LaTeX is a markup language used by much of the mathematics community for creating beautifully typeset documents which include all sorts of mathematical symbols. I encourage (and in some cases require) you to try it out!
I’ve put together this page in an attempt to help you get started using LaTeX. If you have suggestions, etc., please feel free to pass them along.
Big Disclaimer: Proceed at your own risk. Some of what appears below is what has worked for me, some is what I hear has worked for others. I make no claim that it will work for you, that the links work, that the programs are bug (or virus) free, etc.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed.
In order to use LaTeX, one needs both a typesetting engine and also some program to edit your files with. As is the case for many programming languages, there exist a number of front-end applications which provide a text-editing environment designed to be compatible with LaTeX, and from which you can call the typesetting engine.
The following are “standard” suggestions for typesetting engines and front-end applications. However, many other options exist. You might want to consult the Wikipedia page comparing TeX editors. As is always the case when downloading software to your machine, caveat emptor!
- Mac users should download the MacTex package, which includes the front-end application TeXShop.
- Windows users should download proText, which is based on the MikTeX engine and includes the TeXnicCenter front end. Word on the street is that those having difficulty with TeXnicCenter might try WinEdt.
- Linux users can download the typesetting engine TeX Live, though many distributions of Linux come with a LaTeX engine. Emacs is often used for the text editing, though it has been said: “Emacs is a text editor, in the same way the blue whale is a mammal.“
- The LaTeX Wikibook can be a good resource.
- The TeX Users Group website has a plethora of links.
- Additional packages, and documentation for all packages, are available at CTAN.
- Some suggested online resources include:
- The Detexify site is a fun way to spend lots of time.
- I really like George Gratzer’s book More Math Into LaTeX. [Powell’s]
- Ask around: Your colleagues who have LaTeX experience are a good resource. When in doubt, ask the internet.
- The LaTeX2WP code is nice for WordPress bloggers.
- This blog has some nice examples of doing fancy things.
- The title of this post Beautiful fractions and units says it all. (Also, see that page’s list of links.)