Compile LaTeX documents from within Atom

Thomas Johansen






LaTeX package

Build Status Windows Build Status Dependency Status devDependency Status

Compile LaTeX, knitr, literate Agda, literate Haskell, or Pweave documents from within Atom.


Use the Atom package manager and search for "latex", or run apm install latex from the command line.


TeX distribution

A reasonably up-to-date and working TeX distribution is required. The only officially supported distributions are TeX Live, and MiKTeX. Although, the latter is not as well tested and supported as TeX Live, hence using TeX Live is highly recommended.

You need to ensure that the package can find your TeX distribution's binaries; by default the package uses your PATH environment variable, as well as the following search paths on Linux and macOS

  1. /usr/texbin
  2. /Library/TeX/texbin

and on Windows it uses

  1. %SystemDrive%\texlive\2017\bin\win32
  2. %SystemDrive%\texlive\2016\bin\win32
  3. %SystemDrive%\texlive\2015\bin\win32
  4. %ProgramFiles%\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin\x64
  5. %ProgramFiles(x86)%\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin

If your TeX distribution's binaries are not installed in one of those locations or discoverable via the PATH environment variable, you will need to help the package find the binaries. This can be done by setting the TeX Path configuration option to point to the folder containing the binaries, either in the settings view, or directly in your config.cson file. See Configuration for further details regarding the settings of this package.

Syntax Highlighting

In order for this package to behave as expected, your Atom environment must contain a package that provides a LaTeX grammar. We suggest language-latex, but other valid options might exist. Additional syntax packages may be required to build document types other than LaTeX. For more details see Builder Capabilities below.

Builder Selection

The latex package provides access to two automatic builders for LaTeX and knitr documents. By default the package will use latexmk for LaTeX documents and an included builder to prepare knitr documents for latexmk. In this case an up to date installation of latexmk is required. If you're using TeX Live then you need only insure that latexmk is installed and up to date using the appropriate package manager. If you're using MikTeX then see how to use latexmk with MiKTeX.

The JavaScript based DiCy builder may also be used for all documents by selecting the Use DiCy option in the settings page. DiCy will be installed automatically and so no further action is required for either TeX Live or MiKTeX.

Builder Capabilities

Document types other than LaTeX documents may be processed by this package. The availability and behavior of this feature depends upon the specific builder selected. The following table details the different types of documents that may be processed by each builder and any additional syntax package requirements.

Document Type latexmk based Builder DiCy Builder Required Language Packages
LaTeX Yes Yes language-latex
knitr Yes Yes language-r and language-knitr
literate Agda No preprocessing Yes language-agda
literate Haskell No preprocessing Yes language-haskell
Pweave No Yes language-weave


The latex:build command can be invoked from the LaTex menu or by pressing the default keybind ctrl-alt-b while in a LaTex or knitr file. Log messages and any other messages from the build may be seen in the LaTeX log panel accessible from the status bar.

The latex package supports other commands as detailed in the table below.

Command Keybinding Use
latex:build ctrl-alt-b Build LaTeX/knitr file and open result.
latex:rebuild None Force a rebuild of LaTeX/knitr file.
latex:clean ctrl-alt-c Cleanup files after a build.
latex:kill None Terminate currently running build. Also available from status indicator.
latex:sync ctrl-alt-s Use SyncTeX forward if possible from the current cursor position.
latex:sync-log None Display and highlight log messages from the current cursor position.
latex:check-runtime None Check for the existence of latexmk, Rscript and PDF/PS/DVI viewers.

Overriding Build Settings

Many of the build settings in the settings page of the latex package can be overridden on a per file basis. One way to override specific build settings is to use "magic" TeX comments in the form of % !TEX <name> = <value>. Another way is to use a YAML formatted file with the same name as your root LaTeX file, but with an extension of .yaml. The settings and values that can overridden via either method are listed in the table below. If multiple setting names are listed then the first is preferred and following names are available for compatibility. More details can found at Overridding Build Settings.

Name Value Use
cleanPatterns comma separated patterns, e.g. **/*.blg, foo Specify patterns to use for latex:clean
enableSynctex yes, no, true or false Override SyncTeX setting
enableExtendedBuildMode yes, no, true or false Override extended build mode setting
enableShellEscape yes, no, true or false Override shell escape setting
engine or program pdflatex, lualatex, etc. Override the LaTeX engine to use for build.
moveResultToSourceDirectory yes, no, true or false Override move result to source directory setting
outputFormat or format dvi, ps or pdf Override the output format
jobNames, jobnames or jobname comma separated names, e.g. foo, bar Control the number and names of build jobs. Only a single name can be used for jobname.
outputDirectory or output_directory directory path, e.g. build Specify the output directory that should be used.
producer dvipdf, dvipdfmx, xdvipdfmx or ps2pdf Override the PDF producer
root file path, e.g. ../file.tex Specify the root file that should be built. Only available via "magic" TeX comments.

There are additional settings that may be configured for the DiCy builder that may not be accessible from this package's setting page, but can be set via a YAML options file or TeX magic comments. For more details please see Options and Configuration in the DiCy documentation.

PDF/DVI/PS Viewers

The latex package currently supports Atril, Evince, Okular, pdf-view, Preview, Skim, Sumatra PDF, Windows shell open, xdg-open, Xreader and Zathura as PDF/DVI/PS viewers. This includes support for cursor synchronization via SyncTeX if possible. Specific features of each of the viewers is detailed at Supported Viewers.

Development status

Please note that this package is in a beta state. It is stable, but lacks some important features.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

NOTE: latexmk does not support file paths containing special characters such as ~. To partially circumvent this, add useRelativePaths: true to your config file like so

# config.cson
    useRelativePaths: true

When set, this package will use a relative path in place of an absolute one. This will allow latexmk to compile projects stored in directories that contain special characters. Note that the project itself must not contain special characters in its directory or file names.

This feature has not been fully tested yet, and there are no guarantees it will work in all cases. Please raise an issue if you find a case where it fails.