So, I wrote a document in LaTeX. Someone who doesn't know LaTeX and is a very busy person now has to edit it. Is there a crash course in LaTeX document? Aside from saying 'Ignore everything that starts with \'? Like a one page \textit means italic, % means a comment; you can ignore anything after this, type of thing? It is a really simple document, just straight text basically.

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    Full LaTeX Learning on Steriods is impossible but there is cheat sheet stdout.org/~winston/latex/latexsheet.pdf – texenthusiast Nov 28 '13 at 17:51
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    What is the motivation for learning LaTeX for a one-time editing task? It might be better to edit the PDF document instead. If a single error appears during the compilation you need a bit of LaTeX knowledge to continue and unfortunately this cannot be learned in an hour. – Alexander Nov 28 '13 at 17:53
  • @Alexander I think that deserves to be an answer. It's the only fair course of action. – Sean Allred Nov 28 '13 at 18:15
  • @Alexander He doesn't need to make it compile: Just give me the changes to the text and then I can recompile and make it look good. In Word he would just be adding comments and using track changes, not reformatting it for me. – Canageek Nov 28 '13 at 18:29
  • To add to @Alexander's suggestion, the tools that one can use to directly edit the PDF are Acrobat Pro, Preview (Mac), or Foxit, etc. – Herr K. Nov 28 '13 at 18:47

Share the LaTex over online editors like ShareLaTex. They highlight keywords and syntax and your friend will be able to clearly point out text he needs to review. If he wants, he can also look at the PDF preview.


To most people that are used to Word, OpenOffice or similar WYSISWG word processors the syntax of LaTeX will take some time to digest. Whereas I think it is worth the effort to learn if you want to typeset nice documents an "emergency case" might not be the right opportunity to start learning it. I personally cannot edit the LaTeX source from other people instantly but always have to spend a little while understanding their choices of packages and commands.

For pure editing it is often much easier to use the nice tools that are available in many PDF readers, such as Adobe Reader or Foxit to mark the corresponding parts of the document and let the author deal with incorporating the changes.

There is little benefit if you receive an non-working edited LaTeX file that you have to debug to even be able to use latexdiff to see the changes.

Alternatively we discussed also the possibility to convert to a different format and back to LaTeX: Convert TeX to non-TeX and back.

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    +1 Along the same lines, editing a hard copy is (almost?) always easiest for the editor. – Sean Allred Nov 28 '13 at 19:28

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