I downloaded WinEdt, MiKTeX with TeXworks, and SumatraPDF for viewing.

I was alerted that WinEdt is shareware and I will have to pay in one month to keep it. Is this the case with the other two programs as well?

I am not going to need anything fancy, I want the absolute minimal requirements that optimally won't involve buying anything to create math PDFs written in LaTeX.

Can I just write directly in TeXworks and avoid using an editor at all? That would be fine. I just want to be able to make PDFs on my home computer if I don't have internet, so I don't have to use online resources such as writelatex.com (and I don't feel that's an appropriate use of those websites anyway, if I'm not collaborating).

  • Short answer: yes, TeXworks will suffice. Keen on another IDE? Check this out – Holene Apr 29 '14 at 20:09
  • OK and it's free? Should I just get rid of WinEdt then? And what do I do with SumatraPDF? I have Adobe, I was told Sumatra helps with editing but if I don't have an editor... – user50612 Apr 29 '14 at 20:11
  • YEs, it's free. I'm not using TeXworks myself, but it has an build in PDF viewer. If you're not happy with it, then Sumatra is a splendid alternative. – Holene Apr 29 '14 at 20:13
  • You also can try TeXmaker which is free, multiplatform and also has a built-in pdf viewer. Not as powerful as WinEdt, but it's a very good editor. You also have TeXnic center. Test them all and see which fits the best your needs. – Bernard Apr 29 '14 at 20:50

From the TeXworks project homepage

The TeXworks project is an effort to build a simple TeX front-end program (working environment) that will be available for all today’s major desktop operating systems—in particular, MS Windows (XP/Vista/7), typical GNU/Linux distros and other X11-based systems, as well as Mac OS X.

This will be enough for you to write and compile your LaTeX documents, and TeXworks is free and open source.

If you want to combine another editor/IDE with a PDF viewer, take a look at this question about LaTeX Editors/IDEs. Using Sumatra PDF viewer is a good option, as it supports SyncTeX, and it is lightweight and efficient. Adobe might just as well do the job, but in my experience it's big, slow and doesn't necessarily handle file changes on disk very well.

  • Thanks for that link. I saw Notepad++, I didn't realize that could be configured with a PDF viewer (I already use Notepad++ for writing code in several languages and for HTML). I'm a little confused - what exactly is the difference between TeXworks and MiKTeX? Could I just use Notepad++? Which program will convert to a PDF for me? – user50612 Apr 29 '14 at 20:37
  • If you have installed a LaTeX distribution, such as MikTeX, you can just set up about any editor to compile your documents as long as they are able to run pdflatex (the program that will produce your PDF) in a terminal. Which Notepad++ definitely can. – Holene Apr 29 '14 at 20:40
  • OK thank you! I probably won't be able to figure that out, so I may be asking more questions here soon! :) – user50612 Apr 29 '14 at 20:43
  • Remember to check for solutions first :-) tex.stackexchange.com/questions/43984/… – Holene Apr 29 '14 at 20:52
  • I did read that, and it made no sense to me... :) I'm not exactly a computer wiz. – user50612 Apr 29 '14 at 21:25

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