Dror Baron: Getting started in latex
Several students, collaborators, and friends have asked me how to get started in Latex.
Instead of repeating the emails, I hope to organize the tips in an easily accesible
Latex is a very simple programming language, a bit similar to HTML.
Latex is primarily used in the science and engineering community to write
documents that contain lots of equations, but can be used for other
An example of Latex in action (from my first conference paper in 1999)
can be accessed via
Please note that this somewhat old example used "bibitem" entries in the
Latex source. It is more sophisticated to use a "bibtex" file, which is a sort
of repository of all the papers you have cited over the years. Then, each
paper can cite entries within the bibtex file, and an extra "compilation
phase" creates the bibitem entries into an appropriately arranged file.
Additionally, using bibtex has the advantage that citations appear in any
order (alphabetical, chronological, etc.)
that is appropriate for the publication being created.
In the future I may add another Latex example that includes a bibtex file.
Start with the introductory
Another alternative is to look into the
As explained above, Latex is a sort of simple programming language,
and in order to translate it to a PS or PDF file you need a sort of
translation or compilation software.
Some people will run Latex on their personal computer (PC). Others will run
in in a Unix environment. In case you want to run it on your PC, and this
is recommended in order to be independent from various external constraints,
then a good software to use is called Miktex. This is an open source Latex
compiler. You can read about Miktex
Miktex, but this is a pretty big download (hundreds of MB).
They say that practice makes perfect, and indeed it
can help to write a few brief examples. In the future I may
post examples of my own here with figures, citations, and so on.
Alternately, I might add a link to a more mature website.
Once you become proficient, there are more serious manuals.
The following internet
includes links to several manuals; I personally have one the books
by Goosens and co-authors.
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