# Student Resources: Writing Mathematics with LaTeX

## What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a document preparation system for mathematics and other technical material. It's the world standard for producing papers in math. Learning to use LaTeX is essential for Haverford Math majors.

- Further information: LaTeX vs. TeX

## Overview of using LaTeX

The usual process for producing a document with LaTeX is as follows.

- You use a "front end" program to create and edit a file that contains the LaTeX code for the
document.
Let's say this file is called
`mypaper.tex`

. It consists of a mix of English and LaTeX commands. The recommended front end programs are TeXworks for Windows and TeXShop for Mac OS. - Once you have typed a sufficient fragment
of
`mypaper.tex`

, you press a button in the front end program that invokes the "back end" programs (LaTeX and TeX) which produce a typeset output file called`myfile.pdf`

. The front-end program also launches a pdf viewer so that you can see the output file. - Return to Step 1 to continue work on the document.

## Where to find LaTeX on campus

The computers in the following computing labs are set up with a complete LaTeX system.

- KINSC H204 (IITS lab). Windows computers. Front end: TeXworks, available in the Start Menu in the folder MikTex 2.9.
- KINSC H012 (Math Department Lab) and H215. Macs. Front end: TeXShop.

## Getting LaTeX on your own computer

The following TeX **distributions**
provide a full LaTeX system by bundling
together front-end programs with all the back-end programs and
support packages you'll need.

### Macintosh

The standard TeX distribution for OS X is is MacTeX. The current version is MacTeX-2012. It includes the front ends TeXShop and TeXworks, both in the folder /Applications/TeX. The installation is straightforward, simply run the MacTeX installer package. For further information, see the LaTeX on Macintosh page.

### Windows

The standard TeX distribution for Windows is is MikTeX. The current version is 2.9. Under normal circumstances, you should install the "Basic" MikTeX system. This installs the most commonly used TeX packages; more exotic packages will be downloaded automatically as needed. MikTeX includes the TeXworks front end. (Look under MikTeX 2.9 in the Start Menu.) See the LaTeX on Windows page for further information.

### Linux, etc.

The standard TeX distribution for Unix and Unix-like operating systems is TeX Live. The easiest way to get Tex Live is to find it in the package repository of your OS distribution. The TeXworks and Texmaker front ends are available for Linux. It is also possible to use your favorite Unix editor to produce LaTeX source files; for example, GNU emacs together with the auctex package (already included in many emacs distributions) provides a full-featured front end.

## Learning LaTeX

### For beginning users

- One of the best ways to learn LaTeX is to examine and modify a
sample LaTeX source file.
Here is Curtis Greene's sample file:

- LaTeX source file: papershell2010.tex.
- PDF output file: papershell2010.pdf.
- Sample graphics file: myfile.pdf. To
see how to embed a pdf graphic into a LaTeX document, download
`myfile.pdf`

, put it in the same folder as`papershell2010.tex`

, and then typeset`papershell2010.tex`

.

And here is Liz Beazley's sample file:

- LaTeX source file: IntroTeX2012.tex.
- PDF output file: IntroTeX2012.pdf.
- Sample graphics file: TeXfigure.pdf. Read the source file for instructions on how to modify it to include this figure.

- Beginning users should consult the The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX, or George Graetzer's Short Course. Web videos to accompany the "Short Course" are here.

### For users with some experience

- The LaTeX Wikibook is a good source of information.
- LaTeX and TeX are mature programs that have been around a long
time. (They predate the internet, if you can imagine that!) Yet,
they have also changed significantly over time. Thus, there is a
lot of obsolete information about LaTeX and TeX on the
web. Unfortunately, when you do an undirected web
search to get information, this obsolete information often comes
up. It helps to know about the following authoratitive web sites:
- The TeX Users Group (TUG). TUG maintains an introductory page for TeX/LaTeX and a list of TeX Resources on the Web.
- The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN).

- The document An essential guide to LATEX 2e usage: Obsolete commands and packages is an excellent guide for discriminating the "right" and "wrong" ways to do something in LaTeX.
- If you are looking for the command to produce a
particular symbol, try one of the two resources below.
- DeTeXify is a web service that finds LaTeX commands matching any symbol that you sketch with your mouse. It's the quickest way to find the right command for that tricky symbol you are looking for.
- The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List contains over 5900 symbols. Start with Section 1.2, "Frequently Requested Symbols", and then search the index.

- Various books are available in the Math Lounge and the Math
computer lab, including
*Math Into Latex*by George Grätzer.

### For all users

David Lippel is available for LaTeX consultations during his Computing Office hours, and at other times by appointment.

## Slides

You can make sophisticated slides for presentations using the LaTeX
package called **beamer**. *More information to come...*

Last modified: Fri Oct 31 14:59:30 EDT 2014 by David Lippel.