Using LaTeX under Mac OS X

The course I'm doing at University involves quite a lot of work writing documents, usually at least 2 a week, which I prefer to do using LaTeX. The problem being that although LaTeX produces nice documents, it's a bit of a pain to write in as most of the stuff has to be done by hand via a text editor. Not anymore!

I used to do all my LaTeX writing under Windows XP, using a program called WinEdt with the MiKTeX version of LaTeX.

Since changing to Mac OS for writing LaTeX I've been looking around for some good tools for managing and writing anything I have to and here's what I've found:


Good, free tool for editing and typesetting LaTeX documents. Comes complete with BibTeX integration as well as a lot of useful templates and shortcuts (a very nice feature is an automatically updating .pdf viewer), the inclusion of syntax highlighting and auto completion is very useful. I've been using this for the past few months and have found no flaws in it.

Here's some speel of the site:

TeXShop is a TeX previewer for Mac OS X, written in Cocoa. Since pdf is a native file format on OS X, TeXShop uses "pdftex" and "pdflatex" rather than "tex" and "latex" to typeset; these programs in the standard teTeX distribution of TeX produce pdf output instead of dvi output.

TeXShop uses TeXLive and teTeX, standard distributions of Tex programs for Unix machines. The distributions include tex, latex, dvips, tex fonts, cyrillic fonts, and virtually all other programs and supporting files commonly used in the TeX world. These distributions are maintained for the Mac by Gerben Wierda, and available below.

The latest TeXShop release requires System 10.4 (Tiger). Users with systems 10.2 or 10.3 should use TeXShop 1.40, also available on this site. Users with systems 10.0 and 10.1 should use TeXShop 1.19, available here.

TeXShop is distributed under the GPL public license, and thus free.

Synopsis from the TeXShop site

Here's the links to:

I'd recommend trying it out if you're likely to be writing any serious documentation.


Another really useful tool which I've found for academic use. It's basically a BibTeX organiser with a lot of addons.

As well as allowing you to add, edit and organise BibTeX entries it allows you to:

This is the kind of tool I've been looking for ages for, not only does it hold the details of the articles for referencing in reviews/papers, it holds and organises the articles themselves. This tool has made using BibTeX with LaTeX a hell of a lot easier for me, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is ever going to keep a record of the papers that he/she has read.

The definition of BibDesk on this site is given as:

BibDesk is a graphical BibTeX-bibliography manager for Mac OS X. BibDesk is designed to help organize and use bibliographic databases in BibTeX .bib format. In addition to manual typing, BibDesk lets you drag & drop or cut & paste .bib files into the bibliographic database and automatically opens files downloaded from PubMed. BibDesk also keeps track of electronic copies of literature on your computer and allows for searching your database through several keys.

BibDesk integrates well with TeX for creating citations and bibliographies. This integration includes a Citation search completion service, and drag & drop (cut & paste) support for adding citations to TeX files.

Synopsis from the BibDesk site

Here's the links to:

So not only can you generate nice looking, transferrable documents; but you can do so on a good OS with some great tools, making the LaTeX experience (not the rubbery kind!) much more stress free and enjoyable for all!
- Chris