I am soooooooooo confused... you people can laugh at me while I waddle in my technological ineptitude.

OK. As per the half dozen (mutually contradicting) suggestions in which (or under which) I was kindly inundated after asking this question, I have downloaded WinEdt and TeXworks onto my Windows computer. I already have Adobe Acrobat installed for viewing PDF documents.

I copy and pasted something like this (from writelatex.com)



\title{Your Paper}




Your abstract.


Your introduction goes here! Some examples of commonly used commands and features are listed below, to help you get started. If you have a question, please use the help menu (``?'') on the top bar to search for help or ask us a question.

\section{Some \LaTeX{} Examples}

\subsection{How to Leave Comments}

Comments can be added to the margins of the document using the \todo{Here's a comment in the margin!} todo command, as shown in the example on the right. You can also add inline comments:

\todo[inline, color=green!40]{This is an inline comment.}

\subsection{How to Include Figures}

First you have to upload the image file (JPEG, PNG or PDF) from your computer to writeLaTeX using the upload link the project menu. Then use the includegraphics command to include it in your document. Use the figure environment and the caption command to add a number and a caption to your figure. See the code for Figure in this section for an example.

\subsection{How to Make Tables}
Use the table and tabular commands for basic tables --- see Table~\ref{tab:widgets}, for example.

Item & Quantity \\\hline
Widgets & 42 \\
Gadgets & 13
\caption{\label{tab:widgets}An example table.}

\subsection{How to Write Mathematics}

\LaTeX{} is great at typesetting mathematics. Let $X_1, X_2, \ldots, X_n$ be a sequence of independent and identically distributed random variables with $\text{E}[X_i] = \mu$ and $\text{Var}[X_i] = \sigma^2 < \infty$, and let
$$S_n = \frac{X_1 + X_2 + \cdots + X_n}{n}
      = \frac{1}{n}\sum_{i}^{n} X_i$$
denote their mean. Then as $n$ approaches infinity, the random variables $\sqrt{n}(S_n - \mu)$ converge in distribution to a normal $\mathcal{N}(0, \sigma^2)$.

\subsection{How to Make Sections and Subsections}

Use section and subsection commands to organize your document. \LaTeX{} handles all the formatting and numbering automatically. Use ref and label commands for cross-references.

\subsection{How to Make Lists}

You can make lists with automatic numbering \dots

\item Like this,
\item and like this.
\dots or bullet points \dots
\item Like this,
\item and like this.
\dots or with words and descriptions \dots
\item[Word] Definition
\item[Concept] Explanation
\item[Idea] Text

We hope you find write\LaTeX\ useful, and please let us know if you have any feedback using the help menu above.


into my WinEdt program, and it basically just sat there. So then I copy and pasted it into my TeXworks program, started clicking random buttons, and upon pressing the Green thing in the top-left corner it, to my great surprise, opened up a PDF: enter image description here

But then I couldn't save it, so I need to know:

  1. Am I correct in presuming that the WinEdt does basically nothing except let me type in it?
  2. Does my "setup" look ok? I am considering using this alleged "AMS article style", but the fact that it's on a random empty webpage and that "article" is spelled "artcle" makes me suspicious that some goon just made it up... is this actually the AMS template?
  3. How do I convert to and save as PDF in TeXworks?

EDIT: In the WinEdt, should I click on "TeXify", "LaTeX", "TeX", "AMSTeX", or what? And I have MiKTeX, but it's called TeXworks I guess...

  • 5
    Welcome to the TeX world :) It's turtles all the way. We all have been there. Slowly you'll build up. Your PDF file is sitting on the same folder where your TeX file is.
    – percusse
    Apr 28, 2014 at 21:54
  • 2
    the template that you linked was not created by anyone at the ams. (the spelling is terrible, and we would never recommend that anyone define a one-letter command.) however, what is in it should most likely not fail when processed by latex, and produce a result that looks like the intended output from amsart; i didn't try. Apr 29, 2014 at 13:45

2 Answers 2


No. WinEdt can launch the compiler through icons or menus, open the pdf viewer,and do a lot of other things. It has a powerful language of ~1000 macros for that. Almost every aspect can be customised.

