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So, when doing LaTeX, it is absolutely necessary for ones sanity to using a preview program which updates automatically every time you compile. Of course, any previewer designed for DVIs will do this, but as far I can tell, Adobe Acrobat not only does not automatically update, but will not let you change the PDF with it open.

On a Mac one can get around this by using Skim, and on *nix by using xpdf, but what should one do on Windows?

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Does Yap do this? I thought you had to recompile each time. – Akhil Mathew Oct 20 '09 at 1:07
I think you have misunderstood what I meant by "updates automatically." Yap reacts when you change the DVI; Acrobat Reader won't let you recompile while it has the file open. – Ben Webster Oct 20 '09 at 2:00
Interesting- I did not know you didn't have to close the window. – Akhil Mathew Oct 20 '09 at 2:07
mac's preview (the one you get bundled with your mac) does it since a year ago - you don't need any third party products. – David Lehavi Oct 20 '09 at 6:04
David- Actually, I started using Skim for its inverse search capabilities. My recollection is that Preview wouldn't do that. – Ben Webster Apr 16 '10 at 22:53
up vote 18 down vote accepted

Use SumatraPDF. It is a lightweight pdf viewer which updates automatically. It also allows syncing with TeXnicCenter and WinEdt.

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That's perfect. Thanks so much. The way Beamer was compiling DVIs was driving me nuts. – Ben Webster Oct 20 '09 at 3:21

TeXworks works like a charm, it uses SyncTeX to perform pdf/LaTex synchronization. "Text search in the PDF preview source/preview synchronization based on Jérôme Laurens’ SyncTeX technology"

Don't be fooled by its beta status. It's fast and stable.

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gsview can display pdf files, automatically updates them when the file changes, and does not lock the file so you can modify your files and compile them without closing the pdf file.

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As noted, SumatraPDF is probably the best solution. Alternatively, look for pdfopen and pdfclose which can be set to automatically close the pdf file before you compile the TeX file and then reopen it. They are built into many TeX frontends. Finally, some versions of Reader (e.g., 6) running on some versions of Windows allow you to reopen your pdf file at the position you closed it by hitting Alt-left arrow.

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Well, this is definitely not for the faint of heart, but one can get a decent X environment on top of windows via cygwin ( ). Once you have it, you may use xpdf and what not.

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On MacOSX, I use with some success to get auto-updates for compilation. You won't get the multimedia tie-ins in Preview, but you can check it out in a kind of draft mode.

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Have you tried Skim? I've been really happy with it. It's just Mac OSX only, so I can't use it on my Windows machine – Ben Webster Oct 20 '09 at 4:04

Or use a latex editor with a preview window on the right. LEd has this feature. Every time you compile, the preview window updates. Moreover, you can see your code and output in the same screen, which is nice.

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Someone already suggested SumatraPDF, but I had some rendering issues with it, although it is quite fast. Currently I'm using KDE's Okular for Windows as well (admittedly you need to install a bit of extra KDE libraries, but still is much less than the dreaded Acrobat Reader). Rendering speed, quality and performance are all very good.

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