TeXworks is a simple TeX front-end program (working environment) available for all today’s major desktop operating systems—in particular, MS Windows (XP/Vista/7), typical GNU/Linux distros and other X11-based systems, as well as Mac OS X. It is deliberately modeled on Dick Koch’s award-winning TeXShop for Mac OS X, which is credited with a resurgence of TeX usage on the Mac platform.
To provide a similar experience across all systems, TeXworks is based on cross-platform, open source tools and libraries. The Qt toolkit was chosen for the quality of its cross-platform user interface capabilities, with native “look and feel” on each platform being a realistic target. Qt also provides a rich application framework, facilitating the relatively rapid development of a usable product.
The normal TeXworks workflow is PDF-centric, using pdfTeX and XeTeX as typesetting engines and generating PDF documents as the default formatted output. Although it is possible to configure a processing path based on DVI, newcomers to the TeX world need not be concerned with DVI at all, but can generally treat TeX as a system that goes directly from marked-up text files to ready-to-use PDF documents.
TeXworks includes an integrated PDF viewer, based on the Poppler library, so there is no need to switch to an external program such as Acrobat, xpdf, etc., to view the typeset output. The integrated viewer also supports source/preview synchronization (e.g., control-click within the source text to locate the corresponding position in the PDF, and vice versa). This capability is based on the “SyncTeX” feature developed by Jérôme Laurens, and supported by both the pdfTeX and XeTeX programs in TeX Live and other current distributions.