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Helper Applications for (La)TeX System

Here, present some of several helper tools for LaTeX.

Table of Contents

Minimum Requirements

Recomended that are using Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista or equivalent.
Several applications inclusing MikTeX, does not run on the Win9x/NT/ME that the Microsoft does not support now, and it lack apropriate update of the system. In way to help little amount of preson that are installing TeX and accessories on the win9x/NT/ME, the applications that does not run on older Windows has reamrk.

Graphics Editor and Viewer

Install the your prefered graphics editor and viewer.

InkScape (recomended)

site of textext:
inkscape is vector based graphics editor suitable to create illustrations, as Corel Draw (comercial) or Adobe Illustrator (comercial). It is light weight and easy to use. The recent version permit to insert LaTeX formula inside picture using additional plugin. The caution need to create eps/pdf is the fact that the postscript does not allow transparence and several realted effect loss during saving as eps/pdf. The manual is on help system and not necessary to search on the internet.
When save as PDF, the paper size does not mach with "bounding box" defined when export eps to cut picture in correct size. Save as eps and convert to pdf using epstopdf command or adjust the paper size to picture before save as PDF. In way to adjust paper size to picture, select all (<ctrl>A) and on "file->document propries", in "custom size", click on [fit page to selection].
In way to insert LaTeX formula in the picture, istall the textext distributed from
To install offline (without network connection), the "
necessary library files from pyGTK" that site mension, need to stay on same folder as textext installer. If have network connection, installer download and install it automatically. The textext works only if ghostscript and pstoedit are installed, and MikTeX is working (or other TeX with pdflatex). The LaTeX formula is inserted or edited by "effects->tex text". Does not confuse with "effects->render->latex formula" that can not change (insert only).
The formula inserted directly inside picture does not act same as psfrag one. The directly inserted formula will became size different of the text when resize picture, but of psfrag keep consistent because formula are inserted during LaTeX compile time. To use psfrag, do not forget to uncheck the option "convert texts to path" when save as eps.

Remark 1: The recent version of inkscape does not run on Win9x/ME. The user of older version of windows are encoraged to use dia instead of inkscape.


is the diagram editor as Microsoft Visio (comercial). The diagram use several piece and special path and if use editor apropriate for this, will make it in fast way. In the case of illustrations, use the inkscape.


Classical diagram editor for linux that will insert LaTeX formula inside diagram that is processed by psfrag on LaTeX (tin this case, need to convert dvi to ps, in way to finalize process). Note that it is different that textext on inkscape that process formula using LaTeX and insert the result as part of picture.


The image editor as Adobe Photoshop (comercial) or Corel Photo Paint (comercial). The "GIMP Help" is like manual, but distributed separated due to theri size.

Irfan View e XnView

Irfan View:
Irfan View and XnView are free (not is the open source) image viewer/converter for windows that permit some image adjustment. Irfan View became most popular. Note that the pdflatex support jpeg and png when compile to PDF.

Graphics Editor Specialized for LaTeX

The graphics editor specializad for LaTeX will save picture as LaTeX with some graphics package, instead of eps/pdf. It keep perfect coerence between picture and text body. Note that the correct use of eps/pdf produced by apropriate editor give same quality of the LaTeX graphical packages. One of major advantage to use editor that save al LaTeX is the possibility of manual adjustments of pictures.
But need caution to select this kind of picture editor because several ones are produced to insert formula inside picture and not to help LaTeX users. In this case, the coerence of thickness is not of interest. For example, the jpicedt saved as picture emvironment using emulated element, independent of format choice, producing low quality and lack the manual adjustments.

LaTeX Draw

This editor is specialized in pstricks. The editor has support to read pictures in pstrick format edited manually or generated by other applications. Will edit using nice graphics interface and keep coerence between picture and text body. Note that the pstrick package are developed to generate dvi/ps and when want to compile directly to PDF using pdflatex, need to use addtional package pstool (not pstools). The classical way to generate PDF in this case is the use of LaTeX=>dvips=>ps2pdf.


