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How do I install TeX/LaTeX on Windows 7

For some years I've been using Scientific WorkPlace (WYSIWYG front end to TeX for Windows) to create LaTeX documents, whose installation and use are very easy. The main disadvantage is that changes to the typeset format of the different shells are not supported by the supplier, apart from not allowing \newcommand nor \def. Also there are very few shells that have headers and footers and the existing ones are not configurable.

As such I would like to install and use on Windows 7 a free TeX software. The AMS page http://www.ams.org/publications/authors/tex/public-domain-tex says:

Installation and use of free TeX software may require some technical expertise. The level depends on the distribution. Most packages are accompanied by relevant documentation.

I would have no support from anybody to carry out the installation.

  1. Which are the free TeX/LaTeX software products whose installation is relatively simple?
  2. Which packages do you advise as a minimum to create mathematical articles with figures and headers, and configurable text width and height?

EDIT. Based on the comments it seems that I have to choose between two options: TeX Live or MiKTeX.

  • 6
    You might wish to look at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/41808/… about the first part: I would say that the AMS advice is perhaps a little over-cautious on the difficulty of setting up (La)TeX now (it was more tricky in the past). On general (La)TeX editors see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/339/latex-editors-ides. – Joseph Wright Sep 24 '12 at 16:46
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    I would recommend you download the entire TeXLive 2012 distribution (a few GB). Disk space is so cheap these days that trying to save a few GB for something you only need 1 copy of is not worth the hassle. Then use TeXworks or some other editor of your choice. TeXShop IMO is better, but that is not available on a PC. – Peter Grill Sep 24 '12 at 16:47
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    @Americo Tavares, As I remember the TeX Live installation package already contains preconfigured TeXworks, so you won't need anything to install additionally. – GKalnytskyi Sep 24 '12 at 18:44
  • MikTeX is good but TeXLive is better. :-) – kiss my armpit Sep 24 '12 at 19:07
  • @JosephWright Thanks for pointing to a similar question. – Américo Tavares Sep 24 '12 at 19:16

Quick Manual:

  1. Mirror TeXLive 2012. See How to mirror TeXLive.
  2. Install TeXLive 2012.
  3. Install TeX editor. For Windows, you can choose TeXnicCenter.
  4. Update your installed TeX system. See how to update the installed TeXLive system. If you mirror your raw TeXLive, then update your local mirror first before updating your installed TeX system (see step 1).

Detailed Explanation:

If you need this, drop a comment. Then I will continue this section.

  • Thanks. Concerning 1. wouldn't it be easier if I purchase the TeX collection DVD from the TUG store? – Américo Tavares Sep 24 '12 at 18:29
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    @AméricoTavares: I think mirroring is better because you will get the latest update. You often need to update your installed TeX system, so purchasing a DVD wastes money. :-) – kiss my armpit Sep 24 '12 at 18:36
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    @AméricoTavares It depends on your requirements. Many people only use the DVD version of (La)TeX. They are often available as a membership benefit of a TeX group, so depending on where you are it might be easiest to join your local one. – Joseph Wright Sep 24 '12 at 18:44
  • @AméricoTavares: I guess you have a broadband, fast internet connection. Then mirroring is a good choice. :-) – kiss my armpit Sep 24 '12 at 18:48
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    @AméricoTavares: If you have mirrored the raw TeX Live distribution, you can also install or reinstall it many times if something wrong happens. The raw TeXLive distribution that we get by mirroring can be thought as extracting the contents of a latest TeXLive DVD. :-) – kiss my armpit Sep 24 '12 at 19:00

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