Using doc-view with auto-revert to view LaTeX PDF output in Emacs

[This article was first published on Blogistic Reflections, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

When I am authoring a LaTeX document in Emacs, such as a report or my CV, it is useful for me to compile the LaTeX source file periodically to see what the resulting file PDF looks like. I used to run a separate PDF viewer to look at the output, but I now have a complete Emacs solution.

The editing environment

When writing a LaTeX document, I usually want the output to be a PDF file. Accordingly, I put the following in my .emacs file.

(setq TeX-PDF-mode t)

I then split my Emacs frame into two buffers vertically, using C-x 3 (see screencast below). After compiling my LaTeX file with C-c C-c, I visit the resulting PDF file in the other Emacs window. The Emacs doc-view package will display the PDF file.

Including auto-revert functionality

The final piece to the puzzle is to set files visited in doc-view-mode to auto-revert when changed on disk. That way, then I update my LaTeX file and recompile with C-c C-c, the PDF in the other window will automatically update.

This is achieved by placing the following line in my .emacs.

(add-hook 'doc-view-mode-hook 'auto-revert-mode)

Screencast Example

Here is a screencast of this process in action.

This is a simple setup that I use to author reports, edit them, and see immediate updates to my output file without leaving Emacs.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Blogistic Reflections. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)