Open Minded Brain Open source, open mind, open future


Gedit LaTeX Plugin with live preview in split window

I am going to show you a little tool that helps a lot in discovering commands available in LaTeX and helps creating the final PDF document using Gnome's simple gEdit text editor. It's called Gedit LaTeX Plugin (, download and sources available from the website, but may already come packaged in many Linux Distributions, such as repositories of Debian, Ubuntu, etc. The plugin provides menu entries for generating the PDF file and opens a preview (by default uses evince) it in a new window.

So if you find this little tool useful, could be that the next thing you will think is how unproductive is to use the ALT-TAB every time you want to preview the document and again to switch to the editor again.

One day I just had enough and decided to create a patch for the plugin that would display the PDF file preview inside the editor window in a split view. If you find the idea useful, I created a package with the latest version from the Gedit LaTeX Plugin repository and applied the Split View Patch.

UPDATE: By the time of this writing the patch was not available on the main gedit-latex-plugin, now it was accepted and I recommend using the version 0.2rc2 of gedit-latex-plugin or if not available yet, use a version directly from the svn source repository (revision 339 or above).
Instead if you want to try it without any more fuss, just download the attached archive and extract under ~/.gnome2/gedit/plugins/
If you are using Ubuntu, make sure you install the gedit-latex-plugin from synaptic first to get all dependencies.
Oh and a my patch has a new dependency beside the ones above ("python-poppler") that can also be found on Ubuntu Jaunty in synaptic or Debian (

After that in a .tex document From Latex menu use the last menu entry to enable the split view. Every time the PDF file is generated, the PDF preview is updated. (I usually use the CTRL-ALT-7 shortcut for compiling to PDF)


Comments (20) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I’m a novice when it comes to LaTeX, but this looks like the tool for me, thanks.
    I couldn’t find gnome-latex-plugin in the Ubuntu package repositories – I assume you meant gedit-latex-plugin ?

    Looking forward to seeing this plugin make it into the repos.

  2. Yes is what I meant, just fixed, thank you.

  3. Mac users can also do something similar (althouth not as great as what you did). Check this post out:

    Thank you

  4. I am afraid I no longer can use plugin preferences button to edit the latex plugin commands after installing the rc2 version. What to do?

  5. Your patch looks really impressive and I’m seriously considering moving away from my usual setup :
    emacs + auctex + whizzytex to gedit-latex-plugin + live-preview. There is one thing stopping me right now : I’m using a lot of pstricks packages and I would need a postscript preview instead of a pdf one. How complicated would it be to adapt your code to provide it ?

    Thanks a lot for your work.

  6. Hello,

    your patch works wonderfully. I have one question though: is there a way to zoom in on the pdf panel, so that I can more accurately see is on the document?

  7. When can we expect Your preview add-on to work in Karmic Koala …?
    Thank You for Your work …

  8. Currently there is no way to do this, but it could appear in future releases, as I saw once that is possible to do zoom on pdf files using python…

  9. Hi mihai007,

    I modified your patch to add this functionality to GeditLaTeXPlugin, see… for the patch and its description.
    The patch is against revision 340 in svn, but should work on 0.2rc2 as the files I patched were not modified between 0.2rc2 and rev340 (I think). It should thus work directly on your archive above.

    Thank you for your great contribution, I use it every day now.

    If you try it, please let me know if this one works for you.

  10. I’m trying this now in Karmic Koala and it doesn’t seem to work. I have absolutely no experience in latex but the whole plugin seems to be having some issues. Is the plugin with the live preview available in the 9.04 reps for testing?

  11. On ubuntu Jarmic 9.10 for the gedit latex plugin to work you just need to install gedit-latex-plugin from synaptic and then enable the plugin in gEdit. The plugin contains the live preview presented in this article.

  12. is this confirmed?
    Is this zoom patch integrated into the latest builds? Because the current version I have (which is the latest in karmic) doesn’t have this feature. I would really appreciate it. It is really difficult to use it as is for beamer slides.

  13. I don’t think the Ubuntu Karmic contains this zoom patch as it’s version 0.2 rc2. The zoom patch will be released in version 0.2 rc3 or as always already available in SVN.

  14. Ummm, this plugin is great, but unless something is wrong with my plugin/gedit, etc., a “live preview” it definitely is NOT. Live preview is as in gummi (go to and download it, and then start editing); that is, continuously compiling the latex code. What you have made is just a preview pane inside the window.

    Is something wrong with my plugin? Is this supposed to do continuous compilation (i.e., you needn’t hit ALT + 1, etc., to compile … this happens automatically whenever a change is made)? If so, please email and advise. If not, check out gummi above and see the fantastic functionality… maybe something worth incorporating into your plugin!

  15. Humm, the plugin was supposed to update when you save the document to avoid compilation on every key press. But right now the plugin is integrated into a larger one, (Gedit LaTeX Plugin) and I no longer develop independent version of it. You can try the 0.2 final version that came out in April ( and see if it suits your needs. If not fell free to submit a bug/feature request there at sourceforge. Gummi seems interesting also, didn’t knew about it…

  16. Thanks a lot for this addition to the Gedit LaTex plugin! It makes writing in LaTex a lot easier and quicker!

    A lot of the hard-core LaTex aficionados are always talking about how easy it is to write stuff in LaTex, and then “just compile and watch the PDF”. But writing in LaTex is not intuitive, and you need the visual feedback — I don’t want to see $\int_{-\infty}^{+\infty}$, I want to see the integral sign! — and your addition makes this a lot easier!

    Thanks a lot again!

  17. True I also appreciate it. I am running ubuntu in virtualbox, and gedit is not able to save any change in any file in the mounted windows files. Seems to be a known bug. And so upset I am, cant get gedit running on my VBOX Ubuntu.

  18. Sorry to move in again. I dont see a live preview. I see the pdf file in a split window. Is this pdf updated as I type in tex file (live-preview)? How do I enable it?

  19. Hi,
    How do I install this option for gedit 3.8.3 in ubuntu 13.10?

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.