I’m switching to TeXstudio

I’ve happily used WinEdt for all my LaTeX editing for about 15 years and I’ve encouraged my whole research team to use it. But I’m tired of problems with WinEdt that take up my time. I regularly have requests for help from one of my research team because something in WinEdt is not working properly — such as pdf synchronization problems, or it is using an old version of MikTeX that no longer updates, or that it has switched to using another pdf viewer without warning. These aren’t that hard to fix, but they shouldn’t happen. When a coauthor at another university has a request for help, it is much more difficult. If a new person joins our research team, there is always a hassle getting WinEdt configured for their use. Jeromy Anglim has a nice post on configuring WinEdt 6.0, but it should work nicely without needing this sort of configuration.

I tried TeXnicCenter for a while, the most popular freeware LaTeX editor for Windows. V1.0 is very cluttered and messy which drives me crazy. V2.0 is an improvement, but is very buggy and progress is so slow that I’ll be dead before it is released! It was announced in 2008, but there still isn’t a beta version. The last alpha 3 release was nearly a year ago.

So I’ve been looking around for another LaTeX editor, and after trying a handful of alternatives, discovered TeXstudio (previously called TexMakerX) which seems very clean and simple, but does everything I need. The following features are great:

  • Colour syntax coding;
  • Integrated pdf viewer with syncing in both directions;
  • Tree view of document structure automatically created and highlighting my position in the document;
  • Auto-completion of standard commands;
  • Auto-fill of \ref commands;
  • Automatic detection of master document;
  • Automatically works with MikTeX with no configuration required;
  • Code folding;
  • Error list with automatic linking to the relevant line of the document;
  • Regex search and replace facility;
  • One click build process for LaTeX documents;
  • Built-in spelling checker;
  • Built-in thesaurus;
  • Text analysis including word counts;
  • It works on Windows, Unix/Linux, BSD and Mac OS X;
  • Freeware.

For beginners, there are lots of buttons to assist with fonts, mathematical symbols, etc. There are also wizards for figures and tables. I won’t use these but they might be useful to new LaTeXers.

It is not as powerful as WinEdt in it’s macro capability, and it only handles LaTeX (so no good if you want to use TeX, ConTeXt, or some other variant). But for the sort of work I do, it has all the facilities I need. I think it will also lead to far fewer requests for help.

The only customizing I’ve done is to map F3 to the “Find next” so it matches other software I use. By default, F3 is linked to YAP for dvi files, but I never use dvi files anyway. I also turned off ToolTip-Help which I found annoying.

One bug I have found is that BibTeX is not always called when it should be. It is easy enough to manually run BibTeX, but it would be nice if the need to do so was detected more reliably.

I’m not sure if TeXstudio will be my LaTeX editor for the next 15 years, but I’ll use it as my main LaTeX editor unless something better comes along, and I will encourage my research team and coauthors to use it too.


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  • I’d go with Emacs with AucTeX.

    You can’t imagine how slow the other editors are compared to them. (I’ve used Winedt, Kile and TexShop, so I know a bit about editors.)

    • Yin Zhu

      Emacs + AucTex is OK on windows. But when you start to add spelling checking, auto completion, it is slow to death.

      On Linux, there is no such problem.

  • Sotiris Fragkiskos

    it sure looks interesting feature-wise, but it looks kind of buggy to me.. I ve used it for the last hour and there are a couple of ugly glitches that render it unusable (like, find mode doesn’t work correctly, I type something I want to find find and it stops randomly and starts typing what I type inside the text!! Also, selections sort of stop randomly..)
    I liked the absolute syncing part very much though, it’s far more elegant than winedt’s implementation..

    • I’ve probably used it for 20 hours so far and I haven’t had any trouble with find mode.

  • Bruno

    Simple curiosity : have you had a try at TexMaker, and found any difference between TexMaker and TexMakerX ?
    I have the impression that the functionnalities originally added by the TexMakerX fork are now also in TexMaker, but I’d like to hear from someone who actually compared.

