In addition to the other tips, I'd like to make two comments, which are both related to my day-to-day editing and compiling of LaTeX documents.
The first comment I'd like to make is that using a folding editor may be a an equally good alternative to files. You can easily comment out folds or uncomment them, and they take up only little space in your input document. Furthermore, you can easily move folds around. If you don't know what a folding editor is, have a look at folding in
vim. The following picture may also give you some idea. The picture is from LaTeX and Friends.
Having said that, I have to admit that I currently I don't use a folding editor for my day-to-day LaTeX. However, I did use an
OCCAM folding editor some 18 years ago and I liked it. As soon as I've more time, I'll start using
The second comment I'd like to make is that using files for chapters and sections also has another big advantage, especially if your editor supports easy line deletion and line restoration. The advantage I'd like to point out is that this technique really lets you write your document in a top-down fashion and lets you play with the order of presentation.
How this works is as follows. (For simplicity I shall ignore the aspect of selecting the right titles for the chapter/section.) You can write your chapter titles and compile your document. To get an overview of the flow of the argument/text in the document you view the table of contents.
If you're happy with the order of presentation, then you're done but this hardly ever happens the first time, so you have to reorder the chapters/sections, add new chapters/sections, or remove them.
I use vim and three keystrokes let me remove the current
\include<chapter> line. A single keystroke lets me put it at another target position. This lets me quickly rearrange the order of the chapters and I do this until I think the order is right.
Notice that an undo-redo facility is also great because it lets you quickly undo the last changes, recompile your document (twice), see what it looked like before, redo the changes, compile your document (twice), and see what it looks like after the changes. Some editors have multiple undo-redo threads (but I've never used them).
BTW notice that this process doesn't require any mouse. All you do is put your document viewer on top of your editor. After that, a simple Alt+Tab lets you switch from the viewer to the editor or back---and all that with maximally-sized windows.
When I'm happy with the order of the chapters, I tackle the chapters, one by one. When tackling a chapter, I write the sections within that chapter in a similar way.
Notice that the technique also works if the chapter and/or section files contain text. A simple moving of a single line, lets you put put the chapter/section where it belongs. Without the files, this may not be so easy, unless you use a folding editor of course.