9 Best LaTeX Editors For Linux

Brief: Once you get over the learning curve, there’s nothing like LaTeX. Here are the best LaTeX editors for Linux and other systems.

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a document preparation system. Unlike in a plain text editor, you can’t just write plain text using LaTeX editors. Here, you’ll have to use LaTeX commands to manage the content of the document.

LaTex Sample
LaTeX code compiled into a document

LaTeX editors are generally used in preparing scientific research documents or books for academic purposes. Most importantly, LaTeX editors come in handy if you’re dealing with a document containing complex mathematical notation. LaTeX editors are fun to use, but not that useful unless you have specific needs for a document.

Why should you use LaTeX?

Well, just as I previously mentioned, LaTeX editors are meant for specific purposes. You don’t need to be a geek head to figure out how to use a LaTeX editor but it’s not a productive solution for users who normally deal with basic text editors.

If you are looking to craft a document but you’re not interested in spending time formatting the text, then a LaTeX editor should be what you should go for. With LaTeX editors, you just have to specify the type of document, and the font and size of the text will be taken care of accordingly. No wonder it’s considered one of the best open source tools for writers.

Do note that this isn’t automated: you’ll first have to learn LaTeX commands to let the editor handle the text formatting with precision.

Best LaTeX Editors For Linux

Just for information, this list is not in any specific order: the editor at number three is no better than the editor at number seven.

1. LyX

LyX is an open-source LaTeX editor. It’s also one of the best document processors available on the web. LyX helps you focus on the structure of the write-up, just as every LaTeX editor should, and lets you forget about the formatting. LyX manages everything according to the type of document specified. You get to control a lot of stuff when you’re using it – margins, headers/footers, spacing/indents, tables, and so on.

If you’re into crafting scientific documents, research theses, or similar, you’ll be delighted to experience LyX’s formula editor, which should be a charm to use. LyX also includes a set of tutorials to get started without much hassle.

2. Texmaker

Texmaker is considered to be one of the best LaTeX editors for the GNOME desktop environment. It presents a great user interface which results in a good user experience. It’s also considered to be one of the most useful LaTeX editors out there. If you perform PDF conversion often, you’ll find Texmaker to be faster relative to other LaTeX editors. You can take a look at a preview of what the final document will look like while you write. Also, you’ll observe that symbols are easy to reach when needed.

Texmaker also offers extensive support for hotkey configuration. Why not give it a try?

3. TeXstudio

If you want a LaTeX editor that offers you a decent level of customizability along with an easy-to-use interface, then TeXstudio would be the perfect one to have installed. The UI is very simple but not clumsy. TeXstudio lets you highlight syntax, comes with an integrated viewer, lets you check references and also bundles some other assistance tools.

It also supports some cool features like auto-completion, link overlay, bookmarks, multi-cursors, and so on – which makes writing a LaTeX document easier than ever before.

TeXstudio is actively maintained, which makes it a compelling choice for both novice users and advanced writers.

4. Gummi

Gummi is a very simple LaTeX editor based on the GTK+ toolkit. Well, you may not find a lot of fancy options here – but if you’re just starting out, Gummi would be our recommendation. It supports exporting documents to PDF format, lets you highlight syntax, and helps you with some basic error-checking functionalities. Though Gummi isn’t actively maintained via GitHub, it works just fine.

5. TeXpen

TeXpen is yet another simplified tool you can go with. You get an auto-completion functionality with this LaTeX editor. However, you may not find the user interface impressive. If you don’t mind the UI, but want a super easy LaTeX editor, TeXpen could fulfill that wish for you. Also, TeXpen lets you correct/improve the English grammar and expressions used in your documents.

6. Overleaf (ShareLaTeX + Overleaf)

Overleaf is an online LaTeX editor. Originally, we had two separate LaTeX editors (ShareLaTeX and Overleaf) in this post. However, they’ve both joined forces to launch Overleaf v2 (thanks to one of our readers, Saadiq Shaik, for notifying us about this change).

You get all the basic features you’d expect in a LaTeX editor. In addition to that, you can access it offline or choose to sync files via Dropbox and GitHub. It also lets you collaborate in real-time. You also have the ability to check document history to see what’s been removed and added.

7. Authorea

Authorea is a wonderful online LaTeX editor. However, it’s not the best out there in terms of its pricing plans. For free, it offers just 100 MB of data upload and 1 private document at a time. The paid plans offer you more perks but won’t be the cheapest option. The only reason you should choose Authorea is the user interface. If you love to work with tools that offer an impressive user interface, there’s no looking back.

8. Papeeria

Papeeria is the cheapest LaTeX editor you can find on the Internet – considering that it’s just as reliable as the others. You don’t get private projects if you want to use it for free. But if you prefer public projects, it lets you work on an unlimited number of projects with numerous collaborators. It features a pretty simple plot builder and includes Git sync at no additional cost. If you opt for the paid plan, you’ll have the ability to work on 10 private projects.

9. Kile

Kile LaTeX editor

The last entry in our list of the best LaTeX editors is Kile. Some people swear by Kile, primarily because of the features it provides.

Kile is more than just an editor. It’s an IDE tool like Eclipse that provides a complete environment for working on documents and projects. As well as quick compilation and preview, you get features like the auto-completion of commands, insertion of citations, organization of the document into chapters, etc. You really have to use Kile to understand its true potential.

Kile is available for Linux and Windows.

Wrapping Up

So, those are our recommendations for the LaTeX editors you should use on Ubuntu/Linux.

There’s a chance that we might have missed some interesting LaTeX editors available for Linux. If you happen to know about any, let us know down in the comments below.

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  • Astonishingly »TeXworks« is missing in this list. It is shipped with »TeX Live« as well as with »MiKTeX«. Whereas »LyX« is not recommendable at all, especially not for beginners.

  • As mentioned already in other comments, Emacs is great too (some websites, e.g. https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/DonaldKnuth, claim that this is the editor that the creator of Tex uses), and it is indeed my preferred latex editor (before Emacs I was using Texmaker). However, I think no comment mentions that Emacs takes quite some work to set up. To install a very powerful Emacs latex environment in a breeze I recommend to install Spacemacs with its latex layer (and learn vim keybindings, it only takes 15 minutes or so, or otherwise use Emacs keybindings). Also don’t forget to check out org-mode (for note-taking and project management) and read the comment by Bo below, it offers a very useful insight.