Background: I have used LaTeX quite a bit back in the uni but haven't really needed the power of mathematical notation as much since I moved on to do biomedical research. It's significantly easier for me and my colleagues to work with more traditional text editors for manuscripts, that play better with reference managers etc.

That being said, I am keen on replacing Powerpoint with something easier and significantly more intelligent. I have gotten the tip to try out LaTeX for presentations and posters but I recall that placing elements and doing visually pleasing work on LaTeX is notoriously complicated. I remember the frustration I had when I was fine tuning the formatting of my masters thesis.

Thus I wonder if there is a visual editor for LaTeX that supports visual editing of elements, such as margins, placement of headers etc. I frequently use Adobe InDesign for posters and pdf documents (like HOWTOs) and I think it would be pretty cool to have the flexibility to manually and visually edit the layout. Does such an editor exist for Mac OS X or Linux? I have checked quite a few WYSIWYG editors but most of those seem to be aiming at minimizing the verbosity of short commands like making text boldface, italic etc. Which is all nice but enough to facilitate the "design" process of the document.

  • If you're familiar with R and css, you may want to look into an Rmarkdown extension called xaringan.
    – erik
    Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 14:54

4 Answers 4


Kaveh Bazargan at River Valley Technologies made an attempt at something like this with a program called Batch Commander. He presented it at TUG 2010, and Ricardo Lafuente had a presentation at the Libre Graphics Meeting also in 2010. The videos are available online:

The program can be found at Ricardo's BitBucket page: https://bitbucket.org/rlafuente/batchcommander


This might be what you are looking for bakoma-tex (archived link)

From the site: Beginner users may consider TeXWord as a good tool both for writing papers and simultaneous learning of LaTeX. For example, a student can begin to write a thesis using the typesetting toolbar in the WYSIWYG window having virtually no any LaTeX skills at all. The program looks very similar to MS Word. However, students can gradually improve their knowledge of LaTeX by eventually looking in the "Source Files" as TeXWord creates a LaTeX document. In addition, instant formatting and error diagnostic simplify correction of markup mistakes.


No (well, not really --- I'd forgotten about Kaveh's project).

It'd be nice if there were, but there isn't for the same reason that there isn't a fully interactive graphical editor for PostScript programs or METAFONT --- too small a marketshare, and exposing the complexity goes against the current fashion of hiding such from na\"ive users.

I'd love to see something developed for such, and actually have some ideas, but not getting any traction at work.

  • I'd say that Adobe Illustrator is a graphical editor for Postscript programs.
    – bubba
    Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 8:49
  • And there's a thing called Metaflop that is an interactive editor for Metafont programs -- metaflop.com
    – bubba
    Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 8:53
  • Illustrator won't allow one to access arbitrary PostScript code and mangles any code which one persuades it to load beyond editing. Metaflop merely allows toggling some options, not full-fledged creation.
    – WillAdams
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 15:47

Auto-Latex Equations

For design and ease of use, the best choice is by far Google Docs. With the Auto-Latex Equations add-on for Google Docs, you can add LaTeX functionality as well. Not only is it free, but it also replaces all your equations with images of the high-quality equation, making it mobile-viewable and fully compatible with Google Docs design tools.

All you have to do is type an equation within delimiters, like $$55 + \sqrt{5}$$ and it can be rendered in super high quality at whatever time you like by rendering all the equations in your document. If you mess up, you can always undo one, edit it, then re-render.

You can get it at the Google Docs add-ons store.

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