The TexText GUI

Invoking TexText extension

After installation TexText will appear under Extensions ‣ Text ‣ Tex Text:

Extension entry

When you select it, a dialog will appear that lets you enter any LaTeX code you want (presumably your formula).


Once you have opened TexText via the menu entry in an Inkscape session you can subsequently open it using the keyboard shortcut ALT + Q (“Previous extension”).

Alternatively, you can specify your own keyboard shortcut, see Defining keyboard shortcut for opening TexText dialog in the FAQ.

Dialog overview

Annotated TexText dialog

You enter your LaTeX code into the edit box usage-label-5. In the case the the GTK GUI bindings are available it will show you line and column numbers. If you additionally installed GTKSourceView it will also highlight the syntax with colors. You can add any valid and also multi-line LaTeX code. There are additional settings which can be adjusted to your needs:

Your LaTeX code and the accompanying settings will be stored within the new SVG node in the document. This allows you to edit the LaTeX node later by selecting it and running the Tex Text extension (which will then show the dialog containing the saved values).

There is a preview button usage-label-7 as well, which shortens the feedback cycle from entry to result considerably, so use it! See section Preview button

Available TeX compilers

Your LaTeX code can be compiled using three different compilers: pdflatex, xelatex, lualatex (as long as the corresponding commands are found by your system). You can select the command in the combobox usage-label-1. The last two ones are especially useful for using UTF-8 input or if you require Lua commands. Of course you can use UTF-8 input with the pdflatex command as well as long as you provide \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} in your preamble file (see Preamble file).

Some things to be kept in mind:

  • Place the required lua packages in your preamble file if you want to compile your code with lualatex.

  • If you use lualatex/ xelatex for the very first time on your system it may take some time until the fonts are setup properly. During that time TexText might be unresponsive.

  • Windows: xelatex tends to be very slow on Windows machines, see this post on Stackexchange.

Preamble file

Be aware of including the required packages in the preamble file if you use special commands in your code that rely on such packages. The preamble file can be chosen by the selector usage-label-2. The default preamble file shipped with TexText includes the following:



Basically, your LaTeX code will be inserted into this environment:

% ***preamble file content***
% ***Your code***

This will be typeset, converted to SVG and inserted into your Inkscape document. If no \documentclass or \documentstyle is specified in the preamble file, \documentclass{article} is used by default.

Scaling of the output

In most of the cases you will need to adjust the size of the produced SVG output to match the conditions of your drawing. This can be done by two methods:

  1. After compilation adjust the size of the SVG output using the mouse in Inkscape. You should lock the width and height to keep the proportion. Be careful to not break the group!

    Locked scaling in Inkscape
  2. Before compilation you specify a scale factor in the spinbox of the groupbox usage-label-3.

    TexText scale factor

Both methods are fully compatible. If you scale your SVG output in Inkscape the numerical value of the spinbox will be adjusted appropriately when you open TexText on that node later. In both cases the scale factor is preserved when you re-edit your code.

A scale factor of 1 means that the output is sized as it would appear in a regular LaTeX document, i.e., a font size of x pt in LaTex matches that of x pt in Inkscape:

Font size example

There are two additional buttons in the groupbox usage-label-3:

  • Reset: This button is only available when re-editing existing TexText nodes. It resets the scale factor to the value the code has been compiled with the last time. This is useful when playing around with the scale factor and decide to not change the scale factor.

  • As previous: This button sets the scale factor of the currently edited node to the value of the node which has been edited previously. This is useful when you found a scale factor to be suitable and want to apply this scale factor also to any new or existing nodes you open for editing.

If you have re-sized the SVG output in Inkscape without keeping the proportions the re-compiled output will be placed with correct proportions according to the alignment.

