What are TeX and its Friends?

Comparing $latex \LaTeX$ versus WYSIWYG: The Beauty of LaTeX

Different IDEs for creating $latex \LaTeX$ documents are listed and discussed here

Tools to crop a PDF file: pdfcrop (crops all whitespace) or BRISS  (select the crop area)

Defining colors in $latex \LaTeX$: DefColors (tex)  DefColors (PDF) image files: DrawRect (PDF) ColorWheel (PDF) FindRGB (PDF) CalcRGB (PDF)

Defining colors in $latex \LaTeX$ using Sage: Paste the Color Chooser Code on the Python/Sage page into a Sage cell (press Shift Enter ) for the fastest way to define colors.

Good overview of $latex \LaTeX$: Getting Something Out of LaTeX

Good references for learning $latex \LaTeX$:

  1. LaTeX Primer
  2. LaTeX Wikibooks
  3. The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX
  4. Online tutorial
  5. PSTricks
  6. PSTricks PDFs
  7. Tikz/pgf plots documentation
  8. Minimal Introduction to Tikz
  9. pgfplots manual

 HOW DO I...?

This section will answer LaTeX basics. You should create and save your tex file with an IDE. Various IDE's are discussed on one of the links above. TeXworksKile, and TeXnicenter are good choices, depending on your operating system. I'm using Gummi because I get a live preview without needing to compile. The engine is pdfTex. Engines are discussed here.

  1. Create a simple document?
  2. Change the default fontsize?
  3. Change the default fontsize (2)?
  4. Start a new line(s) or page? (vertical spacing)
  5. Emphasize text (bold, italics,...)
  6. Change the spacing between lines and paragraphs?
  7. Include mathematical formulas?
  8. Type using color?
  9. Change the default font?
  10. Change the default margins?
  11. Add horizontal space?
  12. Create a list?
  13. Insert a picture?
  14. Align Text (left, right, center)?
  15. Change the page style (number/header/footer)?
  16. Add graphics and text to a picture?
  17. Insert a hyperlink?
  18. Create a table?
  19. Create a multicolumn document?
  20. Get LaTeX to put the picture/table where I want?
  21. Create a tightly cropped picture?
  22. Get fancy text boxes with logos?

 Link to page on Altermundus' Packages

Important Packages


amsmath: the American Mathematical Society's package is the gold standard of typesetting mathematics

amsthm: provides typesetting of theorems, lemmas, corollaries, etc. using AMS standards.

amsfonts: extended font capabilities for those who have a lot of math in their document.

mathtools: an extension of math capabilities of amsmath

skmath: yet more math support for vectors and other high school math topics

nccmath:  even more support for math, especially in typesetting equations

sagetex: gives you the access to Sage, the best open source CAS on the planet.

pgfplots: for creating high quality plots of functions and data

exam: for typesetting exams

spreadtab: for building tables as is done in a spreadsheet

Altermundus packages:

tkz-base: basic control of graphing in the Cartesian plane

tkz-graph: for drawing graph theory graphs

tkz-berge: for drawing graph theory graphs


skak: Fonts and macros for typesetting chess games

texmate: for chess notation

chessboard: for printing chessboards


xcolor: to use color in your document

pdf/tikz: THE package for creating graphics

geometry: gives you control over your margins

hf-tikz: lets you highlight formulas and parts of formulas

soul: for highlighting, underlining, striking out, and more

bclogo: for color boxes and logs

tcolorbox: for colored and framed boxes

graphicx: for inserting jpg, pgn, pdf and other graphics into your document

tikzsymbols: for symbols and emoticons to spice up your document

microtype: other typesetting rule refinements to make LaTeX look even nicer

beamer: for slide shows

multicol: allows you to typesetting your document using multiple columns

blindtext: creates filler for your document

lipsum: another dummy text package

 LaTeX Templates

Sites with lots of Templates to look at:

  1. Templates at ShareLaTex
  2. Templates at WriteLaTeX
  3. LaTeX Templates

Nice Book Templates (personal favorites):

  1. The Legrand Orange Book

  2. Book design inspired by Edward Tufte
  3. PacketPubTemplate (hack of template from jqueralt  posted here. Original template in Catalan.) You'll need this: Remember  graphic for the template to compile.

LeGrand Orange

LeGrandBookCV Template (personal favorite): ModernCV     (with cover letter)

ModernCVBeamer Presentation Templates (personal favorites):

  1. Blackboard Beamer Theme can be downloaded here
  2. Variation with Green chalkboard, chalk, and eraser

BlackboardBeamerThesis Template (personal favorite): Classic Thesis Template

ClassicThesisMath Journal Article:  MathArticleTemplate  (.tex) [4 different font choices]

MathArticleTemplateMath Journal Article: ClassicArticle  (.tex) Classic Thesis style

ClassicArticleSage Code Template:

SageCodeDownload the file: SageCodeExample  (.tex)

"Classic" Letter template


Download the file: ClassicLetter (.tex)

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