Introduction to LaTeX

11

Learn how to use the system that will let you produce professional-grade reports.

Follow me on Twitter, where I write about Python, APL, and maths.

Purpose

In this workshop I look to introduce people to typesetting with LaTeX. LaTeX is a system that allows one to write complex documents in a simple manner.

As a mathematician, I like it because it makes it very simple to write formulas. As an example, typing $x^2$ gets rendered as \(x^2\). In a mathematics course it turns out to be very helpful to know how to use LaTeX decently. The workshop just gives an overview of the type of things that can be done and that maths, physics, and other students eventually need to use.

Even so, the usefulness of LaTeX goes well beyond mathematics students/mathematicians, and authors across all sciences use LaTeX to write their articles, reports and other written documents. LaTeX is also commonly used to write Msc. and PhD. thesis.

Content

The content of the workshop revolves around giving working knowledge of how to write a LaTeX document from the ground up. Refer to the template pdf to see exactly the commands/environments/... that are covered.

Feedback

Here is what some people had to say about the contents of the workshop and the way I led it:

An excelent introduction to LaTeX, in a friendly environment, with time to introduce not only the basics but also the important and useful details.” — António Figueiras

Explained objectively and with very interesting tips. Simple language and concrete examples.” — Carolina Salvador

The information provided was relevant and will be useful for my degree, it was given in a way that was easy to understand and laid the foundations to work with LaTeX.” — Anonymous

Useful links

Besides sharing a complete template with everything we cover in the workshop (and more!), I always point the students to these really helpful resources:

  • the TeX Paste tool, that allows you to create permanent links to formulas to share easily;
  • the Overleaf website, where one can create LaTeX documents online and edit them collaboratively and online;
  • the latex.stackexchange website, where I search for how to do X or Y, whenever I want to do something that is not immediately obvious;
  • the codecogs site, where one can typeset formulas and check if the result is making any sense. It also has a nice palette of frequently-used symbols, so that we don't have to type them out;
  • the detexify website, very helpful when you know how to draw a symbol but don't know its name;
  • this website that makes it easier to create table.

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