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1. Introduction

Many PhD students in the sciences are encouraged to produce their PhD thesis in LaTeX, particularly if their work involves a lot of mathematics. In addition, these days, LaTeX is no longer the sole province of mathematicians and computer scientists and is now starting to be used in the arts and social sciences (see, for example, some of the topics listed in the TeX online catalogue [3]). This book is intended as a brief guide on how to typeset the various components that are usually required for a thesis. If you have never used LaTeX before, I recommend that you first read Volume 1: LaTeX for Complete Novices [15], as this book assumes you have a basic knowledge of LaTeX. As with Volume 1, I'll be using PDFLaTeX and TeXWorks. If you are creating a DVI file or you are using a different editor, you'll have to adapt the instructions.

If you are unfamiliar with terms such as “preamble”, read Volume 1. If you don't know how to find package documentation, read Volume 1.

Throughout this document there are pointers to related topics in the UK List of TeX Frequently Asked Questions (UK FAQ).These are displayed in the text like this:[What is LaTeX?] You may find these resources useful in answering related questions that are not covered in this book.

To refresh your memory or for those who haven't read Volume 1, throughout this book, source code is illustrated in the form:

This is an \textbf{example}.

The corresponding output (how it will appear in the PDF document)1.1 is illustrated like this:

Image showing typeset output click here for a more detailed description.

(Commands typeset in blue, such as \par, indicate a hyperlink to the command definition in the summary.)

Command definitions are shown in a typewriter font in the form:

\documentclass[<options>]{<class file>}

In this case the command being defined is called \documentclass and text typed <like this> (such as <options> and <class file>) indicates the type of thing you need to substitute. (Don't type the angle brackets!) For example, if you want the scrbook class file you would substitute <class file> with scrbook and if you want the letterpaper option you would substitute <options> with letterpaper, like this:


When it's important to indicate a space, the visible space symbol  is used. For example:


When you type up the code, replace any occurrences of with a space.


Be careful of the dangers of obsolete code propagation. It often happens that students pass on their LaTeX code to new students who, in their turn, pass it on to the next lot of students, and so on. You're told “use this magic bit of code to format your thesis” without knowing what it does. Ancient buggy code that's 20 years out-of-date festers in university departments refusing to die. But if it worked for previous students, what's the problem? The problem is that it may stop working a week before your submission date and when you go for help, you may be told you're using obsolete packages and there's nothing for it but to rewrite your thesis using the modern alternatives.

How do you know if a package is obsolete? Some of the obsolete packages and commands are listed in l2tabu [18], or you can check to see if a package is listed in the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN)'s obsolete tree (http://mirror.ctan.org/obsolete/). Stefan Kottwitz also has a list of obsolete classes and packages in his TeXblog. The other thing to do is check the package's entry on CTAN to see if it has been deprecated. For example, suppose someone tells you to use the glossary package. If you go to http://ctan.org/pkg/glossary it will tell you that the glossary package is no longer supported and that it's been replaced by the glossaries package. Similarly, if you go to http://ctan.org/pkg/epsfig it will tell you that the epsfig package is obsolete and you should use graphicx instead.


... document)1.1
This HTML version of the book uses bitmaps to illustrate the output, which doesn't look as good as the actual PDF version.

This book is also available as A4 PDF or 12.8cm x 9.6cm PDF or paperback (ISBN 978-1-909440-02-9).

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