    • Yes, I used TexMaker for a few hours before trying TexMakerX. There are quite a lot of additional features in TexMakerX that I find useful including regex search/replace which is essential for me.

  • Sotiris Fragkiskos

    sorry, it’s been ages since I ve tried TexMaker. I am now using latexmk with vim mostly, and have winedt open for bracket matching testing and find in project functionality.

  • I am still using WinEdt 6.0 and the latest build works very well out of the “box”, but I need to co-author a report in LaTeX with authors who normally use Word. I think TexMakerX would have been ideal, but after using it for some hours I found bugs with cursor navigation in the editor. The cursor would jump randomly and at some point it became impossible to move the cursor to some lines of text. I had to restart TexMakerX to recover. Then I found a bug in the previewer that would prevent moving to the next page in the pdf, but the page could be reached by going to the last page and then moving backwards.

    I think that if debugged TexMakerX would be useful, but as it is I would not like to give it to someone new to TeX.

    • Potis

      Sorry to bother but did you by any chance fix these bugs or found some kind of solution? I am dealing with them my self.

      Thanks!

  • User

    Why I don’t use WinEdt:

    1. Money

    2. Proprietary license

    3. No utf8 support

    4. Not vim.

  • The two bugs I reported yesterday are one and the same and related the syncing between viewer and editor. And they seem to occur only with a very particular but valid LaTeX input. I reported them to the author, and they don’t seem to be as bad as I originally thought. He answered very fast. Sorry, for my slightly misleading earlier message.

  • Wenjin

    Their website says “been seized by US copyright office”? Am I going to the right site?

  • Víctor M. Garcia

    Hi, it sound very interesting. I’m going to try it.

    Have you tried Texworks? It is installed with Miktex. I do my papers with Texshop for Mac OSX when I’m at home and at work I use Texworks. I like it because there isn’t any encoding trouble.

  • Víctor M. Garcia

    Hi, it sound very interesting. I’m going to try it.
    Have you tried Texworks? It is installed with Miktex. I do my papers with Texshop for Mac OSX when I’m at home and at work I use Texworks. I like it because there isn’t any encoding trouble.

    • Yes, I tried TeXWorks. It was a bit limited for my liking, but certainly easy to use. Given the effort going into it, TeXWorks could well be the editor of choice in a couple of yearss

  • Samik R

    A similar one which I use is LeD (LaTeX Editor), available at: [www.latexeditor.org]. Available only on Windows though, but feature rich, easy to use, and I am yet to stumble on any bug (has been using it for around 3 years).

  • JC__

    Quite interesting your review about the texmakerx.

    Just to say I also changed the “Find next” shortcut to F3, which is the usual in other text editors, like notepad++ or so.

    That bug with the bibtex I did not understand it. When you call it with the shortcut (the default is F11) it does not always run it?

    I still find some annoyances with the texmakerx: the fact that after you save a file the “Save” button (in the toolbar) does not change to gray. And why does not always show the log after a “pdflatex” (F6) or quick-build (F1)?

    By the way, all these shortcuts are a mess in my humble opinion because they are not the standard among other IDEs (see Eclipse for instance..)

    But nowadays texmakerx is my favorite tex editor, until a better option appears 🙂

    JC

  • James M

    After using Texnic Center for some time I tried TexStudio. Yes, it has some nice features in the editor, but this is the only plus point. It doesn’t integrate well with Miktek, and often has problems building even simple files. And it is so slow in compiling. So I’m not going to use it any more.

  • Domagoj

    I’ve been using TexMaker for almost 3 years (successfully:-)), but now, I’m switching to TexStudio. Only 10 minutes of testing it was enough to see that it’s a ‘better version’ of TexMaker (it’s similar to TexMaker, but with significant improvements).
    Thanks for infos/review!

  • D Venu Gopal

    I also turned off ToolTip-Help which I found annoying !!

