Texmaker is a text editor specifically intended to create LaTeX documents, a composition system that creates printed documents looking exactly the same independently of the machine used. Consequently, the program inherits all the advantages of this powerful system commonly used for scientific writing and professional publishing.
Probably due to the complexities inherent to LaTeX, the program’s interface does not look very similar to those of other text editors used mainly at the office. Thus, instead of a single document WYSIWYG preview, you can have various side-by-side panels that show its source, structure, messages and a PDF preview simultaneously. Moreover, despite the excellent accompanying documentation, I would not recommend this editor to the common user.
The best way to start a document is by using the “Quick Start” wizard, which allows you to configure the specificities of the document. This way, you can pick one of the available document classes that include article, report, letter, book, and beamer. Next, you can set page format, standard font, paper size, and encoding type. It is also possible to choose one of the available languages or even decide to use the Babel package, which supports using various languages in a single document. Another possible way is to use a sort of templates that let you start very specific types of document, such as letters and beamer presentations.
As said above, Texmaker benefits from the power of LaTeX itself. In this respect, there are various features that are worth mentioning here. For instance, it lets you manage bibliographical data and quotes, including the possibility of inserting cross-references. Similarly, and this is probably its main advantage compared to other commonly used editors, Texmaker lets you edit and insert complex mathematical formulae. Besides, it supports using tables and pictures to illustrate your document. Needless to say, it also comes with a built-in spell checker.
Even with the difficulties you may find to use this editor if you are not accustomed to working with LaTeX, there are some features that you will probably find quite convenient, as when you are editing a very long document. In such a case, it is possible to split the bulky document into several smaller files and also fold or unfold parts for a more fluid edition.
All in all, it is good to know that there is a LaTeX editor as Texmaker available for free. Although beginners will probably find it hard to use at the beginning, I am sure that in time they will agree the results are worth the effort. Fortunately, the product works on all the most popular operating systems.
- Supports LaTex
- Side-by-side view of code and PDF
- Compiles to various formats
- Supports various document classes
- Various revision tools
- Supports scientific writing (bibliography and quotes)
- Not very easy to use