Latexian Bibliography

As I mentioned in this previous post I wanted to get some things documented for future and third-party reference. Since the thesis I was preparing dealt with Financial Mathematics, the choice was more clear as to which platform to choose. LaTeX provided the most reasonable choice. Sure there was a steep learning curve ahead, and if something was acting funny it might take a long time just to find how to correct that paragraph spacing, but once you start typing and get in the flow there is no match to how fast you can churn out mathematical formulas. Plus I find that LaTeX does true typesetting and produces a much more aesthetically pleasing result.
All the information below are for OSX (10.7.4)

  1. LaTeX
    • For the OSX the distribution I chose was MacTex. It’s a big installation (~2.1GB) but it includes all of TexLive’s binaries and will most likely have all the packeges you’ll need. The installation is pretty straightforward via a packaged (.pkg) binary.
  2. Latexian/ViM
      • However having the binaries of LaTeX installed is one thing, but quite another putting it all together. There are different stages in typesetting a Tex document. Most of the times it includes multiple passes so that all references and bibliography are correct. For this reason, and to cut down on some of the overhead of this complexity I opted for a license of the Latexian. It was $10 very well spent. This editor is quite remarkable for its price. I had my thesis separated in chapters, more on that later, and this editor allowed me to have proper document typesetting for each individual chapter. I simply had to define the master preview document from the ‘Get info’ menu. The other really big help is the ability to define ‘Clips’ of ready made text. for instance the code for inserting an equation to the text could be pre-defined and called via a shortcut. In order to use this figure you’ll need to have the clip defined, lets say the keyword for the clip is ‘figure’ and the code would be:
    \begin{equation}\label{eqn:<##>} \begin{aligned} <##>, \end{aligned}.
    • The hash signs are placeholders that Latexian can use to help you navigate faster. Once the clip is defined you start by typing the keyword ‘equation’. By then hitting the <CMD>+\ key combination it pops up all matching options for it. After you select which one you want, e.g. you could have ‘equation’ and ‘equation_multi_line’, you can use the <CMD>+’ key combination to jump between consecutive placeholders. Pro tip: if you add a placeholder at the end of the clip you’d be able to continue typing the subsequent text after the equation. I’ll try to “export” the clips I’d used in the hope you’d be able to copy/paste them if you need them. Unfortunately there is no Export option native in Latexian that I know of.
    • The alternative free choice would be TexShop. I’ve used this for compiling XeTex for my CV with really good results, but I find it’s a bit more temperamental than Latexian and with fewer features. Trust me $10 is well spent for the increased performance you can get with Latexian.
    • After a while it became apparent that I was spending most of my time in ViM writing the Matlab code, I was getting much faster and more efficient typing in ViM than in the Latexian editor. Finally I ended up writing Tex Code in ViM and then just typesetting in Latexian to check the result. Latexian also has a nice function whereby you can select a piece of text and by right clicking it you can jump to the Tex code it corresponds, making correction very easy. However the search functionality in ViM can easily accomplish this, though in Latexian this works across all chapters not just the current buffer. What you’re seeing in the figure below is iTerm2 running Tmux and multiple pannels. The ViM plugin snipMate allowed me to do the same thing that Latexian’s clips did; placeholders and all. This plugin really skyrocketed my typing speed in LaTeX. I’ll follow up with a separate post how to do this kind of setup since it’s not absolutely pertinent to the thesis.
    • In the figure above there is a ViM editor to the left, a grep of all the snippets available as a reminder, and in the middle a word counter for the tex files, a TODO list, and a small scriptto copy cells from Excel and ‘automagically’ paste LaTeX code.
  3. Mendeley
    • I was looking for a tool to handle the bibliography of this project. I was very lucky to have found Mendeley. This tool did everything I wanted and had a great integration with BibTex (The most common bibliography format used in LaTeX). IT was exceptionally good at parsing well known reference sites and import bibliography data into my library, import PDFs and look up the bibliography data before importing them, and also had the feature of keeping everything into an online library with 1GB size which meant that you could work on multiple machines and still access the same library in a distributed manner. Once you did a search in Mendeley (different tags to search in Titles, Authors, or Text) you could copy a reference ready for LaTeX using the <CMD>+K key combination, and then simply paste it in Latexian and that was you done with including a reference in your thesis.
    • In order to fully automate this I also had Mendeley create my BibTex file that I used in the Tex document. I did that by setting the path of the library file (In Preferences\BibTex-> Enable BibTex syncing) and pointing it to the same folder where my dissertation tex file was. This way any time I added a paper or bibliography entry in Mendeley it was immediately available in Latexian to be typesetted.
    • You can find the entire bibliography I used in this file. This is mainly focused on Financial Mathematics, Stochastic Volatility, Quasi/Pseudo Random Numbers, Monte Carlo simulations, etc. There is also this Mendelay Group that I’ve set up to have a look at the bibliography and contribute to it if you so desire. There are 170 references thus far.
  4. Command Line
    • I used the command line quite extensively, from Matlab development and execution to ViM and editing Matlab and LaTeX code. The following is a list of things I had installed in order to work more efficiently.
    • Homebrew
      • This is the package manager from heaven. It does exactly what is says on the box and it has really made installing programs I was used to in Linux to the OSX platform. You can install it very easily by:
      • ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"


