Installing and Learning to Use LaTeX
Monday, September 21, 2009,
2:58 PM )
It's freeware, and there are numerous versions available on the web. The TeX Users Group has installer sites for Mac, Windows, and Unix front-ends, TeX itself, and all the packages that go with it. Only the Mac site has been tested by us, but they're a reputable group. Each of these sites will lead you through the process.
There are plenty of places to go for help with LaTeX, ranging from Wikipedia to several TeX users groups. Here are a few:
- To practice with mathematical expressions: open LaTeXiT (at least available on Macs with TeXShop): Applications-TeX-LaTeXiT
- To experiment with documents, open LaTeX, open a new file, click on templates, and choose LaTeX template.
- Getting Started:
- Help Sites:
- Other people who use LaTeX: Most of us learn a lot just from asking other people who use LaTeX for help. If you can envision something you'd like to do, LaTeX can probably do it. You just need to find someone who knows how, or who can point you in the right direction. Many of us in the Math/CS department use LaTeX, and can probably help you.
Typing up documents: Most people don't start ever start with a blank LaTeX document, because it's too much trouble to remember all the things that can be involved in setting up a document. We just copy one we already have that has the format we're looking for, delete the main body of it, and start afresh.
LaTeX is not a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) system like Word is. You type set-up commands, commands for what you want, various different environments into what's called the source file. Then you choose to typeset your document to see what it will look like (there's a typeset button at the top of the source file window). Up will pop a pdf file, which your actual document. (This is similar to the difference between what the source file for a web page looks like, and what the actual web page looks like). Every time you add or make a change in your source file, you have to typeset the document again to see the changes or additions take effect.
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