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I'm very new to LaTeX, so apologies for my ignorance...

I am beginning to write my thesis, and would like to use LaTeX for this. A friend set up MiKTex and Texmaker on my office computer (running Windows 7) for me. However, I would also like to be able to write at home, where I have a Mac currently running OS X Mavericks (probably upgrading to Yosemite in the near future). After some googling, I've found out that I could install the Mac version of Texmaker at home, but MiKTeX is Windows specific. I'm not sure about the 'compatibility' of different distributions of LaTeX, and wonder how I can set up a system that easily allows me to work on the same files at home and at work. I have the following questions:

If I kept using MiKTeX and Texmaker on my Windows machine, would I be able to open and edit these files at home using say MacTeX and Texmaker? (Are the packages, formatting code etc. compatible? I know I could just edit the text files at home using a text editor and only do the real LaTeX stuff at work, but I'd prefer to be able to work in the full enviornment.)

Would I be better changing the distribution installed on my Windows machine to Tex Live, and installing Tex Live on my Mac? If I do this, would I be better installing Tex Live or MacTeX? Is the Windows version of Tex Live fully compatible with MacTeX? I've read that MacTeX has some Mac-specific features, and wonder if this would cause problems transferring files back and forth.

The other option for me is installing MiKTeX and Texmaker on Parallels on my Mac... I'm not especially keen to do this as I prefer working in OS X (and it's faster), and I feel semi-confident in using MiKTeX, and have no one to teach me Tex Live. However, would this be the easiest option in terms of compatibility, or does MiKTeX come more highly recommended than Tex Live?

I really don't know very much about this, so if I've missed any obvious other options, or there's something lacking in my understanding in the questions I've asked, please enlighten me!

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    The same .tex file should work on both without expecting extra fiddling. – user11232 Nov 24 '14 at 13:31
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    There is not much difference between texlive and miktex. Encode your tex files in utf8 and then you should be able to compile them with both systems. – Ulrike Fischer Nov 24 '14 at 13:31
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    Welcome to TeX.SX! – Andrew Swann Nov 24 '14 at 13:35
  • MacTeX is TeX Live with some extra editors and other utilities. Shouldn't be any incompatibility between the Windows and Mac versions (or Linux, for that matter). And there should be little to no difference between MiKTeX and TeX Live in terms of your own code (one might include a package the other doesn't, but should only be for rare cases). – Mike Renfro Nov 24 '14 at 17:47
  • If you are new to TeX, I think I would recommend installing TeX Live for Windows and MacTeX for OS X. This is not because of compatibility issues - as others have said, you should have few or none of those. But the two distributions work differently and I think TeX is confusing enough to learn without having to worry about those differences. On the other hand, if you only really have to manage the one at home because somebody else will manage MiKTeX on your office machine, then this won't be a relevant consideration. – cfr Nov 25 '14 at 0:58

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