    How to  turn off ToolTip Help? For experienced LaTeX users it is very annoying.

    • Go to Options menu, click on “Completion” tab. You will see a check box for “Enable ToolTip-Help”. Make sure it is unticked.

  • jay

    i really recommend the original texmaker(http://www.xm1math.net/texmaker/) over the TexmakerX/TexStudio fork. 🙂

    • Alex

      Why? The TexStudio offers superior functionality. Also in the past the Texmaker owner had refused to fix issues others had reported as important (e.g. when changes are made to files externally e.g. via SVN — only integrated it after people started comparing it with TexStudio…). This kind of behavior made me change 2 years ago from Texmaker to Texstudio, and I am never going back — I am happy with the simplicity and features offered…

      • lololo

        Biggest reason was that the original one has a much cleaner interface an an overall more professional look to it.
        But I’m going to give TexStudio another chance, maybe I was too quick with my decision.

        • lololo

          Yeah, some nice features. But After a few minutes the program crashes. I can’t use an unstable program for serious work. :-

          • MPD

            It’s me again. With the release of TexStudio 2.4 lots of the stability seem to be resolved.
            I really like the integration of grammar checking with LanguageTool.
            So for now I’ll use TexStudio again, if I don’t get too many crashes again.

  • Carlos

     I think TeXStudio is the best TeX editor available right now. Formerly I used TexMaker and TexMakerX, I agree they were somewhat buggy. The only bug or handicap I found in TeXStudio is that BibTeX is automatically called less often that it should. And that calling it by hand sometimes reports non existent errors, so I end erasing all the files generated by TeXStudio and recompile, takes a few seconds but is a bit annoying.

    Otherwise TeXStudio is extremely functional and full with helpful features.

  • texfogey

    It’s even better than you say, Rob, because forward and inverse search (with Sumatra) work right out of the box with no mods; it could be because Sumatra is set as my default pdf. I’m switching (also after about 15 years).

  • Dinesh Dileep

    Hi, Spell checking is not working for me by default. Any way out ?? :(:(

  • Bbricoleur

    I really like TeXstudio (except for the default colors). Things like indentation/real tabs etc are definitely a plus.

    I have no idea why TeXstudio reviews are so negative on sourceforge (some of them are utter nonsense… like accusing them of copyright infringement when they’re explicitly forking a GPL project). Is this some organized trolling campaign against the software?

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  • I have a source (root) file that contains many “input”
    commands. The “input” comamnds nicely show on the
    structure pane.

    However, when I click on one of the input commands on
    the structure pane, I get an error message that says,
    “Sorry, I couldn’t find the file.” But the file is there
    in the same folder (directory) or somewhere on the
    defined path (the root file complies just fine).

    Is this a bug? Or am I making a wrong assumption?

    I recall that Winedt has a similar tree structure
    and when you click on one of the items on the tree structure,
    the corresponding file is loaded into the editor.

    Is this feature not yet available in TeXstudio?

  • M A

    Yes, it is has very good features. But, it is VERY buggy!!.

  • Dinesh Dileep Gaurav

    I came across one bug yesterday. For instance, I include tikz pictures inside my latex code. Inside tikz environment, every statement should be terminated by a semicolon. Otherwise, it gives an error. I found that if one semicolon skipped, texstudio gets stuck while compiling. I have to manually close the software and restart again. But if I use texworks editor, this problem doesn’t happen. It shows the error

  • Chris

    Thanks Rob! I’m so relieved. I came accross your post while trying to fix yet another nuisance in winedt which I have also used for years, written my PhD on it, etc. When I read that you were also a winedt fan but switched to TeXstudio, I immediately downloaded and installed it. Looks really great! So I will try it out for a while now. – How ironic that I’m moving away from WinEdt just before it is getting a long awaited feature (folding) only to find that TeXstudio already has it… However, I still need to see how it works with biber and biblatex (shouldn’t be any problem though) and whether I will miss LuaLaTeX and XeLaTeX, which I’ve been experimenting with a bit recently (always returning to LaTeX though, to get the job done). As soon as I find the time, I will write about my new TeXstudio experience on http://software4scholars.wordpress.com! Thanks again for making my life a bit easier!

