I'm a math student, and I enjoy using LaTeX (god help me if I typeset that wrong) commands to write mathematical formulae. I'll also be needing it very soon to write papers.

The thing is, though, and this is especially true when I'm writing for pleasure rather than work, when I sit down to write something, I don't want to be staring at this:

enter image description here

I don't want 90% of the stuff on the screen to be typesetting commands - I want 99% of it to be my actual content. On the other hand, I loathe writing math in WYSIWYG editors, so I'd like my math mode stuff to be entirely hand-coded.

Basically, I'd like a desktop version of the math.SE editor.

Is there a way I can use LaTeX that will essentially handle everything except math for me, and just let me write the math manually by typing in dollar signs?

Note that I'm not necessarily asking for an editor recommendation - Texmaker seems nice enough. I'd be happy with maybe some sort of template system? Like I could have the boilerplate code in one file, and have it reference an external file, where I'd just type up the content. Something like that? I'm very new to LaTeX and have no idea what features are commonly available.

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    I bever tried it myself therefore I'm not 100% sure, but you could have a look at Lyx. – Benedikt Bauer Sep 26 '13 at 13:26
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    You can easily do \input{header.tex}\begin{document}...\end{document} where header.tex contains all your preamble stuff. Is this what you mean? – zeroth Sep 26 '13 at 13:27
  • Sorry, @BenediktBauer, only saw your comment after answering. – Forkrul Assail Sep 26 '13 at 13:36
  • Does this relate to your problem: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/40144/… – zeroth Sep 26 '13 at 13:39
  • @zeroth Yes, in that it taught me \input exists, thanks. – Jack M Sep 26 '13 at 13:47

I'd suggest using LyX if you want a more WYSIWYG environment. Used it in the days before I discovered emacs.

Lyx Preview

For more screenshots head over to LyX screenshots

  • LyX is WYSIWYG for math as well - I don't want to have to go into a menu to insert a formula, I just want to wrap it in dollar signs. Is there a way to switch LyX to "manual"? – Jack M Sep 26 '13 at 13:50
  • I'm trying to think where I saw something similar, but I think a particular emacs preview mode did exactly the opposite, does WYSIWYG for math and not for everything else. When I have a bit of time I'll install LyX and see if I can figure something out. – Forkrul Assail Sep 26 '13 at 14:07
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    @JackM: Actually, Lyx really might be what you are looking for. The math editor also lets you insert the formula as TeX commands; to insert a formula just press Ctrl+M. No need to go into any menu. You can even define your own math commands. – Daniel Sep 26 '13 at 17:08
  • @Daniel Is there a way to type in latex commands manually after hitting Ctrl+M? By default LyX renders the commands in real time, which occasionally causes off bugs. The ideal would be to type it in manually, and then they render once I leave math mode. – Jack M Oct 5 '13 at 18:51
  • @JackM: I am not aware of such feature. However, I do very rarely maths, so there might be a settings trick I am not aware of. I suggest asking this at the lyx-users mailing list, where many of the LyX developers hang around and one usually gets a competent answer within a day. – Daniel Oct 5 '13 at 21:38

I prefer to create two tex files. Originally I started with one called header.tex and the other called mydoc.tex. For header.tex the document looked like


and mydoc.tex looked like

Lorem ipsum dolor ...

I could then run the standard compile rules built into my editor of choice. I then realized I could go even further and switched to a file call main.tex and the other called body.tex. For main.tex it might look like


and for body.tex it might look like

Lorem ipsum dolor ...

I use kile and have written a custom compile rule that compiles main.tex no matter what file the current tab is on. Presumably you can do the same with texmaker.

  • I'd just like to say that I now use this method, but I use one file per section and possibly even one per proof, if it's a long proof. – Jack M May 20 '14 at 15:20

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