Here is a screenshot of WinEdt with the beginning of your .tex file:

enter image description here

You'll notice, just on the right of the Recycle icon, a PDF/ L icon. If you click on it, you'll launch the pdfLaTeX compiler. Clicking on the small "triangle down" next to the icon lets you choose another compiler(LaTeX, XeLaTeX, LuaLaTeX and their variants). But to begin with, pdfLaTeX will be enough. pdfLaTeXify and the like are MiKTeX utilities that launch the complete cycle of compilations in order to resolve the cross-references and typeset the bibliographies, indexes or glossaries that you may have.

The Adobe Reader icon on the right lets you open the pdfviewer. The recommended pdfviewer for use with tex is not Adobe Reader, but SumatraPDF which you should install. It allows you to navigate from your source code to the corresponding point in the resulting .pdf file and backwards through shortcuts: if the cursor is at some point in your .tex file, the Maj+F8 shortcut will bring you to the corresponding point in the .pdf ("direct search"). Conversely, double-clicking somewhere in the .pdf file will bring you to the corresponding line of the .tex file ("inverse search").

You should look at the Execution Modes submenu of the Options menu:

enter image description here This is where you can settle the behaviour of the editor, choose the pdfviewer (id SumatraPDF is installed, it is the default viewer for .tex files. In particular, you can ask to start the Viewer after the compliler has finished its job.

Another important feature is that in the Help menu, you have access to:

  • WinEdt (copious) Help (F1)
  • LaTeX Doc (Shift+Ctrl+F1): you type the name of a package, and it opens its doc (if it consists of only one file) or lets you choose in a list if there are several files.
  • LaTeX Help e-book is a general help on LaTeX.
  • MiKTeX or TeX Live Help, according to your TeX system

I hope this will help to begin with.

  • Thank you very much for the advice. A few problems: 1. Should I set my Console Applications exactly as you have yours there? 2. I downloaded SumatraPDF, and set it to the default viewer, but when I click on PDFLaTeX nothing happens, and when I click on PDFTeXify I get the error message "Cannot Run: [sumatra file location] -reuse-instance [pdf file location]" what is happening?
    – user50612
    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:07
  • Also, my WinEdt says "Unregistered Copy" is this ok? And when I open the SumatraPDF viewer, and then open the pdf file, it works fine... but if I try to do it from WinEdt that's where I'm having trouble.
    – user50612
    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:09
  • First question: probably this is due to SumatraPDF being installed after WinEdt. Open Execution Modes and select the PDF Viewer tab. There, you can indicate the PDF viewer (and also alternate pdf viewers). Second question: WinEdt is shareware. You can use it for 31 days, then you need a license, at a reasonable price in my opinion.
    – Bernard
    Apr 29, 2014 at 9:28

Look in the folder you have your .tex file in and you will find a PDF as well. :)

  1. The editor compiles TeX code into PDF and makes it more comfortable to type the code in.
  • 7
    The editor does not compile the code. Apr 28, 2014 at 22:04
  • I found it! BTW, does anyone have comments about the AMS template that I linked?
    – user50612
    Apr 28, 2014 at 22:14
  • Yeah, sorry, it does not actually compile, it calls the compilers to put the pdf together :) I'm no expert on TeX... amsmath is a package that allows some extended math stuff in the document, but I dont understand what you mean by AMS template...
    – Jan Sila
    Apr 28, 2014 at 22:19
  • @JanSila I mean the template used by the AMS (American Mathematical Society) for their academic publications.
    – user50612
    Apr 28, 2014 at 23:23
  • @user50612 -- the "generic" template for amsart can be found on ctan as ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/required/amslatex/amscls/doc/… . there is a more "tailored" template for each of the journals published by ams on the ams web site as part of the journal author packages. Apr 29, 2014 at 14:12

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