TeX is an excellent typesetting engine created by renowned mathematician and computer scientist Professor Donald Knuth. LaTeX is Leslie Lamport’s TeX format, enabling you to access the TeX engine in a structured manner, separating content from style. LaTeX was developed by Lamport in 1985 but has since been developed and maintained by the LaTeX3 Project. If you find (La)TeX useful, please consider joining TUG or a local TeX User Group.
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- TUGboat Articles
- LaTeX.net Articles (articles formerly on the LaTeX Community’s “Know How” area have been moved here).
- Nicola L. C. Talbot.
Teaching LaTeX for a staff development course.
The PracTeX Journal, (4) 2007.
- Peter Flom, Hans Hagen, Joe Hogg, Nicola Talbot, Philip
Taylor, Christina Thiele, and David Walden.
What is TeX?
The PracTeX Journal, (3) 2005.
Here is a list of resources you might find useful. Please note I’m not responsible for the contents of external sites.
You can use the texdoc
application to access documentation installed in your TeX Live
distribution. (MiKTeX provides an application with the same name for
a similar purpose.) If you find it’s not picking up your operating system’s
language preferences, you can set the
lang variable in
texdoc.cnf. You can find the location of
this file using:
texdoc -fThis will tell you the recommended file for your personal settings. If it doesn’t already exist, you can create it. For example, on my Linux computer the file is ~/texmf/texdoc/texdoc.cnf and in that file I have:
lang = enThere is also an online documentation lookup at texdoc.org but take care to check the documentation date with the version details for the package you have installed.
For a while, the new LaTeX3 commands were only available by explicitly loading packages. Over the past few years, they have been designated stable and merged into the LaTeX kernel, which means those commands are now available without the need to explicitly load those package, but you still need to know which package they were provided by in order to find the documentation.
- The LaTeX Project (aka LaTeX3 Project): General overview.
xparse package documentation (PDF) (also available via
texdoc xparse). This describes document-level commands like
\NewDocumentEnvironment, which are intended as replacements for
xfp package documentation (PDF) (also available via
texdoc xfp). This describes the commands
\inteval, which are both expandable commands for floating point and integer arithmetic, respectively.
LaTeX3 Interfaces (PDF) (also available via
texdoc interface3). This is the reference documentation for the low-level LaTeX3 commands that are now part of the kernel (these commands have underscores
:in the name) for package writers.
expl3 package and LaTeX3 programming (PDF) (also
texdoc expl3). An introduction to LaTeX3 concepts and comparison between new and old methods.
The comprehensive reference manual can be obtained with
texdoc source3 (PDF over 1600 pages long). This
includes information also available in some of the above. The
reference manual for LaTeX2e can be obtained with
source2e, which is a PDF over 1200 pages long, and documents
kernel command definitions, some of which have been changed to use
the new LaTeX3 internal commands. For example,
\MakeUppercase is now a protected command that
text manipulation command that converts to
uppercase and takes a single
normal argument). See also the LaTeX
Project documentation page for links to other resources.
- Learn LaTeX (learnlatex.org)
- TeXblog - Typography with TeX and LaTeX
- texdev.net: Some TeX Developments (a TeX blog by Joseph Wright)
- LaTeX.net: The LaTeX Network
- TeXample.net (examples and aggregate blog feeds from TeX communities)
- LaTeX for Humans (using LaTeX in the humanities)
- Obsolete classes and packages
- What are other good resources on-line for information about TeX, LaTeX and friends?
- docsurvey – A survey of LaTeX documentation (or
You can search for TeX/LaTeX packages or browse for topics on
the Comprehensive TeX
Archive Network (CTAN).
If you know the name of the package, you can obtain
information from the address
package-name is the name of the package. For example,
to find information on the glossaries package, go to
- Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly. A Guide to LaTeX. Addison-Wesley.
- Michel Goossens, Frank Mittelbach and Alexander Samarin. The LaTeX Companion. Addison-Wesley.
- Leslie Lamport. LaTeX: a Document Preparation System. Addison-Wesley.
- Michel Goossens, Sebastian Rahtz and Frank Mittelbach. The LaTeX Graphics Companion: Illustrating Documents with TeX and PostScript. Addison-Wesley.
- Michel Goossens and Sebastian Rahtz with Eitan Gurari, Ross Moore and Robert Sutor. The LaTeX Web Companion: Integrating TeX, HTML and XML. Addison-Wesley.
- Stefan Kottwitz. LaTeX Beginner’s Guide. Packt Publishing, 2011.
- Marc van Dongen. LaTeX and Friends. Springer, 2012.
The easiest way of installing TeX is to install it from the TeX Live DVD which is distributed to members of TUG. However, TeX distributions can also be downloaded from the internet.
