This is the program you will use to write your LaTeX files and to generate a final PDF output. The reasons for using an editor include:
- it helps manage the file generation process – there are short-cuts to the most common commands, such as generating a PDF file
- there are short-cuts to formatting controls
- it has syntax highlighting
- there are good text navigation features
For Windows, I recommend TeXnicCenter. See http://www.toolscenter.org/.
Another alternative is WinEdt. This can be downloaded and used free for a trial period of 31 days. Thereafter you have to buy it – currently $40 for educational use. See http://www.winedt.com/.
For Linux there is Kile. See http://kile.sourceforge.net/ for screenshots.
These are just the programs I’m familiar with – there are lots of other editors out there. And for the minimalist approach you can just use Notepad and generate a PDF from the command line…
Here are some things to bear in mind when choosing an editor:
Is there a spell-check? TeXnicCenter automatically has one for US English and German, but you can add more languages:
- Download the dictionary you want from http://lingucomponent.openoffice.org/download_dictionary.html – it’s a .zip file (TeXnicCenter uses the spelling engine of OpenOffice).
- Unzip the .zip file and copy the .aff and .dic files in it to C:\Program Files\TeXnicCenter\language (you’ll see the English and German files already there).
- Restart TeXnicCenter. Select ‘Tools’ then ‘Options’. Click on the ‘Spelling’ tab and select the new dictionary you want to add.