LaTeX on Windows PCs

There is a nice combination of inexpensive or free software available for running LaTeX on Windows machines. You now can work on LaTeX manuscripts on your office/home PC or laptop in an environment that may be even nicer than our Unix facilities.

The following components are needed and available for downloading: When installed on Windows 95, 97, NT, or 2000, WinEdt provides color-highlighted editing capabilities plus push-button access to TeX, LaTeX, dvi previewer, bibtex, ghostview, Postscript and PDF generation, and printing to any printer (via yap previewer utility). All software is free except for WinEdt, which has a 30-day trial and educational price of $40, $30 students. (The package also includes a LaTeX equation editor and color highlighting for HTML, C, Perl, Java, and other files.)

Suggested implementation sequence:
  1. Download all of the software:
    1. MiKTeX: Select Current stable release: MiKTeX 2.0, download the five miktex-2.0-*.zip files, manual PDF, and update mt20up1.exe.
    2. ghostscript and ghostview: Scroll down to the "Windows 95, 98 or NT" section and download gs600w32.exe (Aladdin Ghostscript 6.0 for Win32) and gsv28w32.exe (GSview 2.8 for Win32)
    3. WinEdt: On the Download page, select WinEdt 5 in the USA column. Also available are multilingual dictionaries and additional programming language macros (java, Fortran 77, Perl)
  2. Install MiKTeX first.
    1. Create a temporary subdirectory with the MiKTeX zip files and unzip them
    2. Follow the installation instructions in 00readme.txt or index.html
    3. Run the four MiKTeX maintenance programs, which initialize some datafiles. (See the Start->Programs->MiKTeX->Maintenance program list.)
  3. Install ghostscript, then ghostview.
    1. Execute gs600w32.exe and follow the instructions.
    2. Similarly, run gsv28w32.exe
  4. Install WinEdt. It will find the other programs on your system and set up links to them.
    1. Run self-extracting executable winedt5.exe
    2. Follow the installation instructions in file or install.pdf
    WinEdt will find the other programs on your system and set up links to them.
That's it. Just call WinEdt, then type LaTeX text and press button-bar icons to compile, preview, debug, and print. It can also direct you to the offending source line when MiKTeX encounters errors.

By Dick Barr