LaTeX to PDF on Windows

My previous stab at LaTeX on Windows have left me unsatisfied - LaTeX's Unix roots were showing. I had to get into the DOS box, run one executable to compile the document and another one to generate PDF. I would like this to be much more streamlined.

My objective is to be able to generate PDF files from a currently-edited LaTeX source file via one button click. I am not interested in any other output format and I do not want to get down to the shell.

  1. Download and install MiKTeX from This is the (La)TeX implementation for windows - it's the thing that actually processes and compiles the document. MiKTeX is able to download packages automatically for you which is great. The download is large.
  2. Download and install TeXnicCenter from This is the Windows IDE. It's a good idea to install it after Step 1, since a lot of it is auto-configured once you point it to the MiKTeX installation.
  3. One TeXnicCenter is setup for MiKTeX, you should be notified that the PDF (among others) Profile is created. Write up a sample document. Go to Build -> Output Profile and select LaTeX ==> PDF.  Go to Build -> Current File -> Build and View. If you did everything right, this should compile your document down to a PDF and show it to you in your default PDF viewer.