      • From then on “> brew install …” is your ticket to most of the *nix tools.
    • iTerm2
      • It is much more flexible than the normal terminal, offers tabs, and better color scheme integration. I use the solarized theme for iTerm and ViM and this app really helped with that.
    • Tmux
      • This terminal multiplexer allows to have multiple terminals at different layouts and really speeds things up quite a lot. It is effectively the canvas on which you can build an IDE for development. My set up for Matlab came very close to being a full Matlab IDE.
        • Install via : $brew install tmux


      • Jump
        • This was a very useful bookmarking tool for the command line. It allows to jump from directoty to directory with ease and poise! Install via: sudo gem install jump
      • More PRO tips here:
      • Work productivity
        • This installation was a life saver!
        • sudo gem install work
        • Everytime I tried to go to a procrastination site I got this image:
        • You would not believe how extremely motivational it was not to be able to procrastinate on Hacker News!
      • Additional tools
        • $brew install htop reattach-to-user-namespace 7z ack wget httrack git legit
        • $brew install aspell --lang=en_GB
  5. Trello
    • This was a last addition to the stack, but a very useful one. I found that the card representation was very intuitive for milestones in the project. While I had small todos in the command line tool, I had the larger milestones with due dates in Trello.

Well I think that’s all of it! I’m sure I’m forgetting things, and I’ve glossed over some of the details of others. If you want more implementation details as to how something in specific was set-up don’t be shy and leave a comment. I’ll try to get to it as soon as I can.I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.I’m off for my holidays tomorrow, so I might be unreachable for a while.

See you all in October.


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A Front End is defined as a rather complete interface for working with TeX. It has an integrated editor and viewer. Many front ends can also be used as an editor, with a separate viewer, or a viewer, with a separate editor.

Add-ons for front ends should also be listed here:

  • directly following the appropriate front end
  • in the add-ons section if they work with more than one front end.

New to TeX is SyncTeX, the pdfsync replacement. Please refer to the SyncTeX page for more information.


by Jerome Laurens

Open source (GPL)

A native OS X front end. It was written after the author of TeXShop and the author of iTeXMac disagreed on the direction/features of TeXShop (the original OS X Cocoa editor). Interestingly enough, Jerome made the icon for TeXShop. Like the other front ends on this page, it requires a distribution of TeX such as MacTeX.

Editor's note: iTeXMac is like TeXShop on steroids. This is good or bad depending on your perspective. As a gross oversimplification, TeXShop can do anything you need it to do, while iTeXMac can do most anything you want it to do. This comes at the expense of complexity, and some bugs. It's hard to argue with Jerome who says "Why not have both?".

iTeXMac is included in MacTeXtras.


by Taco Software


From author description:

Latexian is a revolutionary, new LaTeX editor for the Mac. Latexian provides advanced tools for creating and typesetting LaTeX documents. Using Latexian's Live Preview, you can see how your document typesets while you are editing it — the PDF preview updates automatically! Latexian has many other advanced features, including syntax-aware spell checking, tabbed documents, code completion, and much more. Latexian supports the LaTeX and XeTeX typesetters, and includes support for working with BibTeX documents.


Open source (GPL)

LyX is a WYSIWYM (WhatYouSeeIsWhatYouMean) DocumentProcessor. It is a front end for LaTeX. What sets LyX apart from other front ends and editors for TeX is that you do not need to actually learn (La)TeX in order to use it. The idea is that you write your document much as you might in a word processor and LyX takes care of the coding behind the scenes. Your document therefore looks much more like the final product as you edit it and you do not need to worry about which command LaTeX uses to start a section, for example. Rather, you start a section much as you might in a word processor and LyX will ensure that the correct command is inserted in the source file. Meanwhile, you continue editing LyX's representation of your document rather than tangling with the raw commands themselves.

