The pdfsync homepage states that:

At the end of this summer (2007), pdfsync is slowly migrating to pdftex itself. We are working at giving pdftex all the pdfsync ability and more...

The pdfsync README file discourages people from using pdfsync:

pdfsync uses extremely sensible code. You should not use pdfsync on final documents because it can change the layout rather significantly.

From your knowledge and experience, what is the actual status of pdfsync?

  • Is it safe to use pdfsync?
  • Is there an alternative for pdfsync that is built into pdftex?
  • Is there a different tool for pdflatex that offers DVI-like functionality (forward and backward search)?

2 Answers 2


The SyncTeX system is now built into pdfTeX, etc., with both TeX Live and MikTeX. Many people use this routinely and without issue.

  • 2
    Not only pdfTeX but also LuaTeX and XeTeX (i.e. all the three actively used engines), and many viewers and editors support it (SumatraPDF, Evince, Okular, Gedit, Emacs, Vim, TeXWorks, to name some). Oct 24, 2010 at 11:26
  • Does anyone know whether Acrobat interoperates with it? Oct 24, 2010 at 14:53
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    @frabjous: Acrobat and even Adobe Reader are really too bloated and slow to be of much use anyway - This isn't true if you need one of the many features that only Acrobat provides in a reliable form. I don't like Acrobat, but I can't do without it. Oct 25, 2010 at 10:04
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    @frabjous: Charles's point is spot on. Two other points: 1) there's little choice in the matter in managed environments where Acrobat Pro and Reader are site-licensed, supported and designated; 2) Acrobat is (rightly or wrongly) the de facto reference reader for pdf publications. Eschewing this s/w is likely to bite you (via your customers) in unanticipated ways if you don't test your publications against it or if you remain unfamiliar with it in its various incarnations. Your suggestion only holds water if your work is not commercial, not complex and/or you don't need much QA. Oct 25, 2010 at 14:03
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    I wasn't arguing against using Acrobat or Reader at all, ever. I was just arguing against it for the purposes of LaTeX during the composition phase. Aside from the obvious lack of support for SyncTeX, it's just too slow to keep up. And arguing that one should use it just because it's the "de facto standard" seems to be me a self-fulfilling prophecy, and bad policy. If I reasoned like that, I would still be using Word and Windows, not LaTeX and linux, both of which I find infinitely better. Why not argue for Internet explorer while we're at it?
    – frabjous
    Oct 26, 2010 at 0:18

Joseph is correct: this feature is now included inside all of the TeX-based engines. And note well that you now shouldn't use the pdfsync package -- everything happens automatically.

  • 1
    Just to add an observation. I couldn't get multicols to align properly and I eventually found the culprit to be pdfsync.
    – Louis
    Jun 28, 2013 at 21:34

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