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I'm looking for a note-taking app in which I can both (i) write equations with LaTeX syntax, and (ii) paste in images without saving them to a file first.

The first of these can be done with any Markdown editor. I currently use the Markdown+Math extension for VS Code, which works well for (i) but doesn't seem to support images. Other Markdown editors may support images, but I don't want to have to save them as a file and write Markdown code to include then. Instead I'd like to just take a screen shot and then add it to the notes with CMD-V, as I would in a Stack Exchange post, and have the image saved automatically alongside the text.

Here's a list of my requirements, including the above two plus a few more.

  • Supports LaTeX syntax for equations (e.g. via KaTeX or MathJax)
  • Supports adding images with CMD-V, without requiring them to be saved separately
  • Uncluttered user interface
  • Free or relatively inexpensive
  • not web based
  • not subscription based
  • Runs on Mac OS X 10.11 10.15

(A previous version of this question specified OS X 10.11, but I decided to take the plunge and upgrade over the Christmas period, so more 'modern' apps are ok now too.)

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  • It willl not completely answer your request, but you can take notes in markdown, inserting in it latex equations and then generate latex/pdf/htlm with pandoc sofware. I have just tested Typora software: it allows to insert images in markdown file by copy and paste or by sliding an image. Worth being tested in my opinion.
    – Damien
    Dec 11 '20 at 18:03
  • @Damien Markdown-based is fine - I use Markdown already, as I mentioned in the question. Typora looks great and is probably worth an answer, but unfortunately for me it needs OS X 10.13.4 or higher.
    – Nathaniel
    Dec 12 '20 at 2:09
  • Sorry, as you mentioned Latex in the title, I thought you wanted to use it instead of markdown. Typora site mentions a beta version for OS X 10.13.4, not for older versions effectively
    – Damien
    Dec 12 '20 at 6:45
  • @Damien I've edited the title to make it clear I only need LaTeX syntax, not LaTeX itself. I'd actually prefer a MathJax or KaTeX solution (via Markdown or otherwise), since they're faster.
    – Nathaniel
    Dec 12 '20 at 7:45
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The Desktop Wiki zim is written in python and fulfills all your requirements.

You can write text quickly with a minimal markup and use LaTeX for Formulas. Have a look at the nice screenshots on https://zim-wiki.org/screenshots.html https://github.com/zim-desktop-wiki/zim-desktop-wiki/blob/master/website/files/screenshots/zim-equation-editor-2.png

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I'm writing a self-answer, based on the suggestion by Damien in the comments of Typora. Here are some pros and cons. (The cons are all very minor and most of them might get fixed, since it's in beta currently.)

Pros:

  • It's exactly what I was looking for - a Markdown-based note taking app with an uncluttered UI that supports LaTeX syntax (via MathJax) and lets you paste in images.

  • It supports various syntaxes for drawing diagrams, which is actually pretty handy for me.

  • It supports using \newcommand in LaTeX code, which then applies throughout the file. (This doesn't work in VS Code.)

Cons:

  • It's free while it's in Beta, but there's no indication of how much it will cost after that.

  • Text entry and editing behaves subtly differently from other MacOS apps sometimes. (e.g. it automatically inserts a paragraph break when pressing enter, which I don't like at all, but I'll get used to it.)

  • No option to change the delimiters for maths mode - it's $ and $$ or nothing.

By default it saves images in a central folder in ~/Application Support, but you can change it to save them in a local [filename].assets folder, which I find more future-proof.

Basically, Typora is a very good solution.

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