    • Hi Chris. I use both biber and bibtex with TeXstudio. You have to switch from one to the other in the configuration settings. It would be nicer if you could select one in the project settings. Both XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX are built into the latest version of TeXstudio.

      • Chris

        Yes, I also noticed that XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX are now supported. However, I’m a bit confused about how to configure TeXstudio to use biber. it’s not that I can’t find a way, I’m just wondering what is the intended way, i.e. comming from WinEdt I’m used to that “Build” or “Compile” triggers a latex biber latex latex sequence. With fast machines these days, it’s no longer a problem to just use that full sequence everytime (at least with smaller texts), so that’s what I do. But I had to find out that TeXstudio is not configured that way by default. “Build” just triggers latex, but not biber (or bibtex, for that matter). There is not even a toolbar button to trigger biber. I had to look for it in the menus and set it off manually. This makes no sense to me, so I’m wondering if I’m missing something? I now have changed the default compiler to trigger latex biber latex latex (or rather: txs:///compile | txs:///bibliography | txs:///compile | txs:///compile | txs:///view, to be precise). But then I noticed the “Repeat contained compilation commands” buttons which kinda seemed a nice idea but didnt really make sense to me, so I turned it off in the case of the default compiler since I want to call it once before biber and twice after biber, which is not possible if it’s set to repeat. So I’m kinda wondering if I’m just not getting the TeXstudio logic or why does it look like it does…

        • Build triggers a latex/bibliography/latex/latex sequence. See the build options in the configuration settings.

          To trigger just biber, use Tools/Bibliography, or F11.

          • Chris

            The point is that I do not want to trigger biber manually but to have it as part of the build process, whenever I trigger it. And Build does not trigger a latex/bibliography/latex/latex sequence by default. I just installed TeXstudio on my home machine and double checked the build options: By default, “Build and View” triggers txs:///compile | txs:///view and compile, according to the manual “calls txs:///pdflatex that calls the actual pdflate[x]”. No mention of bibliography and that was also my impression when I tried to compile my document. So from this I take it that TeXstudio just does have a strange default configuration and that “Built and view” to txs:///compile | txs:///bibliography | txs:///compile | txs:///compile | txs:///view is the right thing to do. At least until someone tells me a more sensical way.

        • Hi Christophe, totally agree with you, it’s a strange default configuration in TexStudio. I was scratching my head looking for the use of “Repeat contained compilation commands” too.
          Before, I set my build chain as: txs:///compile | txs:///bibliography | txs:///view with Repeat button turned on (by wild guess). It works perfectly fine for cold build (or for rebuilding with all auxiliary files cleaned before starting the process). However, I notice that to rebuild, sometimes if the references are modified (e.g. cut down several citation commands), the output will be the pdf file with reference not in order. After testing the Repeating function repeatedly, I can only say I couldn’t find any use of it! Turning it on gets the job done (not 100% in one go) but with extra/unnecessary pdflatex compliation step. The best chain to put is like what you already posted here:
          txs:///compile | txs:///bibtex | txs:///compile | txs:///compile | txs:///view (without any Repeating button turning on). It would make the build correct 100% correct in one call, and without any unnecessary steps.

          A quick search returned only a few results, such as here in their mailing list. Even when turning it on, we cannot define the building chain shorter.

          “It works this way: After each compiler call (latex/pdflatex/xelatex/lualatex) the Log is checked for warnings indicating missing aux or toc files and for a warnings containing “Rerun”. If one of these is found, the compilation is repeated up to Maximum Compile Repetitions.”

