Friday, December 21, 2018

Getting LaTeX . . .

[Here's a video overview if you need help with this website!]

Your preferences matter! There are many ways to use TeX/LaTeX . . .

  • Linux/UNIX: Check your Linux/UNIX distributions software source for a TeX distribution, including LaTeX. You can also install the current TeX Live distribution directly---in fact, this may be advisable as many Linux/UNIX distributions only contain older versions of TeX Live; see Linux TeX Live package status for details.
  • Mac OS X: The MacTeX distribution contains everything you need, including a complete TeX system with LaTeX itself and editors to write documents. This is what I use and the one I am most able to help with.
  • Windows: Check out the MiKTeX or proTeXt or TeX Live distributions; they contain a complete TeX system with LaTeX itself and editors to write documents.

M11 Seminar

What is LaTeX?
LaTeX is an advanced document preparation system widely used by mathematicians, scientists, engineers, philosophers, linguists, economists, and other academic scholars. It is generally considered the fastest and most professional way to write documents containing lots of mathematical equations or different languages. It is also very robust at handling extensive documents. In LaTeX, input (mostly plain text) and output (mostly pdf) are split into different files. This typesetting system offers programmable desktop publishing features and extensive facilities for automating most aspects of typesetting and desktop publishing, including numbering and cross-referencing, tables and figures, page layout, and bibliographies.

LaTeX was originally written in the early 1980s by Leslie Lamport at SRI International. It has become the dominant method for using TeX---relatively few people write in plain TeX anymore.

LaTeX refers only to the language in which documents are written, not to the editor used to write those documents. To create a document in LaTeX, a .tex file must be made using a text editor. While most text editors can create a LaTeX document, many editors have been designed specifically for working with LaTeX.

Seminar Organization
An introduction will be given on January 22, 2019, in room 3420. A basic overview that will hopefully provide enough information to get those in attendance started.

Installing LaTeX?
An excellent textbook written by George Grätzer, entitled More Math Into LaTeX, is available for purchase, and I do encourage you to buy this book, but for now, you might just want to download the free online version [7.2 MB]. Indeed, if you want to continue learning how to use LaTeX here at, you will absolutely need this free online textbook to get started. When you expand the file you just downloaded, you'll be shocked to find a massive directory of files, but you just need the file within this directory named Short_Course.pdf.

[Here's a video if you need help!]

If you don't have a working version of LaTeX installed, you will have to skip forward in this e-book and start with Appendix A. This will outline the steps on how to install LaTeX. Mac OS X's typical installation consists of TEX Live and TeXShop, while a standard installation on Windows consists of WinEdt and MiKTeX. So please read Appendix A and get ready to start learning LaTeX.

Windows users should concentrate on section A.1, and Mac OS X users should focus on A.2. Yes, you need to get busy doing this because without having a running LaTeX installation, you won't be able to typeset this into that.

[Here's a video if you need help!]

Assignment Schedule

When you're ready, you'll need to do the exercises listed below, in sequence, and then submit the LaTeX source for each exercise. You should name your exercises with the following convention,


where the ## should be a two-digit assignment number. When you're done, you should mail your assignment, as an attachment, to:

Before starting, I suggest that you download the student directory first. It includes all files and is nicely organized. It's going to be tough going at first, but if you read the lesson.##.tex and look at the output lesson.##.pdf for each class, you should figure out how to do each exercise. The exercise for each assignment is to reproduce the exercise.##.pdf using LaTeX. For each of these twelve assignments, you'll need to submit the LaTeX source. [Some excellent hints are available here!]  [Here's a video if you need help!]

[Here's a video if you need help!]
  1. METCS Seminar Orientation – January 22, 2019, room 3420: Read the introduction and acknowledgments before proceeding forward. If you move on, please be aware that this will require a lot of work to complete!
  2. During the next two weeks, you should do the following:
    1. Read through the Forward, Preface, and Introduction of Short_Course.pdf. Write a short email to the book’s author (you need to cc thanking him for providing these materials free of charge. [Here's a video if you need help!]
    2. Read Chapters 1 and 2 of Short_Course.pdf. Make sure you can do the examples presented in these readings. [Here's a video if you need help!]
    3. Read Chapter 3 of Short_Course.pdf. Make sure you can do the examples presented in these readings. Try typesetting some of the mathematics presented. No need to memorize---you can always look it up when the need arises. [Here's a video if you need help!]
  3. Typeset and study lesson.01.tex source; reproduce exercise.01.pdf [Here's a video!]
  4. Typeset and study lesson.02.tex source; reproduce exercise.02.pdf [Here's a video!]
  5. Typeset and study lesson.03.tex source; reproduce exercise.03.pdf [Here's a video!]
  6. Typeset and study lesson.04.tex source; reproduce exercise.04.pdf [Here's a video!]
  7. Typeset and study lesson.05.tex source; reproduce exercise.05.pdf [Here's a video!]
  8. Typeset and study lesson.06.tex source; reproduce exercise.06.pdf [Here's a video!]
  9. Typeset and study lesson.07.tex source; reproduce exercise.07.pdf [Here's a video!]
  10. Typeset and study lesson.08.tex source; reproduce exercise.08.pdf [Here's a video!]
  11. Typeset and study lesson.09.tex source; reproduce exercise.09.pdf [Here's a video!]
  12. Typeset and study lesson.10.tex source; reproduce exercise.10.pdf [Here's a video!]
  13. Typeset and study lesson.11.tex source; reproduce exercise.11.pdf [Here's a video!]
  14. Typeset and study lesson.12.tex source; reproduce exercise.12.pdf [Here's a video!]
  15. Download all files and play around with folders named 13 and thesis. [13, thesis]

Monday, December 17, 2018

Forum . . .

I am hopeful that this site and online course will facilitate a better understanding of how to use LaTeX. Please get involved and help others join in. Leave a comment---we all need to know who's on board . . .

There's also a forum where registered users can post and answer questions about each assignment. I am hopeful that we will form a community of learners that are willing to learn and teach together.