[texhax] dvi vs pdf

Lars Madsen daleif at imf.au.dk
Thu Dec 2 20:43:42 CET 2010

Michael Barr wrote:
> Here is my reaction to the various replies I have received.  First, as 
> long as TeX is TeX it will be required to produce dvi files.  As for 
> pdf, I have no doubt that when it is no longer supported, there will be 
> converters.  But the journal I help edit has several hundred papers in 
> pdf format (most also in dvi and ps).  Who will convert them.  It would 
> be a huge job and we run on zero budget.  To see what can happen, what 
> would you do with a Word file from, say, 1990?  Each version of Word can 
> handle files from the previous version or two, but no further.  So 
> unless that file was continually updated from version to version, it is 
> effectively dead.  I don't expect this to happen with pdf, but it 
> illustrates the problems.
> I have one further problem with pdf.  I am accustomed to compiling a 
> file, previewing it, making changes and then iterate.  I cannot do that 
> with the Adobe reader.  I cannot write a new pdf file while the old one 
> is loaded. So exit the file from the reader, then compile the new 
> version, load the new file, and then find your place again.  I find this 
> intolerable. Someone once suggested a different pdf reader and I tried 
> it and found it unsatisfactory in other ways (I no longer recall why).  
> I'll stick to dvi, thank you.
> Michael

we recommend using SumatraPDF on Windows to get around the locking and 
non-reload in AR.

Also the new editors and recent pdfLaTeX has synctex features such that 
one can bind pdf and editor together in the same manner as one can with 
dvi and certain editor.

The TeXWorks editor comes with its own PDF viewer and synctex enabled 
which our Windows users love very much (SumatraPDF can also be 
configured to use synctex, there are webpages describing how to 
integrate this into say TeXnicCenter).

On linux I still use Emacs, source specials and xdvi, mainly because 
synctex support in PDF viewers on Linux are still rare. But the newer 
versions of evince should be able to do this.

You should give texworks a try, it does not have many bells and whistles 
but the forward and backwards search (i.e. jumping from pdf to source 
and source to pdf) is a killer feature.



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