  • Suman

    Hi

    Does TeXstudio give accurate normal word count? I tried but it always give me the number including Latex tags. It does not give exact no. of word without tags. Is there any way to get it. Thanks!

  • suryanarayana

    Hello Sir,

    I am LaTeX in Linux platform user from past 3 years. I use texmaker as platform

    for making report, articles etc. But i am not able to use telugu font in latex.

    can you kindly give some resource where i can read to get idea for using latex

    to develop documents in TELUGU language.

    • Duvvuri Venu Gopal

      Hmm! A telugu package is written by Mukkavalli Laxmi – including fonts. If you have patience you can try it. It was written for old LaTeX – in the year 1990. You have to input your telugu in english and output will be in Telugu.

      But if you are really interested and try XeLaTeX and read the fontspec document for further details. For this you should have a unicode complaint editor, you should know how to type telugu also.

      With best wishes

      • suryanarayana

        Thank you sir, i have already tried using Mukkavalli Laxmi’s telugu package, i was able to run latex file but can’t able to generate PDF.
        This is due to difference in latex versions. I will read XeLaTeX and try
        to learn how i can use.

        Once again thanks for the response

        Regards
        Suryanarayana

  • Ian-Gillan

    What about spell-checking in Texstudio? WinEdt 7.0 does the great job while Texstudio seems to be useless in spell-cheking task that is its main disadvantage for me. Otherwise, it’s really nice thing to have on your machine either Unix or Windows.

    • Not sure what your problem is, but I’ve been using spell-checking on TeXstudio for a couple of years without any difficulties.

      • Ian-Gillan

        On Windows, spell-checking works very well, but on Mac it does not. Otherwise, the last release, on Windows works amazyingly: in built pdf viewer and latex code interacts with each other so well that it makes TeXstduio most desirable thing to have for letex coding.

  • Eupraxsopher

    I really like both TexStudio and WinShell and use WinShell a little more often, but enjoy both very much.

    I’m surprised that WinShell doesn’t get mentioned more often: It works really well and the builds tell you exactly what’s going on. Great editor.

  • Amit K. Awasthi

    I would like to share my last 14 years with latex editor as
    On windows: TexnicCenter is my fav since 2005.
    On Linux: No doubt TexStudio.

    I tried every (I think) editor.
    On commercial: Bakoma is good enough. Poor on editing window for latex.

  • Eddie the Eagle

    Can’t resist the urge to comment: That someone in a Windows environment wants to ditch WinEdt for TexStudio is bizarre to me. The key issue is project management. TexStudio’s “sessions” are inferior to WinEdt’s “projects” (which admitttedly also have flaws) as the current session is forgotten as soon as you have saved it. For half a year I have, without success, attempted to find a good alternative to WinEdt on Mac. I can live with programs such as TexStudio and Texmaker, but they never cease to give me pain. Perhaps it is also because they adopt too much of the retarded file-folder structure of Mac OS. I would be willing to pay several hundred dollars if I could get WinEdt on Mac.

  • cmorticum

    This post is ol’ school, but people are still commenting on it and it comes up on google searches, so here’s my 2 cents. If you’re cool with Qt4 and run linux, Kile is definitely the best editor I’ve used. If you want Qt5 (e.g. because you’re running KDE Plasma 5), then TeXStudio is the best editor I’ve used, at least if you use dynamic wrap. Any Qt5 editor using katepart (e.g. the Qt5 port of Kile or Kate itself) scrolls by “actual” line numbers (delineated by hard/enter breaks) and not by view lines (lines as they appear on your screen, dependent on window size when dynamically wrapped). This translates to scrolling BY PARAGRAPH if you hard break only for new paragraphs, as most of us do in modern times. So anyway, that is why I switched to TeXstudio: it’s the best Qt5 editor I’ve used.

  • Liyan

    It seems troublesome while trying TexStudio: difficult to set up dark theme, strange error while compiling a tex file that can be done with texmaker, cannot find reset when my setting is ugly…