FlowFramTk, formerly known as jpgf Draw export the picture using pgf (package used by beamer), but save in their own format and seems that does not have import features. The pgf package has advantage that will compiled both on latex and pdflatex (due to this features, beamer normally compiled by pdflatex will compiled by LaTeX if not use PDF specific effect).
The FlowFramTk present additional features for flowfram package used for panel, journal, folder, etc. The flowfram package is one of most simpler to perform this kind of work, but the creation of apropriate layout is not so. The FlowFramTk permit to draw and generate flowfram layout in easily way.

TeXCAD (Windows only)

The classical graphics editor specialized in LaTeX. It is open source, but is specific for Windows. Thus, the picture became difficult to edited in other platform. it is not good idea, because one of most important feature of LaTeX is cross platform. I not tested their graphics quality.

Scientific Graphics

To produce scientific graphics, use apropriate applications.


Asymptote is 2D/3D graphics language/interpreter inspired in MetaPost, but with C++ like syntax and produce Post script, pdf, or svg graphics.



The geogebra is popular applications for dynamic geometry, with several additional features. Will export to WEB and as eps/pdf.pstrick too. The text on exported eps are drawn as curve and will not use psfrag. If desire to change text/fórmula, export as pstrick (LaTeX package) or pgf/TikZ (LaTeX package).


This is the popular data plotting tools, with support to plot using mathematical expression too. Will save the resulting graphics in several format, inclusing vector ones. The gnuplot is an interpreter and need some knowledge of some basic command to generate hight quality graphics.


Maxima is popular CAS (Computer Algebra System) as Maple 9comercial) and Mathematica (comercial). it implements MacSyma language, but becames with friendly GUi called WxMaxima that permit to perform several task without knowledge of language, inclusing graphics plot. it is usefull to generate 2D and 3D graphic of functions, but does not have support to plot implecit curve and surfaces yet.


GNU R is popular application for statistic that implements the language R very similar to the language S.
It produce very nice graphics, but require some knowledge of language R.

Octave and others MatLab's clone

If understand some of MatLab language, the octave, scilabm and freemat will used to generate mathematical graphics in vector format. The GNU Octave is most popular. The recent FreeMat is easy to instal and use, but not much featured yet.
gnu octave:

SciDAVis and Microcal Origin like ones


The SciDAVis is data analysis and visualization tools that produce nice graphics and will export in several formats, inclusing vector format EPS.
The RLPlot is more simpler, but  will add some text and polylines on the resulting plot. For clone of Microcal Origin users, the
QtiPlot (free for linux) support to importing Microcal Origin 7.5 file format. But, the windows version is only the commertial or limited demo version.
The FitYK (free for linux) are developed specially for curve fittings, but the Windows version is commercial.



LibreCAD is open source cross platform 2d CAD system.


Not the all of case that mathematical applications will export graphics in vector format. Some kind of graphics is hard or impossible to generate apropriate vector graphics.  In this caase, use resolution of 600DPI when the delimiter, line, etc is very determined (as tecnical picture) or 300DPI in the case of bluer contour, lines, etc (as photo realistic image). That is recomendation for printing. If want to enlarge inside LaTeX document, need to use most hight DPI in way to keep desired DPI aafter enlargement.

Some Converters

Image Magick

If installed LyX, normally it is installed. ImageMafick is the command line image need caution to use because the windows tools to convert FAT file system to NTFS is named convert too. Thus, ensure that is calling the correct ones, such as use of full path.
convert img.jpg eps2:img.eps
create compressed eps. If eps2 is not specified, it generate big eps file because use postscript level 1 that does not allow compression.


Convert bitmap image to eps ou pdf. By apropriate option, generate small files. It is the unique aprications known at moment that can produce compressed file on postscript of level 1 (author implemented uncompress routine in postscript).
Copy the contents of downloaded files and copy to desired folder.  Is recomended to put sam2p's folder to PATH of windows. Other good idea is to put inside MikTeX folder (c:\Program Files\miktex 2.7\miktex\bin) that normally is on the PATH. The GUI version are not usable in 2008, but will check the time in time to see if usable GUI version is released.
sam2p -c:jpeg figura.jpg figura.eps
convert jpeg to eps, keepping jpeg compressed.


