This is a guide to the LaTeX markup language. It is intended to form a useful resource for everybody from new users who wish to learn, to old hands who need a quick reference.

TeX and LaTeX

TeX is a computer program for typesetting documents, created by Donald Knuth. It takes a suitably prepared computer file and converts it to a form which may be printed on many kinds of printers, including dot-matrix printers, laser printers and high-resolution typesetting machines. LaTeX is a set of macros for TeX that aims at reducing the user's task to the sole role of writing the content, LaTeX taking care of all the formatting process. A number of well-established publishers now use TeX or LaTeX to typeset books and mathematical journals. It is also well appreciated by users caring about typography, consistent formatting, efficient collaborative writing and open formats.

This book is organized into different parts:

  • Getting Started will provide you with the very first steps to print your first document: general concepts (very important!), software installation, and basic syntax.
  • Common Elements groups all common features you would expect from a document processor, covering fonts, layout, colors, lists, figures and others.
  • Mechanics are some topics that are not really necessary to write a basic document, but could help you understand how some parts of the machinery work. These topics are required for fine tuning documents. Use them as support for various chapters, as they are often being referred to.
  • Technical Texts focuses on different specialized matters, mostly for scientific work.
  • Special Pages is for the structured pages usually put in appendices.
  • Special Documents: this part tackles other kind of documents different from the classic article style.
  • Creating Graphics is for the process of writing graphics from a LaTeX document.
  • Programming or how to create your own macros and packages.
  • Miscellaneous contains everything that does not fit in the previous parts, like project management and other subjects related to LaTeX but not inherent to LaTeX itself.
  • Help and Recommendations : the FAQ encompasses very common pitfalls and important recommendations for everyone, we urge you to read it; the Tips and Tricks are much more specific matters.
  • Appendices.


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