Introduction to LaTeX

LaTeX/TeX is a mark-up language which produces attractive text. LaTeX typesets a text file with commands which describe how the text should be formatted. Like other languages, it is best learned by looking at examples.

The advantages of LaTeX include that it is public domain, platform and printer independent, allows mathematical symbols and equations to be entered much easier and quicker than word processors, and produces camera ready text. Its disadvantage is that it is not as easy to learn initially as a word processor.

Another reason for using LaTeX is that markup languages are becoming more important. But the most important reason is that after you learn LaTeX, you can focus on your writing and become more productive.

TeX consists of primitive operations as in other programming languages. LaTeX automates the common tasks of document preparation and provides a simpler way to use the power of TeX without having to learn the entire language.

Look at this LaTeX file to see examples of various TeX commands and then look at the output to see the typesetted file. Download TeX file and figures.

Running TeX on Linux:
  1. emacs filename.tex or use another editor.
  2. latex filename.tex (.tex not needed)
  3. xdvi filename.dvi (display file)


Please send comments and corrections to Harvey Gould,

Updated 16 June 2013.