The TeXworks homepage states that "It is deliberately modeled on Dick Koch’s award-winning TeXShop for Mac OS X" and it seems that today people are using both. Both are delivered with TexLive and MacTex. TeXworks is available for Windows and Linux as well, what I consider a big advantage. TeXShop might have better OSX look&feel, but it is available for OSX only. So why should I use it, does it have advantages over TeXworks?

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    Related Question: LaTex editor IDEs Nov 11, 2011 at 21:16
  • Thanks, I thought about linking that question as well. I am also thinking about using TexMaker, TexStudio or AquaMacs, but this question is about TexShop versus TexWorks, because these two are delivered with MacTex by default and I just don't see too much difference between them. Which is why I'm asking...
    – matth
    Nov 11, 2011 at 21:24

4 Answers 4


TeXShop is a much more mature application, with a large user base and active development.

Some advantages:

  • Macro editor that allows you to attach commands or menu items to arbitrary chunks of code
  • Palettes of commonly used symbols and constructs
  • Simple table input editor
  • Macro to paste spreadsheet cells from Excel/Numbers etc. as LaTeX tabulars
  • BibDesk integration (automatic insertion of citations when BibDesk is open)
  • Native integration with aspell

The last two are very important for me. I have a soft spot for the fourth, since I contributed the code. :-)

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    Could you tell me how to use the BibDesk integration you mentioned? How does it work?
    – Chang
    Sep 1, 2012 at 20:30
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    @chang Very simply, if your .bib file is open in BibDesk, and you've allowed BibDesk completions in the TeXShop preferences, you can enter in your source \cite{foo and then hit Escape (or Tab depending on preference) and a list of all citation keys beginning with "foo" will appear as a drop down list next to the cursor. You then choose the right one and it gets inserted into your source.
    – Alan Munn
    Sep 1, 2012 at 21:18
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    Current versions of TeXShop use F5 for BibDesk completion rather than the trigger for command completion (Tab or Esc).
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 20, 2019 at 4:47

One advantage that I have seen is that since TeXShop is a native Mac application, you get automatic spell checking available right in the editor. Also, TeXShop seems to have more options for using menus to insert LaTeX code but I don't find that that useful, but am sure that others do.

I have used both and started with TeXWorks as it is available on both Mac and PC. However, lately I switched over to TeXShop on the Mac just for the spell checking feature.


I understand the reason for the development of TeXWorks, but don't see why they are trying to develop on OSX anyway. TeXWorks is modelled after TeXShop, but does not have its advantages, and has (in my opinion) serious flaws.

  1. At one point, the pdf renderer in TeXShop was better than in TeXWorks, but that may have been fixed. When I have both rendering the same file, the one in TeXShop is easier to read, but that may be contrast settings or something.

  2. One reason for not giving TeXWorks a try is that the bright colors they use for icons annoys me. If you look at TeXShop, it looks professional, it has muted colors and buttons that are obvious but don't get in the way. I use TeXShop for hours on end, and if I had to look at such a UI disaster all of the time, I'd go looking for something else.

  3. TeXShop has color highlighting of latex commands, and does brace completion (which is a lifesaver for me). TeXWorks does not appear to have the first, though I don't know about the second.

Even if TeXWorks eventually gains the advantages of TeXShop, I don't see any reason to change. TeXShop works well, and it has for years.

Again, I understand the reasoning for the development of TeXWorks, and I applaud it (even though I would have made some changes), I just don't see a reason to develop it for OS X as long as TeXShop is a viable alternative.

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    3. TeXworks has syntax hightlighting, Format --> Syntax highlighting, or set it as default in the preferences. Nov 12, 2011 at 11:19

TeXShop has direct support for Sage since version 2.25. Sage.engine comes with TeXShop and you can activate it so that it will be available on the same drop down menu with other typesetting options like PlaneTeX, LaTeX etc.

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