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Faculty of Mathematics

Configuring MikTeX and TeXnicCenter on your own PC


TeXnicCenter is a useful program for creating and editing TeX/LaTeX documents under Windows, but it requires a little setting up the first time you use it on a new computer. It can also stop working because software it relies on (such as Adobe Reader) has been updated, in which case it often helps to run through the configuration process from the beginning.

Note: This page is a lightly modified version of one written for the Statslab Windows system before the upgrade to Windows 7. If you are using a Maths Windows 7 machine, all the configuration described in this page should have been done for you, and you will probably find the TeXnicCenter troubleshooting page more helpful. If you want to use TeXnicCenter on your own PC, read on!

First install MikTeX and TeXnicCenter. They are both free software but MikTeX is a large program and will take a while to install.

The process of setting up TeXnicCenter can be broken down into three stages.

  1. Configure the "back end" (the application, usually MikTeX, which processes TeX/LaTeX files into other formats).
  2. Set up the profiles (tell the computer what commands to run to convert TeX/LaTeX to DVI/PostScript/PDF).
  3. Configure Windows to associate TeXnicCenter with .tex files.

Configure the back end

Welcome to the

Launch TeXnicCenter via the Start menu and close the Tip of the Day. If this is your first time using TeXnicCenter on your computer, the Configuration Wizard will pop up. It can also be found under Build -> Define Output Profiles -> Wizard.

Configuration Wizard -
Distribution Directory

Click Next and you will be asked where TeXnicCenter can find your TeX distribution. Either browse to the directory C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\miktex\bin or type it into the box. Some PCs will have 2.7 or 2.8 instead of 2.9.

Click Next again. Depending on your exact setup, you may be taken straight to a screen telling you that your profiles have been set up, or you may be asked to choose a PostScript viewer. It's probably easiest to keep clicking through until the end of the wizard and change your PostScript viewer to GSView later.

Set up the profiles

The Configuration Wizard sets up "profiles" for converting LaTeX into DVI, PostScript and PDF, but some adjustments will be required (especially for the LaTeX => PDF profile) and if you work with plain TeX you will need to set up those profiles yourself. To tweak your profiles, go to the Build menu and select Define Output Profiles.


Note:If your document includes figures in .eps form, do not remove the LaTeX => PS => PDF profile. Earlier versions of this document incorrectly stated that it could be removed.

Change the PostScript
viewer to C:\Program Files\Ghostgum\gsview\gsview32.exe

The LaTeX => PS profile may need to be configured to use GSView to open PS files. Highlight it, select the Viewer tab and change the path of the executable to C:\Program Files\Ghostgum\gsview\gsview32.exe if necessary.

Tweak the options so TeXnicCenter
will work with Adobe Reader X

The LaTeX => PDF profile needs tweaking to work properly with Adobe Reader X. Highlight it and select the Viewer tab. Do not change the path of the executable, but change the options to use command line arguments rather than DDE commands, exactly as shown in the screenshot.

Having set up the LaTeX profiles, you can now copy them to create TeX profiles. Highlight each one in turn, click Copy, and name the copies TeX => DVI, TeX => PDF, TeX => PS and TeX => PS => PDF as appropriate. You should end up with eight profiles, four for LaTeX and four for TeX.

Highlight the TeX => DVI profile and look for the box headed ``Path to the (La)TeX compiler''. Find the word ``latex'' in this box and delete the letters ``la''. Repeat with the other three TeX profiles before clicking OK.

Associate TeXnicCenter with .tex files

Navigate to a folder which contains at least one .tex file. It may be helpful to configure Windows to display file extensions if this has not been done already. To do this, select Folder Options from the Tools menu and click on the View tab. Ensure that the box ``Hide extensions for known file types'' is unchecked. Click ``Apply To All Folders'' then click OK.

Folder Options

Right-click on a .tex file, scroll down to ``Open With'' and browse to TeXnicCenter (TEXCNTR.EXE). Tick ``Always use the selected program to open this kind of file''. The dialog box should look something like this:

Open With

Click OK. Your file will open in TeXnicCenter and from now on TeXnicCenter will run when you double-click on a .tex file.