[OS X TeX] Newbie is confused by Getting Started document

Gary L. Gray gray at engr.psu.edu
Sun Jan 21 20:26:50 EST 2007

On Jan 21, 2007, at 7:21 PM, Bob Harris wrote:

> I'm new to TeX on Mac OSX.  I have used tex and latex a good while ago
> (circa 1990), but not since, and now I am required to use latex for a
> class.
> I am confused by the getting started document at
>    http://www.cs.wright.edu/~jslater/mac-tex/mac-tex-intro/ 
> mactexintro.html
> Section 2, which is titled "TEXShop or iTEXMac-- Unified
> environments", seems to be telling me I should choose either TEXShop
> or iTEXMac, but then in the middle of that discussion it says I need
> to choose one of i-Installer (TEX Live) or teTEX installed from Fink,
> then it has another short paragraph about TEXShop and iTEXMac, then
> back to i-Installer.  Then on to a spellchecker.
> The overview lists i-Installer and teTEX as "actual TEX
> distributions".  Having now read section 2 three times, I am baffled
> as to whether I need one of those (i-Installer and teTEX) if I go with
> one of the unified environments.  I guess the lingering question I
> have is whether or not the unified environments come with an "actual
> TEX distribution".
> Section 3 then only deepens my confusion because it now lists
> i-Installer, teTEX, OzTEX, CMacTEX, and TEXShell, in a section whose
> title suggests it is talking about GUI-based text editors.  It goes on
> to list a couple of them again, along with Adobe reader, Acrobat, and
> MacDIVX.  Then it lists the spell checkers again.
> LIke I said, I'm completely lost about what I need.  So maybe someone
> can just tell me, based on the following:
> I already have a text editor that I like (TextWrangler).
> I have adobe reader to read PDF files.
> I use the bash shell on a daily basis, so issuing commands to convert
> my "latex source code" (for lack of knowing what else to call it) to a
> typeset document is no problem.
> I would prefer the absolute easiest installation.  I have had multiple
> bad experiences installing open source packages in the past.  I have
> used both darwinports and fink successfully but I have had packes in
> both that have failed to install (more failures with fink, I think).
> The biggest problem has always been failing to already have some
> dependent package, which inevitably turns into a cascade of similar
> problems.  I would like to avoid that.
> I have no clue as to why a spell checker would be required.  Is it
> somehow going to be used to check the latex syntax?  Or are you just
> including it because it's functionality that someone who had been
> typsetting in usoft Word would be used to having?
> So it seems to me like all I need is something that converts latex to
> pdf and is easy to install.

I strongly recommend that you go to:


and download and install:

MacTeX_Additions.dmg (85.5 MB)


TeXLive-2007.dmg (full TeXLive distribution from TUG, unmodified,  
615.2 MB)

The former will install a number of nice TeX apps in:


including TeXShop, which is a nice editor and previewer for (La)TeX  
documents, BibDesk, which is a nice bibliography manager, and more.

The latter will install everything that 99% of users need to typeset  
almost anything TeX-related.

You can use TextWrangler or BBEdit with LaTeX, but the integration  
between editor and previewer isn't as nice as it is with TeXShop  
(pretty good integration can be achieved with those editors, but it  
takes some work).

I hope this helps to get you started.


------------------------- Helpful Info -------------------------
Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/
List Reminders & Etiquette: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/list/

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list