The classical jpeg to eps converter using postscript of level 2/3, generation small file. Recomend to use imagemagick or sam2p instead.

TeX4ht (integrated into MikTeX)

TeX4ht is cross platform Tex/LaTeX to HTML/XHTML converter, similar to Hevea, TTH, and  LaTeX2HTML. all of these four are of cross platform and present some advantage over others. The Hevea and  TTH does not have decent support for mathematical formula. The Tex4ht that implemented as package set for TeX and LaTeX2HTML implemented in perl, will manage mathematical formula in apropriated way. The both permit to use images (GIF, PNG or JPEG) or MathML for formula. The TeX4ht and LaTeX2HTML are open source and are alrgelly used ones.
The HTML produced by Tex4ht is more near to original one than the produced by LaTeX2HTML. The TeX4ht can not split documents in part, usefull for large document. The LaTeX2HTML split document in parts and produce navegation between it automatically, but it will disabled if desired. In other words, the HTML produced by LaTeX2HTML is more suitable for internet publishing and it made prefered tools for profissionals. By other hand, the TeX4ht will convert to Open Office formats too and is included in MikTeX and W32TeX.The command htlatex.bat convert formula to image and htmlatex.bat use MathML for it. The oolatex.bat convert for Open Office document format.

Remark 1: To use JPEG or PNG instead of GIF on the formula, specify on parameter.
    htlatex foo "html,png"
generate HTML code from foo.tex using PNG image to formula. The seccond parameter enclosed by double quote is passed on TeX as option for tex4ht.sty package option. The other bat file workas as same form. For more option for tex4ht.sty, see the TeX4ht's manual.
Remark 2: Specifing the use of MathML, does not guaranteee that all formula is not converted to image because some ones will not have MathML equivalent.
Remark 3: The GUI for windows is found on
Remark 4: Teh accent inside tabular  (\a{'}, \a{~}, etc) does not recognized. In this case, use direct accentuated character.


(copy is on CTAN:
RTF2LaTeX2e is cross platform RTF (Rich Text Format) to LaTeX. converter with equation support (MS Equations). Note that MS Word will export to RTF.In the case of Open Office, use the writer2latex plugin to export as LaTeX.
To install RTF2LaTeX2e, download the file and unpack into desired folder such as c:\Program Files\rtf2latex2e
To convert MS Document, on MS Word, save as RTF by  " as". If file is "test.rtf" and is on the "c:\temp" then open the command line (DOS prompt) and change to c:\temp
c:\document and settings\[user]>cd\temp
and run the rtf2latex2e
C:\temp>"c:\program files\rtf2latex2e\rtf2latex2e.exe" test.rtf
to create test.tex file.
Note that almost image are managed correctly, but some special ones such as Microsoft Draw will by ignored.
The default is to ignore color, but will changed, editing the setup file "r2l-pref" in the "c:\Program Files\rtf2latex\pref". The "ignoreColor=trure" and "ignorecolor=false" disable/enable color keeping on conversion.


(copy on CTAN:

