Thursday, June 5, 2008

PDF autorefresh with AucTeX and Sumatra PDF

For users of Emacs on windows, Acrobat Reader does not play well with AucTeX. If the PDF file is open, while compiling the .tex file, Emacs will throw a write error because the reader locks the file for it's own use.

Sumatra PDF seems to have sorted this issue out in it's latest release of the viewer. At least that's what the release notes claim. I haven't tried it so far. But the announcement on the comp.text.tex newsgroup caught my eye and I think it's worth noting.

If it really works as advertised in the release notes, then one does not have to close and reopen the PDF file when generating it through AucTeX. With the autorefresh feature, it should be possible to iteratively add text and compile in a smooth workflow.

I shall have to try this feature and switch the reader if all goes well. The last time I tried the Sumatra PDF viewer I had problems rendering pgf rendered drawings. Maybe things are better this time as I did not fully check what was and was not supported in the earlier releases.