complex math expressions over email and IM, without requiring any special software.

LaTeX Equation Editor

Freeware with source (licence?)

Not updated since 2003.

The LaTeX Equation Editor provides an elegant graphical interface to LaTeX, a powerful typesetting engine for mathematics, enabling you to quickly generate professional-looking mathematics for inclusion in your slides.

LaTeX Equation Editor is included in MacTeXtras.

LaTeX Equation Script


by Pierre Chatelier
Open source (see documentation for details)

LaTeXiT is a small utility that allows you to quickly typeset LaTeX equations, without bothering with file creation, preambles, and so on. The PDF image obtained can then be exported by drag'n drop to any application supporting it. This is very useful to insert equations in presentations made with Keynote or Powerpoint.

Linkback support.

LaTeXiT is included in both MacTeX and MacTeXtras.


by the Open University

Open source (GPL)

An online service which can translate TeX into MathML and vice-versa, and produce images from TeX-encoded mathematics. The software is also available for installation on a web server or desktop.


Marco Coïsson
Freeware with source (restricted redistribution)

TeX FoG (TeX (Fo)rmula (G)raphic user interface) is an equation editor to be used for typing TeX and LaTeX equations without the need to remember all the commands.


by George Necula and Andreas Glatz


Equation editor supporting TeX-encoded mathematics in Microsoft PowerPoint.


by Yujit Achikawa?

Open source (BSD)

Equation editor with LinkBack support. Supports use of TeX-encoded mathematics in Keynote.

File manipulation


by Fabien Conus


Creates booklets from PDF files.


Open source (details; donations accepted)

Combines selected pages from PDF files with facilities to reorder pages and stipulate attributes of the new PDF such as title.


by Fabien Conus


From the readme:

PDFLab lets you assemble PDF documents, parts of PDF documents, blank pages or images to greate [sic.] a new PDF document.

Additional features include password-based encryption and decryption, watermarks and outlines.


by David Firth

Open source (GPL)

GUI interface for the pdfpages package for pdfLaTeX.

PDF Nup Maker

by J. McKenzie Alexander

Apple's "Save as PDF" feature allows you to create PDF files from any application which can print. However, it doesn't respect the Layout settings. If you want to put two or three (or more) pages on a single page, you're out of luck. The PDF Nup Maker makes creating N-up PDF files as easy as drag-and-drop. Pick the settings you want, drag a PDF file to the preview window, drop, and wait a few seconds. A new PDF will appear in the preview window, which you can then drag to the appropriate folder in the Finder.


by Claus Gerhardt


Pdfselect will extract pages from one or several pdf documents and merge these pages into a new pdf file.


LaTeX Color Selector

Creates LaTeX colour definitions for colours chosen using the standard OS X interface.

Inkscape with TeXText plugin

Inkscape is open source (GPL)

TeXText is either open source or creative commons (source code is available; licence is unclear but source is hosted on a site which accepts only OSI and CC code)

The following steps allow for the insertion of editable LaTeX equations in Inkscape using TeXText on OS X Leopard 10.5.5:

  1. Download Inkscape and install it. Tested with Inkscape-0.46-2.LEOPARD.UNIVERSAL. You also might need to update by downloading and installing the latest Xquartz. Run Inkscape at least once to make sure it does work.
  2. Download TeXText. Tested with version 0.4.4.
  3. Install pstoedit-bin and pstoedit-shlibs from Fink (download the binary version; if you compile from source it takes several hours as it compiles every dependence). Not sure if both are needed. Tested with version 3.45-1.
  4. Install MacTeX. Tested with the MacTeX-2008 distribution.
  5. Comment/delete in the lines:
       if 'plot-svg' not in out:
          raise RuntimeError("Pstoedit not compiled with plot-svg support")
    Apparently the script does not detect that pstoedit does have plot-svg support. Indeed, when running the command
    pstoedit -help | grep svg

    in the Terminal we get

       pstoedit: version 3.45 / DLL interface 108 (build Oct 10 2008 - release
       build - g++ 4.0.1 (Apple Inc. build 5484)) : Copyright (C) 1993 - 2007
       Wolfgang Glunz
           plot-svg:        .svg:    svg  via GNU libplot

    so we know it is installed!

  6. In replace
       exec_command(['pdflatex', self.tmp('tex')] + latexOpts)


       exec_command(['/usr/texbin/pdflatex', self.tmp('tex')] + latexOpts)

    Even though the path to pdflatex is in the shell's $PATH environmental variable, needs the full path, as applications get their value of $PATH from ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist. Another solution is to make sure that ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist has /usr/texbin in PATH.

