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I've got a 'living' document that I re-visit every couple of months which I originally developed using MiKTeX and WinEdt on Windows. I'm quite comfortable with this, and quite like the functionality in MiKTeX to download needed packages on the fly as the document is being rendered.

I'm looking to add an OS X workstation into the mix of machines which can access and edit this, but I'm a bit lost amongst the range of different possible toolchains I could use to edit. I'm trying to achieve roughly the same amount of functionality that I have with WinEdt, specifically:

  • A decent text editor with syntax highlighting and the ability to render an output and then open it directly from the editor
  • Ability for the Tex installation to download needed packages and components on the fly - I don't want to have to install gigabytes worth of unneeded TeX packages just for a couple of documents who will never use them.

From what I can see, TeXShop and TeX Live require the full MacTeX installation to be downloaded and installed, which seems to be a bit excessive. There is a smaller MacTeX download, but it's not clear how it handles the case where a package is required which isn't included in the smaller distribution.

What can people recommend? Is TeXShop/MacTeX what most people use on OS X? Or is there a much more obvious 1-stop solution that I've missed?

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I have no experience with OS X, but I'll put in my 2 cents anyway (as a comment). 1. Nowadays storage is cheap, a full installation is not that big a problem as it used to be. (My first PC, used also for TeX, had 170MB HDD-and it had to be enough for two OSs!) 2. In TeXlive you can choose what to install with "rough" granularity ("collections") or with a finer one ("packages"). And installing something new is not something you have to do each day, so it is also not that big issue. –  mbork Apr 1 '12 at 18:16
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Much of this seems to be covered by for example tex.stackexchange.com/questions/339/latex-editors-ides (tools), tex.stackexchange.com/questions/17434/… (distributions), tex.stackexchange.com/questions/43862/… (small distro), tex.stackexchange.com/questions/30991/… (TeX Live 'on the fly'). –  Joseph Wright Apr 1 '12 at 18:19
    
Thanks, I'll dig through those threads. I'll also try using BasicTex and seeing how well the updater works to install extra packages. I agree that disk space isn't the issue, it's just the fact that if I want to start editing on an OSX workstation that doesn't have it installed, I've got to go download >1GB from the internet first. –  growse Apr 1 '12 at 18:28
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@growse There is always the TeX Collection DVD. This is usually available at low cost from your local TeX user group. (Full disclosure: I am Secretary of UK-TUG. We have lots of DVDs in stock!) –  Joseph Wright Apr 1 '12 at 18:35
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The simple answer is that only MikTeX offers on the fly downloading. TeXLive doesn't, and MacTeX is a TeXLive distribution. But the arguments against a once a year download of the full MacTeX bundle are pretty weak overall. So if you download the full MacTeX, everything should just work. (There are some corner cases of packages that are included in MikTeX but not in TeXLive due to license issues, but you are unlikely to come across them.) But BasicTeX is certainly a possibility, since TL Utility is a painless way to install missing elements. –  Alan Munn Apr 1 '12 at 19:09
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1 Answer

With respect to editors, many Mac users indeed use TeXShop, which is probably the most mature integrated editing environment for the Mac. Of course there are other options too, but TeXShop is a very good editor overall, and actively developed.

See the following question for more details:

LaTeX Editors/IDEs

With respect to packages, the simple answer is that only MikTeX offers on the fly downloading. TeXLive doesn't, and MacTeX is a TeXLive distribution. But the arguments against a once a year download of the full MacTeX bundle are pretty weak overall. So if you download the full MacTeX, everything should just work. (There are some corner cases of packages that are included in MikTeX but not in TeXLive due to license issues, but you are unlikely to come across them.)

If you do want to use BasicTeX, this is certainly a possibility, since the TeX Live Utility is a painless way to install missing elements.

See also:

Which LaTeX distribution should I use on OSX?

Is there a lightweight implementation/distribution of TeX for Mac OSX?

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