Ubuntu – What’s the easiest way to get started with LaTeX


I'd like to learn and use LaTeX on Ubuntu. What packages do I need? What is the best editor for LaTeX code on Ubuntu for a new LaTeX user? I'd also like the ability to see the code in one pane and the results in a second pane, if possible — not necessarily WYSIWYG, though.

Best Answer

Just install the texlive package, this will pull in all the essentials. Additionally you can install documentation in your language, eg. texlive-doc-en. If you're writing in a language different from English, you should also add the respective language package, e.g. texlive-lang-french. There are also nice topic oriented packages like texlive-science or texlive-humanities -- but if you want to learn the basics of LaTeX you certainly don't need them.

If you just need basic editing support like syntax highlighting, any text editor will do, including the standard GNOME text editor gedit. More advanced options include:

  • texworks Install texworks: A LaTeX editor with a quite clean and simple interface, featuring an integrated PDF viewer and synchronisation between the editor and the viewer (i.e. you can jump to the same position in both)
  • kile Install kile: a powerful editor for KDE (can be installed under GNOME and works fine apart from changing some configuration details to use the GNOME pdf viewer for example)
  • texmaker Install texmaker: Similar in scope to KILE, but more "GNOME-like" (e.g. less buttons in the toolbar ;-) ), a bit fewer features than KILE probably
  • latexila Install latexila: Like KILE, but targeted to GNOME.
  • lyx Install lyx: not really a LaTeX editor but more a word processor that uses LaTeX internally -- opinions differ whether this is the best way to learn "real" LaTeX.

Most of these editors don't really have a preview pane but this is not really necessary: Just keep evince open with the document you are working on, evince will automatically refresh its content as soon as you "compile" your latex document