Within Cygwin I use vim to write my .tex file, then compile with pdflatex. I then view the .pdf file with Adobe Reader (outside Cygwin that is, I just double-click the .pdf file from within a windows 'explorer' window).

If I then edit my .tex file and recompile with pdflatex I have to first close the file in Reader, otherwise pdflatex complains that the file is being used and will note write the updated .pdf file.

On my Mac at home (using the in-built PDF viewer 'Previwer') I do not need to close the .pdf I am viewing -- and furthermore the viewer will recognize that I have updated the .pdf and show me the new version. All quite nice really.

I would like to have similar behaviour on my work Cygwin system. Any ideas how I could do that?

Some technical details:

  • using Cygwin v 1.7.15 (from cygcheck) or CYGWIN_NT-6.1-WOW64 (from uname)
  • using Adobe Reader X version 10.1.6

Many thanks.

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    – Werner
    Mar 18, 2013 at 15:56
  • 1
    The pdf viewer called Evince works fine for me on linux. Wikipedia says Evince runs on Windows as well. On MacOS, isn't there an app called Preview or something?
    – user6853
    Mar 18, 2013 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


The behaviour you are seeing is caused by the fact that Adobe Reader locks the file while it is open. Use a better PDF viewer, or use an integrated solution (with viewer) like TeXWorks, TeXStudio or TeXMaker.

Aparently there seems to be no way to make Adobe Reader behave like a nice application...

  • 1
    Is there any way to set Adobe Reader to not lock the file?
    – Robert
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:32
  • 1
    Indeed, why should a reader lock a file? An editor could (or should) but not a reader.
    – lhf
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:38
  • 1
    @lhf in Adobe's defense, Adobe Reader can work with PDF annotations etc... which probably modifies the file. Still, it is more counterproductive than anything else, I agree.
    – rubenvb
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:40
  • @rubenvb, you're right, I had forgotten about annotations.
    – lhf
    Mar 18, 2013 at 13:41
  • 5
    That's not really much of an excuse. If you try to use Reader to modify a pdf file, then it should attempt to get a lock at the moment when you start doing the modification, not earlier, since 99.9% of users are only using it to read, not modify.
    – user6853
    Mar 18, 2013 at 21:47

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