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I really like the way markdown is implemented in SE bunch of sites, where I can easily write code blocks, performing formatting or even use latex on some of sites like writing $\pi$. I also like how this online editor looks and feels. But it's all online.

Is there any offline WYSIWYG analogs of notepag or WMD in Ubuntu that optionally supports pdf as an output format? Both markdown and latex desired.

I desire to simultaneously use Markdown and LaTeX. I'm planing to use an editor for writing some technical stuff with math, but it's annoying to be constantly in "LaTeX-mode". So it would be awesome to immerse in LaTeX when I need formulas and use markdown when I need to speak on natural language.

UPD. Almost all answers was quite useful, but none of them answers directly on my question. I'll accept @N.N. answer as a most complete.

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What type of documents do you aim to produce? What about the option of going all into LaTeX? You could write macros to mimic WMD and if you use a LaTeX editor such as tug.org/texworks you'll get the visual bit as well. –  N.N. Sep 6 '11 at 21:42
    
@N.N. Yes, I was not so clear in my needs. I've clarified my aims. –  om-nom-nom Sep 6 '11 at 21:50
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What bothers you with LaTeX when not writing technical stuff? It might be possible to overcome. –  N.N. Sep 6 '11 at 21:50
    
@N.N. some overheads in italics,bold and headings. LaTeX has tremendously better (actually amazing) customization, but for me it is often simplier to write _text_ than \emph{text} since most of the time I don't use LaTeX advantages. –  om-nom-nom Sep 6 '11 at 22:02
    
If you don't use LaTeX's advantages you're probably writing plain text and if you're writing plain text with LaTeX you end up with plain text. See my answer for a suggestion. –  N.N. Sep 7 '11 at 7:28

8 Answers 8

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suggest that you stick with LaTeX (only) for the following reasons:

  • In using a markup external to LaTeX you'd need an additional program (editor or compiler) to pdflatex or whatever you use. This may be an unnecessary overhead and may make it so that it's harder to share your files due to portability (LaTeX is commonly used for technical texts but not some markup solution). If you stick with LaTeX you don't need this overhead.
  • In using a markup external to LaTeX you may lose some of LaTeX's tremendous customizability.
  • You can match the ease of writing with a markup such as WMD in LaTeX.

I can think of the following ways to ease writing with LaTeX:

  • Autocomplete. Use an editor that suggest completion of phrases, e.g. to suggest \emph{ if you start to enter em.
  • Snippet management. Use an editor that lets you define snippets, e.g. if you write em and press Tab it will enter \emph{} and place the cursor between {} and place the cursor after } as you press Tab again. If you use gedit see http://live.gnome.org/Gedit/Plugins/Snippets.
  • Use an editor in which you can use templates (either via a template function or snippets), e.g. so that you may write something short or press some keys to input a certain document class, some packages to load and the places the cursors between \begin{document} and \end{document}. This way you'll start writing on a new document with LaTeX in an instant.
  • Use a setup that makes compilation and viewing of output easy. This means using an editor that suits you and that you know well. The following list might be interest for you http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/339/latex-editors-ides. Also, you might find tools such as latexmk.
  • If you think some macro is verbose define your own macro around it. Say that you find \longmacroname{} verbose, then you can define a shorter macro name around it such as \newcommand\foo[1]{\longmacroname{#1}} so that you may use \foo{} instead. Note that this can be a bad practice if macro names are hard to understand for those reading your code.
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Lyx comes to mind. It's technically a LaTeX editor, so it's maybe a bit more complicated than you're looking for. But it is basically WYSIWYG, and supports LaTeX. I don't know of any other document editors that do that.

