LaTeX Tips

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LaTeX is a very powerful system for typesetting a wide variety of mathematical, scientific, and technical documents. It’s very helpful to anyone studying math or going into a technical field. The purpose of this page is to help you learn how to use it effectively.

If you’re just starting out, I recommend getting an account at Overleaf, which provides a free online editor and compiler, and takes a lot of setup work off your hands. It also has a bunch of sample documents, which tend to be the easiest way to get started. (There are a number of similar services; I recommend Overleaf primarily because that’s what we used last year).

At some point you may want more control and responsiveness and want to install the system on your computer. For a back-end you can install MikTeX or TeX Live. There are a number of front-ends which vary from platform to platform. If you’re the sort of person who has a “favorite text editor”, then your favorite text editor probably has LaTeX support.

In many ways the most important part of a TeX file is the “preamble”, which contains a lot of options and “use package” commands. If you are using someone else’s code and getting errors you don’t understand, making sure you have the same packages called as they do can often help a lot. To get started, just steal someone else’s preamble, since it’s not obvious exactly what you need to do.

Useful resources:

Helpful Troubleshooting Tips