LaTeX2RTF is cross platform free LaTeX to RTF (Rich Text Format) converter with equation support. The RTF will opened by MS Word. The equation is converted to "EQ field" (not is the Equation Object) recognized by MS Equations. For Open Office, use the ooolatex included in TeX4ht, distributed with MikTeX or W32TeX. Note that the convertor support formula, tables, figures, etc, but not all LaTeX command has equivalent ones on MS Word.
To install, unpack the downloaded file to apropriate folder. Supose that if is placed into the folder
c:\Program Files\l2r
The executable name is latex2tr.exe, but the use of bat file is most easyller.
Edit the l2r.bat and change the line
C:\l2r\latex2rt -P C:\l2r\cfg %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
"C:\Program Files\l2r\latex2rt.exe"  -P "C:\Program Files\l2r\cfg" %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
Now, edit the file l2rsem.bat and change the line
C:\l2r\latex2rt -S -P C:\l2r\cfg %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
"C:\Program Files\l2r\latex2rt.exe"  -S -P "C:\Program Files\l2r\cfg" %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
The l2r.bat is used to convert as american standard (fields separated by colon) and l2rsem.bat (that use option -S to call latex2rt) is used to produce German standard (field separated by semi colon). In the case of portuguese, is conform to German ones. Note that the field separator is very important to the MS Word recognize equations. Need to match with your MS Office setup ones.

In way to image converter work, or to permit some equation converted to BMP image, need to install and setup the GhostView/GhostScript and ImageMagick and adjust their PATH on l2rprep.bat.

To use, compile document using LaTeX, BibTeX, etc normally to generate aux file and solbe cross references.  After this, execute the desired bat file (followed by tex file name without extension) from command line prompt. If desire to use image, run the l2rprep.bat before l2r.bat or l2rsem.bat.


Word Perfect to LaTeX with table and equation support.


Convert the Open Office/Star Office to LaTeX/XHTML+MathLM. Will used as plugin to export directly from Open Writer. Depending of instalation of Open Office, it becames installed.


Excel2LaTeX is MS Excel macro to convert excel spreadsheet  to laTeX table. Almost format such as fonts, borders, merged cell, etc are supported.  To install, copy the file excel2latex.xla to MS office folder and open by double clicking it. The MS Excel open and ask if execute the "macro". Ansuwer "sim" and the install is complete. On the MS Excel, select the region of spreadsheet and click on "convert table to LaTeX" (or tools->convert table to LaTeX). The generated LaTeX code will copied to clipboard or saved to file. If desiere japanese one, see


macro for Open Calc (of Open Office) to generate LaTeX table from spreadsheet . Work similar to excl2latex.

Other tools

jabref (recomended)

if using the BibTeX, this GUI is recomended to edit the file ".bib". Several LaTeX does not use BibTeX due to work on BiBTeX file edition that use intax different of LaTeX ones. But, with jabref, it is very easy.


This tools is essential for adjustment of finalized PDF documents. It permit to split and join PDF files, reorder pages, resize, n-up, etc. If need to finalize publication material such as book, journal, etc that manage PDF in general, instead of source code, the jPDFTweak is very usefull.
To produce poster in easy way, create document using 1/4 (1/2 of scale in each dimension) using 12pt. After PDF is produced, use jpefTweal to enlarge in real size . Due to scale factor of 2x, the font size became 24pt, recomended to poster. In this way, will produce poster without special package or tricks.
If want to automatize using command line script, the Multvalent will be usefull. Note that the Multivalent is the document viewer for HTML, DVI, PDF, etc and the PDF management is made by command line instead on GUI. Due to this, most recent jPDFTweak becames popular than multivalent.

pdfarranger (linux and windows)

I the fork of linux only pdfshuffler ( To manage finished PDF files. By friendly GUI, will concatenate PDF files, delete page, reorder page, rotate page and crop page. It is not power as jPDFTWeak, but is nice for more simple task. The Mac user will enjoy PDFSAM

xournal and jaurnal

xournal is eletronic notebook, but will write over PDF and export to PDF again. This features is usefull for teacher to made correction of student's work. If use tablet, will made it so fast as correction over printed ones.
Teh jaurnal is similar to xournal, but is implemented in java. xournal is recomended.


The scribus is designated to make journals, folders, posters, etc that require visual layouts, similar to Microsoft Publisher (comercial). The scribus permit to insert  "LaTeX box" in way to help development of scientific materials. The LaTeX user always use LaTeX package to produce posters and folders, but if it became frequently, is preferable to use scribus than the pure LaTeX.

TeXTablet (windows only)

Will input laTeX formula using hand writen recognition. Windows 7 or latter.