I have a new MacBook Pro running macOS Sierra 10.12.1, and I want to create a document using Latex. I have lots of experience doing this previously on Windows and Ubuntu.

For macOS, it seems that the required tool is called LaTeXiT, which I downloaded and installed from http://www.tug.org/mactex/. Then, I created a Latex file, opened it in LaTeXit, and then clicked on LaTeX it! in the bottom right of the window, which should compile the PDF. In LaTeXiT's preferences, the path to pdflatex is /Library/TeX/texbin/pdflatex.

The text in my simple file is:

\title{Latex Test}
\author{John Smith}


My abstract

My introduction.

x = 5

My subsection.

My conclusions.

Now, when I open this and try to compile, I get the following error message:

Missing $ inserted.<inserted text> $ $l.6 [1]/var/folders/hn/m8ps4pxx7gl2431h2xx0g46h0000gn/T/LaTeXiT-2.8.0/latexit-1.tex26 Missing $ inserted.

LaTeXiT indicates that this error messages comes from the blank line between \author{John Smith} and \maketitle.

What is this error message telling me? There are no $ symbols at all in the text...


  • 4
    Try with TeXshop instead. To quote a description of LaTeXit: "Should LaTeXiT be categorized, it would be an equation editor." It is, as far as I understand, intended only for making small images of equations, that can then easily be used in e.g. PowerPoint. From the screenshot on chachatelier.fr/latexit it appears that LaTeXit sets up a document with a math environment, so you only write the equation or whatever it is, not the preamble, title, author, text, etc. – Torbjørn T. Jan 1 '17 at 15:58
  • In TeXShop you can find some documentation about creating LaTeX documents under the Help Menu. As stated LaTeXiT is meant as an equation editor for short snippets rather than full blown documents. – Herb Schulz Jan 1 '17 at 16:07

Unfortunately I don't have the needed reputation to comment, so this is an answer: Like Torbjørn already said, LaTeXit is actual meant to be used for single equations. If you really want to compile your file with LaTeXiT, make sure you have selected the 'Auto' Button below the input box. Then it will run without any error message and you can export the output for your further needs.

| improve this answer | |
  • What do you mean by "If you really want to compile your file with LaTeXiT, make sure you have selected the 'Auto' Button below the input box." will this enable one to use LaTeXiT to compile a full tex file (with \documentclass et cetera)? – Dai Bowen Jan 1 '17 at 19:11
  • 1
    The 'auto' button will LaTeXiT make to detect each environment of your input automatically. Even because it's meant to use for single equations only (conform to the align- or display-environment in LaTeX), this is necessary for Karnivaurus' tex file. Hypothetical it's possible to compile a full tex file. In the settings of LaTeXiT you can set your preamble with adding your needed packages and change the documentclass. Also it's possible to create your own body template. – joni Jan 2 '17 at 14:23

Nowadays there are lots of different text editors that can be configured to compile .tex documents. Agree with @Torbjørn that TeXShop is perfectly fine, but I think there are better options. I would recommend doing the following:

  1. downloading Sublime Text 3;

  2. installing the LaTeXTools plugin via Package Control; and

  3. getting Skim, a lightweight .pdf viewer.

Getting things set up this way will take maybe 30-45 minutes -- easy and comprehensive instructions in the LaTeXTools readme -- but I guarantee that it will save you time + heartache in the long run. For example, you'll never need to recompile to get references synced, you can make the console only show up if there's an error or warning during compile, define your own keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Good luck + happy texing ~~

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.