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Will TeX ever be wysiwyg or the pdf synchronization story

Jérôme Laurens


Why editing Plain, LaTeX or ConTeXt documents can be such a pain? Of course, we can use dedicated text editors and environments that are very handy, but we are far from the efficient graphical user interface of a modern word processor. In this article, we will point out some of the reasons why TeX has no wysiwyg (What You See Is What You Get) user interface and we will discuss the possible remedies. One of them is the pdf synchronization implemented in the pdfsync package. This technology will be explained, we will see its benefits and its limitations. Finally, we consider routes towards a better user experience. Here, we are mainly concerned with LaTeX and PDF (for Portable Document Format) is a technology invented by AdobeĀ® in 1990 to create and share documents.

After a PhD in applied mathematics, the author teaches mathematics in the French university of Burgundy. He uses TeX both for personal and mathematical purposes, while pestering against its primitive user interface. So, he contributes to improve the TeX user experience on Mac OS X, spending too much time according to his wife and two young children. You can reach Laurens at

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