Just started using Emacs for editing my .tex documents after a long time away. I am rusty.

I installed auctex and setup my environment nicely. Most things are working, but the fly in the ointment is this pesky preview-latex mode. I can't seem to switch this ugly mess off. I am using latex-preview-pane in the right panel, so am able to view the PDF. I just want to see the actual unformatted (except by me) text without any preview elements in the left panel. Right now, I have a LaTeXised form of \dagger showing up where my \cite strings should be, my superscripts are showing up as (ugly) superscripts in the text window, I{} showing up for \textit{}, triangles at \begin \end sequences, etc. I just need the plain text of my document back, no interpreted crap added.

I have tried to use the Emacs menu to switch this disgusting stuff off Preview>Remove previews>from document (also tried from buffer). It does not remove this junk.

How do I disable preview-latex?

My .emacs:

(prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/Private/etc/emacsd/")
(setq TeX-auto-save t)
(setq TeX-parse-self t)
(setq-default TeX-master nil)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'visual-line-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'LaTeX-math-mode)
(add-hook 'TeX-mode-hook 'zotelo-minor-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'latex-preview-pane-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook #'rainbow-delimiters-mode)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'magic-latex-buffer)
(add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'turn-on-reftex)
(setq reftex-plug-into-AUCTeX t)
(setq TeX-PDF-mode t)
(setq bibtex-completion-pdf-field "file")

;;Eliminates the necessity for the save command before compilation is completed
(setq TeX-save-query nil)

;;Function that combines two commands 1. revert pdfoutput buffer 2. pdf-outline
(defun my-TeX-revert-document-buffer (file)
  (TeX-revert-document-buffer file)

;; Add custom function to the TeX compilation hook
(add-hook 'TeX-after-compilation-finished-functions #'my-TeX-revert-document-buffer)
  • For someone who seems very annoyed by all this “disgusting stuff”, you seem to be including a lot of things in your .emacs. Did you try removing frivolous embellishment frobbers like this magic-latex-buffer, maybe? AFAICS, you are blaming preview-latex for things it has nothing to do with (that you added yourself!).
    – frougon
    Dec 20, 2019 at 10:24
  • @frougon Thanks! Removing that did the trick for some of the mess. As I mentioned, I am rusty with emacs. I copied a recommended .emacs file online. I still have superscripts I can't seem to lose. Like $4^{\circ}$ shows up as a Latexised version with \circ in small and raised like a superscript would be. Is there any way to switch this junk completely off in auctex? Dec 20, 2019 at 10:34
  • Try (setq font-latex-fontify-script nil). With a .emacs containing only (add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/auctex") (require 'tex-site) (setq font-latex-fontify-script nil), this works. After changing the value, either restart Emacs or use M-x revert-buffer.
    – frougon
    Dec 20, 2019 at 10:57
  • That worked. Thanks! I still have strangely increased font sizes for the section and subsection names, but I can live with that. Sigh. You just ask for nice syntax highlighting, and auctex hands you its own impressionistic understanding of LaTeX rendered as ASCII :) Dec 20, 2019 at 11:00
  • Yeah, it does a bit too much sometimes (see for instance here, which should work but is not quite up-to-date with respect to my setup anymore). I haven't researched the chapter/section/etc. font... yet.
    – frougon
    Dec 20, 2019 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


The “annoyances” mentioned in the question are not due to preview-latex. They can be fixed by:

  1. Not using (add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook 'magic-latex-buffer) (presumably responsible for the triangles, dagger, etc., see magic-latex-buffer);

  2. Adding (setq font-latex-fontify-script nil) to the Emacs initialization file (~/.emacs, ~/.emacs.el or ~/.emacs.d/init.el) in order to tell AUCTeX not to raise mathematical superscripts nor lower subscripts in the source code.

In order to see the result after changing the value of font-latex-fontify-script, you can:

  • either save your buffer and use M-x revert-buffer if you did a “live test” with M-: (setq font-latex-fontify-script nil)(there are probably other ways to trigger the refontification);

  • or restart Emacs if you did the change in your Emacs initialization file.


The original question was how to disable preview-latex. The simplest way is not to load preview-latex.el by for example commenting-out the second line of the recommended configuration:

 (load "auctex.el" nil t t)
 ;;(load "preview-latex.el" nil t t)

This works for me.

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