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MiKTeX

CNET Editors' review

TeX was a groundbreaking software-based typesetting system when Donald Knuth released it in 1978, and it remains popular, especially in academic and scientific publishing. MiKTeX is an up-to-date implementation of TeX for Windows. It adds a Windows installer and setup wizard, program updates, and an integrated package manager that can retrieve missing components online and install them automatically. It also includes a full suite of associated programs, fonts, templates, and tools, such as Yap, a DVI file viewer. MiKTeX is open-source freeware that runs on Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Server, but not on Windows 2000 or earlier versions. It's available in installed and portable versions as well as a MiKTeX Net version that can run MiKTeX on a network. We looked at the standard installed edition, MiKTeX 2.9.3972.

MiKTeX 2.9 is a much larger download than most current versions of 70's survivors, mostly because of its many extras. The installer let us set up the program for a preferred paper size; we opted for the default selection, the common A4. MiKTeX 2.9 includes many fonts and utilities, but the Package Manager makes it easy to install and remove the items in the extensive library via a simple, searchable list view. MiKTeX 2.9 uses the pdfTeX typesetting engine, which can output documents in the PDF format, which is more convenient for most users than the proprietary LaTeX format. The basic program interface is TeXworks, a simple tool for editing LaTeX documents. We quickly created and edited a document in TeXworks using one of several basic templates and pressed Ctrl-T. In no time, MiKTeX 2.9 displayed a PDF document with a Brief Article template ready to be filled, edited, typeset, and printed in a high-quality print job.

While MiKTeX 2.9 is hardly difficult to use, it's much geekier than the typical Windows app. However, we were impressed with MiKTeX's Windows features, such as the way the Package Manager fetched any files and tools we needed. The software project's Web site offers excellent documentation, including a FAQ page that makes the best introduction to this new take on a sophisticated, versatile, and enduring typesetting environment. The long-running TeX Users Group (TUG) also offers extensive information, advice, links, communities, newsletters, and more.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-4 of 4

  • 4.0 stars

    "Only 4* because TeX is not for everyone."

    June 24, 2011  |   By acreane

    Version: MiKTeX 2.9.4146

    Pros

    A free version, easy to set-up and the pdf that matches to where you are working on the document is nice.

    Cons

    Not for the novice (see below) but that is an issue with TeX. You will need to install additional packages to make it have more than basic editing tools (is that a feature or a flaw?).

    Summary

    Even though MikTeX is easy to install and relatively nice for TeX, it is not for the novice unless you want to do a lot of reading beforehand or have experience with writing simple code (like html). You dont need the ability to write code but rather the knowledge of how things work. To the uninitiated note that TeX is not wysiwyg (TeXsters will go on and on as to why this is good) although there is a second screen with the compiled pdf. Also if you have a coauthor who uses sciword you will need to get the file tcilatex.tex and copy it to the appropriate folder.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Ignore previous Reviews - Works Great with Winedt"

    April 8, 2010  |   By dk12rk

    Version: MiKTeX 2.7.2904

    Pros

    It is a very good implementation of TeX. It works flawlessly with Winedt.

    Cons

    Installation procedure could be more clear...

    Summary

    If you don't know what TeX is and looking for a free alternative to MS Office (Word) go to Open Office.
    And please don't give it a 1 rating if you don't even know what the thing does. Leave the ratings for people who do know how to use TeX.
    If you will every type a document longer than 5 pages long, TeX is a better alternative.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "A Nightmare on XP - a wasted day."

    September 24, 2009  |   By Rabbitsrun

    Version: MiKTeX 2.7.2904

    Pros

    None That I could see.

    Cons

    "Basic MiKTeX" gave up a pathetic page with few tools and even then, they were obscure and of little use. When I tried to open one tool I ended up in Picasa ! , which never was as an installation option. I had totally removed the previous attempts.

    Summary

    When I tried to load the "Full Package" ( having basic up and running) - over several attempts -- most of a day -- my computer rebelled and would not accept it. My speedy computer slowed to almost nothing and froze repeatedly ,needing to be rebooted. I used MiKTeX. org. I should have figured it then -- their download page was poorly constructed and vague - the Installer Wizard was anything but straight forward and it would not relate to the "basic exec" which it, apparently, requires as a platform ---- or whatever ! I give up. It,s HISTORY !

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  • 1.0 stars

    "What is it?"

    April 13, 2009  |   By SaintlyMic

    Version: MiKTeX 2.7.2904

    Pros

    NONE...so far!

    Cons

    What is it and what is it supposed to be?
    I'm not going to even download this without knowing what it is!
    And, I suggest you resist the temptation downloading this until they explain what it is!

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