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Haverford College
Department of Mathematics
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Student Resources: LaTeX on Windows

Installing MikTeX and using TeXworks, as described on the main LaTeX page, is enough to get you started using LaTeX on Windows. This page provides further information for experienced users.

Tips for using TeXworks

Forward and Inverse Search

If you are working on a long document, forward and inverse searching make editing much easier.

  • Forward search means jumping from a point in your LaTeX source file to the corresponding line in the pdf output file.
  • Inverse search means jumping from a line in the pdf file back to the corresponding point in the source file.

In TeXworks, forward and inverse search are easy. To do a forward search, right-click on text in the source window and choose the option "Jump to PDF". Similarly, to do an inverse search, right-click in the output window and choose "Jump to Source".

Other Front End Programs

Among front ends, TeXworks has several advantages, principally, it is bundled with MikTeX and it works without any configuration. However, you may want to try other front end programs. The most common ones are listed below.

  • Winshell. Installation notes:
    1. Install Winshell after installing MiKTeX.
    2. When running the Winshell Setup program, choose the pdflatex-optimized toolbar.
    3. Winshell uses an external pdf viewer to display output files. Adobe Reader does not work well for this task. I recommend SumatraPDF. After you have downloaded and installed SumatraPDF, navigate the Winshell menus to the location Options->Program Calls->PDFView, and browse to the location of SumatraPDF. Once you have done this, Winshell automatically configures itself to do forward and inverse search with SumatraPDF.
      • Forward search: in the Winshell window, move the cursor to a point of interest, then hit the PDFView button.
      • Inverse search: double-click in the SumatraPDF window. (Note: the SumatraPDF window must have been opened originally by clicking the PDFView button in Winshell.)
  • Texmaker. Installation notes:
    1. After you have installed Texmaker, go to the QuickBuild section of the Configuration menu and choose pdflatex+pdfview.
    2. Before you use spell-check in Texmaker, you may need to install a dictionary; see section 1.3 of the Texmaker user manual.
  • TeXnicCenter.

Legacy output formats

For historical reasons, the back end program called latex produces its output files in a format called dvi. Today, almost everyone wants a pdf file as output; the corresponding backend program is pdflatex. By default, TeXworks uses pdflatex to produce pdf files; other frontends (e.g. Texmaker, see above) may need configuration to set pdflatex as the default.

Under normal circumstances, you will be producing pdf files. Consult the following information only if for some strange reason you want to work with the legacy formats dvi and ps.

  1. MikTeX contains all the tools you need to work with dvi output: latex to do the typesetting, and Yap for the viewer. Winshell is preconfigured to do forward and inverse search with Yap.
  2. Postscript (ps) output is obtained by first running latex to produce dvi output and then converting the dvi output to ps with the program dvips. Most front ends automatically run these two steps together when you press the button for generating ps output. Viewing ps files on Windows requires that you install additional software: GPL GhostScript and GSview, both available here. (If WinShell is installed [or re-installed] after these programs are installed, then Winshell will automatically configure itself to use GSView as the viewer for postscript files.) No forward or inverse search is available with postscript output files.


Last modified: Thu Sep 6 16:33:57 EDT 2012 by David Lippel.