  7. Place textext.inx and inside the application bundle. This is done by right-clicking on on the Finder and selecting Show Package contents and there going to

    When putting it in


    it does not work.

  8. Remove libpng12.0.dylib from

    inside the Inkscape application bundle. The version included is not new enough for

    pstoedit. I believe that its role will be taken by the libpng12.0.dylib installed by Fink in
    or already in the system in

If successful you will have a TeX Text item in the Effects menu in Inkscape, which you can use to insert/edit LaTeX into your open document.

These instructions were gleaned from the Inkscape forum.


GUI editor that allows easy embedding of LaTeX in the resulting PDF (default save format). The LaTeX can be edited later when the PDF is loaded into IPE. Cannot read generic PDF documents (but you may get lucky, I guess).


by Michel Duong, Gregory Kokanosky and Yannick Ozouf

Open source (GPL)

GUI for GasTeX.

An updated version by Pierre Moro is available on the GasTeX page.


by Nicola Talbot.

Open source (GPL)

An interactive multiplatform 2D graphicse editor that output pgf code. Multiplatform (java). Output formats also include eps, png and svg.


Open source (GPL)

Described on the project web site as a:

... multi-platform and interactive picture editor for LaTeX and PSTricks...


Open source (GPL)

Written in Java. An interactive multiplatform 2D graphicse editor that can output eps and pstricks code. Latest version 2.0 stores files in svg format.


(Temporarily hosted by WSU. Email Joseph Slater for problems.)

TUG Article on WARMFigToPDF

by Francesco Costanzo and Gary L. Gray

Freeware with source

A system for labeling figures generated with Adobe Illustrator. WARMFigToPDF is an AppleScript that works with Illustrator, WARMreader, and xy-pic to automate the process of labeling figures in LaTeX. From the website:

  • Label our figure with some reasonably complex mathematical expressions.
  • Uses the same fonts as the document. Generally means Computer Modern, Lucida Bright, or Times.
  • Works well with Adobe Illustrator (for example drawn from scratch or cleaned up and annotated Mathematica plots).


by Ross Moore


For Textures, OzTeX and possibly CMacTeX
I recently started using WARMreader with Xy-pic to label plots and diagrams. The reason I have done this is because of the endless string of problems with various versions of Adobe Illustrator and TeX fonts (who knows what Illustrator for OS X will do to this situation when it finally shows up). It is rather confusing at first, but it is quite nice once you get the hang of it. By itself, Xy-pic is a package for typesetting a variety of graphs and diagrams with TeX. Xy-pic works with most formats (including LaTeX, AMS-LaTeX, AMS-TeX, and plain TeX), in particular Xy-pic is provided as a LaTeX2e `supported package' (following the `CTAN LaTeX2e bundle' standard).WARMreader, along with Xy-pic, is a system for placing labels on included graphics in a way that does not require the user be concerned with explicit lengths or coordinates. The full system was developed specifically for use on Macintosh computers but, due to its modularity, can be used with other systems as well.The WARMreader package defines macros to read information from a file, indicating the location of specially marked points where labels may be desired. It also provides a link to the Xy-pic macros, which allow arbitrary labels to be attached at these points.

See also Graphics



Freeware (interface)

Open source (Aspell)

CocoAspell is Mac OS X implementation of Aspell -- A more intelligent Ispell -- that is being developed by Kevin Atkinson. Here is a brief snippet of how Kevin describes Aspell on his web site: Aspell is an Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. Its main feature is that it does a much better job of coming up with possible suggestions than Ispell does. In fact recent tests shows that it even does better than Microsoft Word 97's spell checker or just about any other spell checker I have seen. It also has support for checking (La)TeX and HTML files, and run time support for other non English languages.

CocoAspell is included in MacTeXtras.


by Rick Zaccone
Open source (GPL)
Excalibur is a very nice spell checker for any Macintosh text file or the clipboard, but it is specifically designed for use with LaTeX files. Features include:

  • Excalibur will offer suggestions for how to correct a word.
  • Excalibur can spell check the clipboard. This makes it a good spelling checker for any text based application such as Alpha or SimpleText.
  • Excalibur also works with Eudora Pro, BBEdit, MT NewsWatcher, Communicate, Nisus Writer, AppleWorks (formerly ClarisWorks), WordPerfect, and any other program that supports Word Services.
  • You can teach it about new LaTeX commands and environments that you define.
  • You can create your own dictionaries.
  • Works on any plain TEXT file. (type TEXT)
  • Works on formatted files via Word Services.
  • You will need Mac OS 8.6 or higher to run Excalibur 4.0.
  • Version 3.0.2 of Excalibur will run on System 7.1 or higher, but it requires the Classic environment on Mac OS X. It is still available from the Excalibur ftp server.
  • Version 2.6 of Excalibur is still available too. It will run on System 6.0.5 or greater, and it will run on any Macintosh since the Mac Plus.
  • The "Standard Dictionary" (American English) distributed with Excalibur has over 162,000 words.

