An Introduction to LaTeX software

Most scientific research journals today expect their authors to produce their articles using LaTeX. However, most of the people who use LaTeX for the first time usually say that they will no longer use this software when they are still halfway through.

But once they are done, they say that they will not use any other software at all. The reason is very clear because LaTeX has a command for every purpose and you need to know these commands to be able to use it efficiently. If you do not spend enough time to learn these commands at first, you will have to spend a lot more time in the future to fix your writing problems.

What is TeX?

It is a typesetting system designed by Donald Knuth at Stanford University for the typesetting of documents, especially those with many mathematical formulas. TeX is a free software and the copyright is owned by the American Mathematical Society.

What is LaTeX?

LaTEX is a set of macros, providing the author with the best possible typesetting and document printing. LaTEX was written by Leslie Lamport and uses TeX as a typesetting engine. LaTEX is very suitable for producing high quality scientific and mathematical text. It is also proper for producing all kinds of text, from simple letters to complete books.

Today we will briefly introduce LaTeX and its many applications. So read the following article to get a general idea of what LaTeX is and how you can use it.

LaTeX can be used in many ways:

  • Typesetting of books
  • Typesetting of articles
  • Typesetting of reports
  • Making a slide

And other things that require advanced typesetting. In mathematics, engineering, physics, and texts with a great number of complex formulas, we recommend you to use LaTeX. So LaTeX is more popular among academics, especially in the students of basic sciences and engineering.

Now you might think why should we use LaTeX when there are Microsoft Office, Open Office, and liber Office software?

Because:

  1. The copyright of the LaTeX software is free of charge and it is not exclusive.
  2. Documents produced with LaTeX are stable.
  3. It offers high-quality typesetting for texts with mathematical formulas
  4. For the typesetting of a book or article, it requires only a few commands to define the structure of the text, and there is no need to know how to design a book or article.

The files produced in LaTeX are independent of the operating system. That means it doesn’t depend on any particular operating system, and it outputs correctly in Windows, Linux, and even Apple’s operating systems. However, Microsoft Office files are not running well on Linux and Apple operating systems.

Moreover, LaTeX automatically generates the requirements of scientific texts, such as:

  • Reference
  • Index
  • Citations
  • Table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, …

Installation of LaTeX Software

To get started you need a software that can compile files written by LaTeX and produce an output in pdf format.

You must first install one of the following two software on your computer:

Texlive 2015

MikTEx

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