LaTeX is a powerful document preparation system. While the start-up costs may seem high, it allows one to output high-quality and customizable pdf documents. LaTeX is a document markup language, meaning that it consists of syntax that specifies to the program how the document is to be formatted - that is, typesetting instructions. More common examples of markup languages are HTML and XML. Markup embedded in a LaTeX document conveys formatting and processing specifications to the TeX engine.
To begin using LaTeX, you will need two things:
- LaTeX front end / text editor to write a .tex file
- LaTeX compiler that processes the .tex file and outputs the final document
The compiler and editor you install are going to be dependent upon your operating system. There are a variety of text editors that can create and edit .tex files, and so there is plenty of room for personal preference. Note that an editor is often bundled with the TeX engine.
- LaTeX Wikibooks
- The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX
- LaTeX Tutorials, by Andy Roberts
- "Messy Notes of a LaTeX User"
- Detexify LaTeX Symbol Classifier
* Thanks to Matt Blackwell for lending us some of his materials.