To get the most out of TeX or to achieve customised styles and specific effects, you need to learn something about (La)TeX commands. This is true whether you choose LyX or another front end or editor. If, however, you wish to produce relatively standard types of document and are happy to accept reasonable defaults or to restrict your customisations to those accessible via LyX's interface, you may find that LyX offers you the best of both worlds: the ease of use of a word processor with the quality of output offered by TeX.

(Mac)LyX is included in MacTeXtras.


by Pascal Brachet

Open source (GPL)

A sophisticated multi-platform unicode editor for LaTeX. Features include BibTeX support, document and code templates, and an integrated utility to convert LaTeX to html. It runs on Unix, Mac OS X and Windows systems and may be a good choice if you are looking for a Kile-like LaTeX editor.


  • An unicode editor to write your LaTeX source files (syntax highlighting, code completion, undo-redo, search-replace, spell checker...)
  • The principal LaTex tags can be inserted directly with the "LaTeX" and "Math" menus
  • 370 mathematical symbols can be inserted in just one click
  • Wizards to generate code ('Quick document', 'Quick letter', tabular, tabbing and array environments)
  • LaTeX-related programs can be launched via the "Tools" menu
  • The standard Bibtex entry types can be inserted in the ".bib" file with the "Bibliography" menu
  • A "structure view" of the document for easier navigation of a document (by clicking on an item in the "Structure" frame, you can jump directly to the corresponding part of your document
  • Extensive LaTeX documentation
  • In the "Messages / Log File" frame, you can see information about processes and the logfile after a LaTeX compilation
  • The "Next Latex Error" and "Previous Latex Error" commands let you reach the LaTeX errors detected in the log file
  • By clicking on the number of a line in the log file, the cursor jumps to the corresponding line in the editor
  • An integrated LaTeX to html conversion tool

Texmaker is included in MacTeXtras.


by Valletta Ventures

Commercial with a demo available here

From author description:

Texpad is a LaTeX editor designed for straightforward navigation of projects of any size. When Texpad opens a document it scans through it, looking for LaTeX structure commands and any included files, then it presents you with an outline view with which you can swiftly navigate the entire project. Texpad replaces LaTeX’s obscure console output with a table of typesetting errors. Clicking on these errors will direct you to the offending line in the LaTeX source. Texpad’s elegant single window design saves you from the clutter of windows. In even the largest projects all files are accessible from the outline view to the left of the editor. This one-window design works especially well with Lion’s fullscreen mode.



The author describes this as providing "a graphical user interface to teTeX".

Note: since teTeX is now obsolete, it appears that this front end has not been updated in some time. This is not necessarily a mark against it if it works for you and can be configured to use a different distribution but new users should be aware that the use of teTeX is now deprecated. --CFR 14:22, 22 December 2010 (UTC)


by Richard Koch

Open source (GPL)

TeXShop is a TeX previewer/editor for Mac OS X (the first native front end), written in Cocoa. Since PDF is a native file format on OS X, TeXShop uses pdftex and pdflatex to produce pdf in its default configuration. Commands to produce dvi using tex and latex are, however, readily available, as are options to use a variety of alternative engines.

TeXShop supports customisable templates, macros, command completion, keyboard shortcuts, extensive help options and more. It can be configured for use with an external editor or viewer if preferred. It also offers easy ways to create or modify engines (little scripts that are run from within TeXShop). This allows you to implement support for e.g. bibtopic, bibtex8 etc.

TeXShop is included in both MacTeX and MacTeXtras.

Herb Schulz' "TeXShop Tips & Tricks" is included in TeXShop and can be accessed from the Help menu.

See also SyncTeX

See also TeXShop Synchronization

See also Flashmode


by Allan Oodgaard.


TextMate is an extensible editor featuring syntax highlighting and includes a LaTeX bundle that works out of the box but is highly configurable for large or small projects. It has a native PDF viewer, but you can also use Skim which provides support for SyncTeX


by Nic Doebelin

Open source (GPL)

LaTeX document creation wizard with support for KOMA-Script.


Open source (GPL)

Platform independent TeX Front End inspired by TeXShop.

TeXworks is included in MacTeX.

Version 0.5 r.756

See also Flashmode

Categories: Enhancing the TeX Experience | Front Ends | Getting Started

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