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another one could be texmacs –  enzotib Sep 6 '11 at 21:32
    
Nice, I didn't know about texmacs. –  Kris Harper Sep 6 '11 at 21:33
    
LyX is WYSIWYM --- "what you see is what you mean"; the printed output will look quite different. –  frabjous Sep 7 '11 at 12:56
    
I've had discussions about whether LyX is WYSIWYM or not, and I really don't think it is. The output is slightly different, but nearly the same. In particular all the formatting and equations are essentially there before you compile. I consider LaTeX markup to be WYSIWYM. When I write \begin{center} \end{center} I mean center the text. In LyX, the text ends up centered (i.e., I see what I'm getting). –  Kris Harper Sep 7 '11 at 13:52

I recently discovered Zim, a very interesting editor, that is meant as a note taker and organizer, that supports a sort of markdown and the insertion of mathematical stuff, and is WYSIWYG.

Here is the description:

Zim aims to bring the concept of a wiki to your desktop. Every page is saved as a text file with wiki markup. Pages can contain links to other pages, and are saved automatically. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a non-existing page. This tool is intended to keep track of TODO lists or to serve as a personal scratch book. But it will also serve you when writing longer and more complicated documents.

A "desktop wiki" means that we try to capture the idea of a wiki, not as a webpage but as a collection of files on your local file system that can be edited with a GUI application. The main focus is a kind of personal wiki that serves for all kind of notes: todo-lists, addresses, brainstorm ideas etc.

But we want to go further then just a wiki filled with random content. It should also be possible to use you random notes as the basis for more structured data: articles, presentations etc. Zim will not include tools to layout a presentation or something like that, you should use your office suite of choice for that, but it should be a tool that can deliver all the content for a presentation in a form that only needs a template and some layout before usage. Therefore certain features normally not found in wikis will be added.

and here are a couple of screenshots:

enter image description here

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It is available in Ubuntu repos, but a more up-to-date PPA version is available too.

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ReText and some conversion tools might be interesting:

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ReText is not WYSIWYG. (See my other comment) –  MountainX Mar 9 at 21:58

There is retext, but I do not think it supports LaTeX, though it is possible that you can ask the author to add support for it.

To install it on Ubuntu:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mitya57
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install retext
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While retext looks very nice it doesn't support formulas directly due to limitations of Qt's QTextEdit widget. –  om-nom-nom Sep 11 '11 at 20:33
    
MathJax is now implemented - sourceforge.net/p/retext/blog/2012/10/… –  Beni Cherniavsky-Paskin Nov 17 '12 at 22:24
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ReText is not WYSIWYG. It has a "live preview" but that is not even close to WYSIWYG. –  MountainX Mar 9 at 21:58
    
@MountainX that is incorrect. The preview feature is WYSIWYG. I have used ReText so I know. –  RolandiXor Mar 10 at 6:34

http://www.inkcode.net/qute is a lightweight markdown editor with LaTeX support.

Its standing out feature is per-paragraph toggling between markdown editing and display, which gives 3 benefits:

  • While writing you'll be mostly seeing a nicely-formatted document, not source.
  • You don't need Synctex to jump between document and source - you just click to edit in-place.
  • Better use of screen space than 2 side-by-side panels (although that's available too - F12).

A downside is that it's too lightweight on features. E.g. "Qute does not support undo and redo. You may try Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y, but unpredictable things may happen." :-)

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There is a reasonable solution to your needs posted on tex.SE, which provides a markdown environment within latex documents, so that you can easily enter markdown throughout the document. The environment uses pandoc to convert the markdown syntax to tex, and inserts it in place.

I say it's only 'reasonable' because it seems that you wanted to be mostly within markdown, with occasional breaks to latex, and this solution is rather the reverse, being a latex document that provides for markdown syntax.

http://tex.stackexchange.com/a/101731/14811

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If you are mathematically/statistically inclined, it is possible you already use R. If you use the RStudio IDE for R it provides a version of Markdown (RMarkdown) which accepts maths using LaTeX. I can only speak first-hand for the Windows implementation - which I find superb. However, my ideal is to defenestrate, so I am currently exploring how to do the same things in GNUnix...

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