LaTeX, which is pronounced «Lah-tech» or «Lay-tech», is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is most often used for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing.


When installing LaTex, two following options are given to users:

  1. Install MacTeX with builtin editor (TexLive) - (3.2GB)
  2. Install BasicTeX only (100MB) + your personal LaTeX editor

MacTeX vs BasicTeX

MacTeX includes additional programs such as an editor and a BibTeX reference manager that help users to work with TeX outside of the command line. BasicTeX does not include these GUI programs. The trade-off that comes with using BasicTeX is that you will have to download and install additional packages and programs as the need arises- and BasicTeX is so basic that the need will arise. So, after installing BasicTeX you will be faced with the tasks of installing additional programs and installing missing packages.


Download MacTex, or use brew install --cask mactex. You can read more about MacTex in What is installed (pdf).

Since MacTex installs a LaTex editor (TexMaker) already, installing another LaTeX editor is unnecessary.


Download BasicTeX, or use brew install --cask basictex. You can read more about BasicTex in BasicTeX (pdf).

You may use tlmgr to install tools/packages that you need.

Note: You may find CLI tool tlmgr cumbersome to use, in that case install GUI for tlmgr - TeX Live Utility - brew install --cask tex-live-utility.

Now you should pick a LaTeX editor, here are some to choose from:

  1. TexMaker
  2. TeXstudio
  3. TeXworks
  4. TeXShop
  5. LyX
  6. TeXlipse
  7. Sublime Text 3 - LaTeXTools
  8. Visual Studio Code - LaTeX-Workshop

Note: You may want to use a PDF reader that watches your PDF files, like Skim (can be installed by brew install --cask skim and Sync feature can be enabled in Preferences -> Sync).

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