I have a Windows desktop PC at home and a MacBook for working everywhere else. I use LaTeX every single day, so it is important to me that "it just works".

Up to now I've been using TeXStudio because this editor is always mentioned as one of the top editors both on Windows and on MacOS. However, lately I've been having more encoding (latin1 vs. utf8 - I write in German so I need umlauts) issues out of nowhere and that can become rather cumbersome. Moreover, for very long files (thesis, books), it seems to me that TeXStudio is rather slow both on Windows and MacOS (while editing and compiling).

So I'm looking for an editor that is as lightweight and fast as possible and can also compile .tex files very quickly. Ideally, that editor is available on both Windows and MacOS and is "idiot-proof" regarding encoding.

For this, I thought about just using editors more popular with coders, like Vim, Sublime Text 2 or VS Code. I hardly need any of the features provided by the GUI of TeXStudio (actually seems unnecessarily bloated to me), so a simple editor would maybe be better for me. However, I don't want to run into issues while compiling or using e.g. bibLaTeX.

I also looked at TeXPad which looks gorgeous and very clean, but unfortunately is not available on Windows. So I'm again a bit hesitant because of possible encoding issues every now and then.

What would be the best pick for frequent switches of platforms and fast compiling?

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  • 1
    This looks like a dupe of the 'big list of IDEs' question: really, there is no 'one true choice' – Joseph Wright Aug 14 at 21:46
  • 4
    Did you saw question tex.stackexchange.com/questions/339/latex-editors-ides ? Do you know TeXWorks seem to be available on all OS. The time a compile run needs is mainly depending on the used TeX distribution, the editor is only an IDE making compiling and writing easier to control ... – Mensch Aug 14 at 21:51

Well, just use Emacs. Steep learning curve, but worth the time and effort. And it comes with org-mode. Good thing to get things organised. I never learned lisp, by the way.

To write and compile *.tex files, there is AUCTeX mode of Emacs.

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