Excalibur is included in both MacTeX and MacTeXtras.

Spotlight Importers


Open source (BSD)

Source is available on request (see the ReadMe file for details).

LaTeX MDImporter

Open source (GPL)

Text manipulation


Freeware with source

Cyclone is a text converting utility application for the Macintosh that uses Apple Text Encoding Converter.

Vi Input Manager

by Jason Corso

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence

From the homepage:

This bundle patches the Cocoa Text System to add a Vi-like command mode. After entering command-mode (typically, by hitting escape in Vi), ordinary Vi commands can be typed and the text field will be updated accordingly. Essentially, this add Vi command functionality (albeit a small subset) to any (and all) text editors that use the Cocoa text system; e.g., Safari, TeXShop, XCode, etc.



This service provides 34 functions to convert, format or speak the currently selected text, to insert data or to show statistics of the selection within all Cocoa applications (for example TextEdit, Mail, or TeXShop) and Carbon applications supporting services. From the product description:

Features: Reformat, Remove line attachments/endings/links/multiple spaces/multiple feeds/quotes, Trim line beginnings/line endings/lines, Sort lines ascending/descending, Shift left/light, Initial caps of words/sentences, All caps & lowercase, Mac/Windows/Unix line endings, Rotate 13, Straight/Smart Quotes, Encode/Decode tabs, Insert date/date & time/time/contents of path, Speak native/german text, Statistics.



by Hitoshi Nakahara


Automatically processes a source file on modification.

ChkTeX Droplet

by Ramón M. Figueroa-Centeno


Droplet for ChkTeX.

Note that most of the page concerns a script which requires BBEdit. Scroll to the bottom to find details of the droplet which does not.


by Filip G. Machi, Jerrold E. Marsden, Wendy G. McKay


FasTeX is a system of keyboard shortcuts for the fast keying of TeX (LaTeX, AmSTeX, AMSLaTeX) currently available for Macintosh and Unix computers. It replaces any keyboard shortcut by the equivalent TeX command or group of commands and will speed up your TeX inputting by a factor of 3, as well as providing many useful templates. It also helps to avoid the creation of special macro command abbreviations that make the TeX code hard to read and edit quickly by others who work on the same files. A set of files, which we shall refer to as the FasTeX Shortcut Files, contains the mapping information that expands keyboard shortcuts into the corresponding TeX commands.

Requires TypeIt4Me for Mac OS or Mac OS X, or scedit with expect for unix


by Claus Gerhardt


Auto compiling/preview updating system. It offers almost simultaneous preview updates on a fast Mac.

Current versions are available for use with the following editor/viewer/front end combinations:

  • TeXShop as both editor and viewer;
  • BBEdit as editor and TeXShop as viewer;
  • customised combinations.

Flashmode is a universal application requiring OS 10.5 or better.


by Math Game House Software


iStorm fills the wide gap between crude e-mail collaboration and the expensive "image-full but content-free" video conferencing, with zero-configuration advantage of the Rendezvous.
Built-in Math and TeX interface sport intelligent in-line substitution mode, which enables users to type an expression and see it replaced by TeX equation or the answer by a single key stroke, even without having to select it. More features are highlighted in the following movies:

Local Switcher/Switcher

by Claus Gerhardt


Utilities to switch between different TeX distributions. Local Switcher creates and manages symbolic links in a user's home directory while Switcher uses symbolic links /usr/local.

Local Switcher can also be used to install TeXLive from the iso image or DVD. Note that this is not the MacTeX distribution which contains various utilities in addition to TeXLive. These include a utility to switch between different TeX distributions via a preference pane.



Dashboard widget symbol reference for LaTeX, HTML and the Mac OS X keyboard.

Symbols is included in MacTeXtras.


Open source (BSD)

A browser "dedicated to the TeX Catalogue Online". Allows users to browse online packages and documentation available on CTAN and/or information provided locally.

TCOBrowser is included in MacTeXtras.


by Twisted Theory Software

Open source (GPL)

GUI table editor for LaTeX.

From the homepage:

TeXTable is an extremely simple-to-use editor for LaTeX tables. The table may be edited cell-by-cell, or in text format, allowing fast changes with both approaches. Additionally, transformations may be applied to groups of cells, such as transposition or surrounding their text with $$.

See also TeX Live Manager GUI interface

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