3. Creating and Editing LaTeX Files
LaTeX files are simple, plain text files that have the “.tex” file extension. They contain your document text along with with LaTeX formatting commands, very much like HTML. The final, typeset PDF document is created when you compile the file with the LaTeX program (when you “LaTeX it”).
For more information about what LaTeX is and what it can do, go to the LaTeX Website at:
All you need to begin creating and editing LaTeX files is a simple text editor such as TextEdit (included in OS X). However, it is much easier to use a dedicated application such as TeXShop since it highlights the LaTeX code, contains palettes of mathematical symbols and menus for inserting common LaTeX formatting commands. This means a significant number of LaTeX commands are accessible through point-and-click menus and the mouse so they don’t have to be memorised. It is possible to create a complete LaTeX file without ever manually typing a LaTeX command.
Additionally, TeXShop also contains buttons that will compile your LaTeX document and the results will appear in a separate preview window. If there are warnings or other error messages, the preview can locate the source of the error in the original LaTeX source document. If the document doesn’t compile because of a serious error, a separate console window will let you diagnose and solve the problem.
TeXShop is simple, uncluttered and streamlined and contains common LaTeX commands and symbol palettes so you can concentrate on writing instead of coding. More information, help and a support forum can be found on the TeXShop site:
Note: When editing multiple LaTeX files, TeXShop sometimes opens a new LateX file in a new window directly over the previous one (as opposed to cascading it). Use Exposé or CMD+Tab to quickly jump back to the previous window.