Alignment of the output

When you edit existing nodes it is likely that the size of the produced output will change, for example if you modify the input $\sin(x)$ to $\int\sin(x)\text{d}x$. The entries of the spinbox usage-label-4 determine how the new node is aligned relatively to the old node. The default behaviour is middle center, i.e. the middle of the new node is placed on the middle of the old node. Available options are:


top left


top center


top right


middle left


middle center


middle right


bottom left


bottom center


bottom right

Alignment example

Of course, the content of the groupbox usage-label-4 is only available when editing existing nodes.

Colorization of the output

There are two ways for colorization of the output:

  1. The most natural way is to select the produced SVG output in Inkscape and set the fill color to the same value according to your needs. When you re-compile your node this color will be persevered as long as you do not use any color specifications in your LaTeX code.

    New in version 1.5.0: No strokes checkbox

    Note, that bars occuring in \frac, \sqrt, \overline and other commands are colored only by this method if you check the No strokes option in the SVG-Output box usage-label-5 (see Dialog overview). Please note that setting of this option will considerably increase compilation time due to Inkscape API limitations. Hence, this option is disabled by default in new nodes.

    Explanation of stroke to path colorization issue

    You can also colorize characters individually be selecting them with the mouse after having pressed F2. Be careful not to break the group.


    Individual colorization of single characters done in Inkscape will not be kept after re-compilation.

  2. Alternatively, you can use LaTeX commands like \textcolor in your code to colorize the node according to your needs. The required color package is already included in the default_packages.tex preamble file shipped with TexText. If you use such commands any colorization done by Inkscape will be lost after re-compilation. This method is the recommended one if you would like a character wise colorization of your output.

Preview button

When pressing the Preview button usage-label-7 your code will be compiled and the result is displayed as an image in the area below the LaTeX code input field. If the output extends a certain size it is displayed scaled so it fits into the available area. You can double click into the preview image to obtain the result in original size. Then, you can use the horizontal and vertical scroll bars to navigate along your result. Double clicking again will bring you back to the scaled version of the output.

Annotated TexText dialog

If you are using a darkmode theme you can select the option White preview background option from the View menu usage-label-9:

Selection of white preview background Selection of white preview background

Finally, click the Save button to insert the compiled code into your document.


This feature is not available in the Tkinter GUI!

Configuration of the default TeX math-environment

You can open the Settings menu usage-label-8 and then New Node Content to define which environment should be selected by default when creating new nodes.

TexText settings menu (new node content)

You have the following options:

  • Empty: The code editor is empty.

  • Inline math: The code editor is filled with $$ for typesetting an inline math expression.

  • Display math: The code editor is filled with $$$$ for typesetting a display math expression.

(Reminder on the difference between inline and display math)


This feature is not available in the Tkinter GUI!

Selecting the shortcut for closing the TexText window

New in version 0.11.0.

In the Settings menu usage-label-8 you can configure by Confirm Closing Window if TexText should ask for confirmation to close the window in case you made changes to your text. Furthermore, under Close TexText Shortcut you can select a shortcut for closing the TexText window.

TexText settings menu (close shortcut)

You have the following options:

  • Escape (default)

  • CTRL + Q

  • None: No shortcut active. Depending on your operating system a standard shortcut maybe available (e.g. ALT + F4 on Windows).


This feature is not available in the Tkinter GUI!

Configuration of the code editor

You can open the View menu usage-label-9 which offers some possibilities to configure the code editor:

TexText view menu
  • Font Size: Here you can set the font size used in the code editor (since version 1.7.0).

  • Word Wrap: If this option is checked long lines are wrapped automatically to window width.

  • Show line numbers: If this option is checked line numbers are printed on the left hand side of the editor.

  • Enabled auto indent: If this option is checked current indentation is preserved when breaking a new line (this is not an intelligent code dependent indentation feature).

  • Insert spaces instead of Tabs If this option is checked each time you press the Tab key a number of spaces as defined in Tabs Width is inserted instead of a tabulator character.


The last three options are only available if you have GTKSourceView installed together with GTK (see installation instructions TexText on Linux, TexText on Windows, TexText on MacOS)

Further reading

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Troubleshooting