…learning LaTeX, from scratch!

May 2, 2013
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(This article was first published on Tales of R » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation, and is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents.”

It is also… Free and Open. Specially designed for beautiful documents even when they include special language: mathematic formulae, phonetic symbols, musical notation…

The mix of normal text with special languages is indeed much better arranged in LaTeX than in any other text editor, so maybe it can be interesting for you!. If you want to start using LaTeX, first you have to install it. Here is a previous post with something about LaTeX installation and useful links. In particular, I like the LaTeX editor “TeXworks” for having a simpler GUI -graphic interface-, so that’s what I’m gonna use for this tutorial.

Once installed a LaTeX distribution and a TeX editor (you have both with MiKTeX), you can open TeXworks. Here’s what it looks like:

LaTeXtemplate0

To start making documents, I recommend you to choose one of the templates available:

click: File >> New from Template >> choose Article

LaTeXtemplate

Then, a template will appear. You can highlight the code going to:

Format >> Syntax coloring >> LaTeX

It should look like this:

LaTeXtemplate2

Read carefully this “source file”, that is, the original .tex file, for it provides basic instructions and tips for writing.

Then, you can simply press the green, round button and see what happens… then change something in the source file… then press the button again… and so on.

If you wish to learn to insert things like images, tables, etc… then… Wikibooks is for you, take a look. I hope this tutorial has been useful!


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