I'm looking for an effective way to create notes, summaries, reviews and essays. Thus far I used a mixture of LibreOffice and LaTex, depending on size, complexity and importance. Anything that contained math related things requiring math notation (in some cases there were only math notations, like my math or physics homework), I usually shied away from software and did it manually with paper and pen. The constant scanning, painful management of these files, and max file size problems now force me to reconsider this process:

What's the most effective way to create math-notation heavy notes on Linux considering the following attributes?

  1. Quality and capabilities - Am I limited in using only certain math notations?
  2. Compatibility - Can I export to small pdf-files?
  3. Time requirement once usage-skill is mastered - Am I faster then writing per hand?
  4. Learning curve - Does it take a long time to learn how to use this process

Comment: I guess 1. shouldn't be too big of a problem and 4. doesn't concern me too much as long as I'm getting what I want.

I tried both Libre and LaTex to do this, but it seems like I need to practice a bit to actually get faster then writing on paper. (Considering the total time of both processes. Notes, writing on another paper in nice writing, scanning and managing on the one side versus thinking process and final drafting in one on the other side. I don't need to write everything twice on the computer.) Also it seems a little difficult to manage the thinking about creating the notation and thinking about the problem at the same time. The way I do LaTex right now, I don't see my results in real-time and sometimes I have formatting mistakes, that keep me from thinking about the problem itself. I'm checking what you guys do, before I dedicate more time into digging deep into either LaTex or Libre.

  • If you want "real-time" with LaTeX, I think latexmk can help. There's a setting that will refresh the PDF viewer automatically each time you save the text file. – edwin Oct 27 '13 at 12:26
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    I can recommend Gummi (dev.midnightcoding.org/projects/gummi) it shows you the latex and pdf side by side, and the pdf updates automatically when you stop typing, totally awesome :) Alternatively have a look at Sublime Text 3, together with the LaTexTools plugin it makes a great LaTex Editor (supports vim bindings :) ) and it uses latexmk to build your document (latexmk is a must have). – Gerhard Burger Oct 27 '13 at 12:37

Why not use Lyx ? It's a graphical interface to Latex, it will make your workflow faster.

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