What is the difference between Tex Live and TexMaker. Are they in the same category? What's the difference between these two?

  • 1
    TeXLive is a TeX distribution and TeXmaker is an editor for TeX/LaTeX/ConTeXt/... document.
    – user2478
    Feb 13, 2014 at 10:36
  • 3
    Well, TeXMaker is an editor with special support for LaTeX, but you can't use it standalone. It needs a so called TeX distribution like TeXLive, which provides the binaries like pdflatex and the packages!
    – Josef
    Feb 13, 2014 at 10:37
  • 2
    Think to TexMaker as your set of kitchen utensils and TeXLive as your food ingredients: if you don't have the ingredients the utensils are useless. Viceversa, if you have ingredients, you can change whatever set of utensils (see the editors) and you will still be able to cook (see compiling a document). Feb 13, 2014 at 10:50
  • 1
    Related Link at TUG tug.org/levels.html Feb 13, 2014 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


When you use LaTeX, the documents are compiled to PDF with command-line tools such as latex, pdflatex, xelatex. These have to be invoked from the command line: cmd.exe on Windows and usually bash in Linux. LaTeX itself has no graphical user interface.

TeX Live is a comprehensive collection of these command line programs, with all the packages, configuration files, fonts etc. that they use. So you need to install TeX Live to write documents in LaTeX.

If you want to edit your documents with syntax coloration, and compile them to PDF with a single button, you need a LaTeX editor. Editors hide away the command line stuff between a graphical user interface. I think TeXLive includes the TeXWorks editor. TeXMaker is another editor that you can use.

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