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LaTeX Guide


LaTeX is pronounced many ways: lay-tech and lah-tech are the most popular

Set Up

To use LaTeX, you need both a TeX system and an editor.

Usually free editors are included with your TeX system or distribution.

TeX Systems

The following TeX systems are free or offer a free version.




The following online compiler and editors let you use LaTeX from anywhere without downloading or setting up anything on your own computer. You can also collaborate with others on documents. Both have free basic accounts and upgraded accounts are half-price for students.

Compare Overleaf (writeLaTex) and ShareLaTex

TeX Editors

Editor OS Cost Notes
WinEdt Windows $40 (student) Very popular editor, must already have a TeX system installed
TeXWorks Window, Mac, Linux Free Included in the MacTex system download. Modeled on TeXShop and designed for LaTex beginners.
TeXShop Mac Free Included in the MacTex system download. Very popular with Mac Users. If you use TeXShop go to the Window option at the top and choose "display LaTeX panel" this brings up lots of math symbols and so forth. You just click on the symbol you want and TeXShop puts it in for you! 
Texmaker Windows, Mac, Linux Free Has helpful tools and wizards (e.g. to create tables, etc.)
Overleaf Online Free (basic version) Unlimited projects and unlimited collaborators (with free plan). Half-price paid plans for students. The free version has smaller storage space (1 GB) and not as many accessories (such as syncing with Dropbox).
ShareLaTex Online Free (basic version) Improvement on ScribTeX. The basic (or personal) subscription plan is free but allows only one collaborator, a problem if you want to work on documents with others. Includes unlimited projects and compiles, but is lower on the compiling priority (only a problem if you have really long documents). Half-price paid plans for students.