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There are many different kind of options that you can do in order to start using LaTeX on Ubuntu. I would prefer doing that through Eclipse, but if there is a better way of doing it, feel free to write your opinion on why using this instead of something else.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Eclipse strikes me as an odd choice of an IDE to use for LaTeX, but I guess it should work, since the steps in producing a LaTeX-generated document are quite similar to those involved in producing a computer program.

The first step is obviously to make sure you have Eclipse and LaTeX themselves installed. Then, if you haven't already done so, you should definitely install the TeXlipse plugin or some equivalent, which provides syntax highlighting and autocompletion, among other things. (Without it, Eclipse would be nothing more than a glorified text editor and in that case you'd be better off just using a plain text editor.) The TeXlipse user manual provides a good description, including screenshots, which I would recommend you follow to the letter, as all the enabled features will most likely be useful to you. Once you've got the plugin installed and configured, just open a project and try compiling it to make sure it works and to get a sense of how the process works.

Eclipse is, of course, not the only IDE you can use for LaTeX; there are specialized LaTeX editors available. My favorite happens to be Kile, which also provides syntax highlighting and autocompletion, as well as a LaTeX symbol list and graphical build commands that are designed specifically for the LaTeX toolchain. It is based on KDE, so if you are using the default graphical environment for Ubuntu (Gnome) you may have to install some - okay, a lot of - extra packages to use Kile, and it's your choice whether that's worth it or not.

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I've seen a friend of mine using Kile.. and I will try it as well.. but I want to check using Eclipse first :) Thanks for the detailed answer.. –  Lipis Jul 27 '10 at 0:37
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+1 For Kile- a very nice program and probably the editor that I would use if I was able to use Linux exclusively. –  Sharpie Jul 27 '10 at 0:37
    
@Sharpie: The KDE libraries do have versions available for other platforms (well I know of Windows at least), although they can be kind of unstable. You could try your luck installing them and see if they'll let you use Kile on your favorite OS. –  David Z Jul 27 '10 at 0:46
    
I'm also a big fan of Kile. –  Johnson-Leung Jul 27 '10 at 21:03
    
I tried all of the stand alone latex IDEs last year, and eclipse was by far the best. If you already use eclipse there's no learning curve, the outline view lets you skip to different sections quickly, you can preview the pdf in eclipse itself and there are many other benefits. I now use emacs though, but I wouldn't recommend trying to learn how to use it just for latex –  Anake Feb 1 at 20:36

I have found the Ubuntu packages to be out of date, making it difficult acquire various latex libraries. I would suggest: http://www.tug.org/texlive/quickinstall.html

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Welcome to TeX.SX!! –  Papiro Apr 14 at 19:03
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This doesn't really answer the question, which asks about using LaTeX, not acquiring it. –  Werner Apr 14 at 19:12

I would advise NOT using gedit. It has two problems.

  1. It slows down as your document gets long (500+ lines), especially when word wrap is turned on
  2. Any math you do, u start with the dollar sign keyword, something like this $e = mc^{2}$ but when you type the first dollar sign, it slows gedit down to a crawl, especially if you have a bunch of text afterwards. I think it goes through the entire document and recolors everything
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I just use gedit to write LaTeX files. I find that the less time I spend trying to "optimise" my workspace, the more actual work I get done.

Recently though I've switched to LyX. It displays figures, equations, and tables in the document, which cuts down significantly on how many curly braces my eyes have to parse. (I can also collapse such "floats" for even less visual noise.)

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Texmaker is a nice GUI that is native to the Gnome desktop for Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get install texmaker
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Just installed texmaker on 10.04 (LTS). Alas, the gui is pretty "funky" and like nothing else on my desktop. And syntax highlighting is broken. –  Till Feb 13 '11 at 22:51

Take the editor you are familiar with. Most of the editors have builtin LaTeX support and install the TeX-Packages you need.

If you want to have them all, do a

sudo apt-get install --install-recommends texlive-full

But please be aware that this downloads about 600 MB of software, which expands to about 1.x GB.

I am using Eclipse with Texlipse. Some of my colleagues are using Geany. Other taking LxX.

The messages is, take the editor you like most.

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Just as a heads up, I just tried this command and it says it the install is 2.8 GB –  Anake Feb 1 at 20:40

If you're on ubuntu, then nothing like using XEmacs. Combined with the AUCTeX package, and reftex for handling citations. it's a dream to use, and is really the best IDE available. What it lacks is the nice latex support that Kile has, so I wouldn't recommend it if you're also trying to learn latex.

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Can you elaborate what AUCTeX is lacking from Kile? Haven't used Kile ever. –  Dima Jul 27 '10 at 3:37
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And why XEmacs over GNU Emacs? (Though I agree that AUCTeX and reftex are indispensable once you start using them.) –  jon Jan 5 '12 at 2:10
    
No particular reason. In fact I've reverted back to GNU Emacs on my ubuntu box while still using XEmacs with my cygwin machine. –  Suresh Jan 5 '12 at 5:15
    
Kile has handy mouse-click tables for math symbols etc. You'd have to know that $\alpha$ is written as \alpha for AUCTeX, but in Kile you can just choose it. –  Suresh Jan 5 '12 at 5:15

I don't run Ubuntu but perhaps these links will help:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LaTeX

http://texlipse.sourceforge.net/

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The package you want to install the texlive package, or one of the things it depends on. Something like

sudo aptitude install texlive-latex-extra

ought to get you a pretty good starting point.

As for editors, even the basic pre-installed gedit ("Text Editor") should at least offer syntax highlighting.

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