- Obtaining TeX Live (TUG)
- proTeXt - MiKTeX-based distribution for Windows (TUG)
- YouTube - MikTeX and TeXnicCenter Installation
- The very short guide to typesetting with LaTeX (PDF)
- Getting something out of LaTeX
- NASA GISS: Help on LaTeX Commands
- Text Processing using LaTeX
- AmS-LaTeX Version 1.0 User’s Guide
- LaTeX for Linguists
- Getting to Grips with LaTeX
- Documentation of LaTeX class and package writing
- Chroma: a reference book of LaTeX colours
- The Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List (Required reading for anyone who asks "how do I get the symbol for ...?")
- Typefaces with TEX: a selection of those distributed with TEX Live 2008 (PDF)
- Fonts and TeX (TUG)
- The LaTeX Font Catalogue (TUG)
- A Survey of Free Math Fonts for TeX and LaTeX
There are some useful tools to help automate the process of building a document. These include:
- TeX4ht Converts LaTeX and TeX to HTML (as well as other formats.)
- TtH Translates either plain TeX or LaTeX documents to HTML.
- LaTeX2HTML Converts LaTeX documents to HTML (Perl script.)
- Hevea Converts LaTeX to HTML (written in Objective Caml.)
- lwarp Converts LaTeX to HTML. Assistance provided for conversion to EPUB and word processors.
- LaTeX2rtf Converts (limited) LaTeX to RTF.
- pdftohtml Converts PDF to HTML.
See also CTAN’s Convert HTML topic.
- albatross a command-line application that finds fonts that contain a given Unicode glyph.
- latexindent a Perl script to indent LaTeX files. (See also YouTube - latexindent.pl demonstration (using arara))
- The Island of TeX has a selection of applications and TeX-related projects (including arara and albatross).
- GeoGebra can export drawings to pstricks and tikz formats
- Scribus is a desktop publishing application but can be used to create PDFs.
- BrlTex Open source LaTeX to braille translator.
- latex-access Realtime translation of a line of LaTeX into braille.
- accsupp package (better accessibility support for PDF files).
- accessibility package (create tagged and structured PDF files).
- axessibility package (access to formulas in PDF files by assistive technologies).
- tagpdf package (tagging PDF files with pdfLaTeX and LuaLaTeX).
- Blindmath This newsgroup isn’t specifically TeX-related, but there are TeX users on this list who may be able to help with related TeX queries.
- Mathematics For Computer Generated Spoken Documents (T.V Raman’s Audio System for Technical Readings)
See also CTAN’s Accessibility Support topic.
If you want to post a query to any newsgroup, forum or mailing list, make sure you first read How to ask a question. Remember that you’re more likely to get a prompt response if you provide a minimal example.
- TeX Frequently Asked Questions Got a query about TeX/LaTeX? This is the first place to go!
- TeX - LaTeX on StackExchange A Q&A site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems.
- LaTeX Community A forum for LaTeX users covering various topics.
- comp.text.tex newsgroup. Note that newsgroups are best viewed using a newsreader that can filter out the spam. If English isn’t your first language, there’s also fr.comp.text.tex, hun.comp.text.tex and de.comp.text.tex.
- texhax mailing list.
- pdftex mailing list.
- There are various other TUG mailing lists in addition to the texhax and pdftex mailing lists.
- LaTeX - TeXnique (French)
- TeX und LaTeX, Fragen und Antworten (German)
- goLaTeX (German)
- Comunidade de LaTeX (Brazilian Portuguese)
- MacOSX-TeX Mailing List
- MiKTeX FAQ
Other non-English resources may be available. Check your local TeX User Group (if one exists) for further information.
Some of the big packages (for example pgf/tikz) also have their own mailing lists or forums. If you look up the package on CTAN, it will provide a link to the package’s home page, if one exists. (However most packages don’t have one.)
LaTeX is great at producing good quality documents, but a well typeset document isn’t a guarantee that you will have instant success in publishing it. If you are thinking of self-publishing or being published, be aware of the pitfalls.
- Travels in TeX Land: The post-typesetting phase of producing a book In this article from The PracTeX Journal, Dave Walden provides some useful advice on what to do once you have typeset your book and are thinking about publishing it. See also Dave Walden’s Notes on Self-publishing.
- Self Publishing and Independent Publishing Trade Association In particular, read their FAQ.
- If you’re trying to submit a manuscript to a publisher or
literary agent, remember that most publishers and agents require
manuscripts in a certain format. This format usually includes
double-spacing, single-sided, single spaces between sentences
\frenchspacing), ragged right and wide margins so you’ll need to convert your nicely typeset document into something that looks like it’s been created on a typewriter. The sffms class file is a good place to start. See also Writer Beware.
- If you want to self-publish a novel using LaTeX, have a look at the novel class.
- Renni Browne and Dave King. Self-Editing for Fiction Writes: How to Edit Yourself into Print. Collins 2004.
- Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. How Not To Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at all Costs if You Ever Want to Get Published. Penguin 2009.
- Pat Walsh. 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never be Published and 14 Reasons Why it Just Might. Penguin 2005.