I just got a bug report for multicol because of a strange white space at the top of the first column and I traced it to the use of the pdfsync package that added material in various places that did somehow conflict with the column balancing routines of multicol.

Now this is rather an issue with this particular package that adds material in a way it perhaps shouldn't (well it warns that this could happen and that it should never be used on final documents). But it makes me wonder if there are any useful applications for this package at all these days, given that you can get this functionality (at least with TL binaries) by specifying -synctex=1 and use editors like TeXWorks without any side-effects.

If the answer is yes it is needed, which are those applications? If no, shouldn't the package get a bold warning (say, via \typeout) that it would be better to remove it and rely on a different approach?

Even if the answer is yes, I think a \typeoutwarning would be in order that it shouldn't be used on final documents (as the author states).

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    I think that the answer is a clear "don't use pdfsync for any reason whatsoever".
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 17:51
  • Here's a relevant question: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/73415/…
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 17:38
  • those who agree may upvote @egreg's comment and/or the answer below. Anybody with a real usecase for the package .. please share as an answer or comment! Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 9:34
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    This question looks in fact as a dup of tex.stackexchange.com/q/4491/1340 Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 18:00
  • Spot on @egreg (I wish I had read this in 2012). Make sure you also clean up all pdfsync garbage as it will get in the way of synctex. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


I had a stupendous mess trying to use pdfsync in combination with ledmac-ledpar. It seems that something in pdfsync interferes with the columns or parallel pages settings. Thus, my recomendation would be at least to add a warning of not using the package in combination with multicol, ledpar and similar packages.

  • 1
    ok, looks like there is consensus that (at least these days) this particular package should be avoided as it will produce problems and there are cleaner ways nowadays that avoid this. So I'll accept this as (the only) answer. Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 9:33

This is a supplement to Anabel's answer. The package documentation for the last update of pdfsync states:

This is most certainly the last update of this package, this technology will most certainly be embedded in pdfTEX and XETEX engines and won’t rely any longer on pdf techniques. As a matter of fact, synchronization will be available both for dvi, xdv and pdf. Also it will work the same for Plain, L A TEX, ConTEXt and whatsoever. Moreover, synchronization will not modify any package.

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