LaTeX (pronounced "lah-tek") is the most commonly used variant of TeX, a mathematical typesetting system. It is used by mathematicians, engineers, and many other scientists to produce nice-looking mathematical text. On this page you will find resources for getting started with LaTeX. LaTeX takes a bit of effort to learn, but the effort pays off as ultimately it is **much** easier to use than an equation editor or other system not designed for mathematics.

To write a LaTeX document, you **do not use** Microsoft Word (or any other word processor). Instead, you use a text editor, preferably one that comes with your LaTeX installation. A LaTeX document consists of three basic parts: a header (which includes formatting commands), natural language text (e.g. English), and mathematical text. The mathematical text is integrated into the English text but is placed either between dollar signs or other symbols representing the start and end of an equation. There are special commands which produce the various mathematical symbols. A LaTeX document is saved with a .tex extension and is then compiled to produce a pdf.

**Here are ways to use/install a LaTeX system for yourself**:

- Use LaTeX on the "cloud": Overleaf is the most popular choice. You can set up a free account that is more than sufficient for the purposes of your undergraduate coursework. Note that these systems are designed for people collaborating on research papers. You should not share LaTeX code with your classmates.
- LaTeX is already installed on the computers in the Math/Stats department. (Find TeXShop under Applications)
- MacTeX (the system for Mac computers)

**Note:**Be sure to use the program TeXShop and not LaTeXIt (which also comes bundled with MacTex) You may have to change your settings to ensure that files with the .tex extension open in TeXShop. - TeXStudio is another LaTeX installation which some people (especially CS oriented types) prefer as it includes features for easier typing.
- MikTeX (a system for Windows and other operating systems)
- other options for installing it on your own computer.

**Here are resources to help you write your own LaTeX documents**:

- Overleaf has a collection of useful video tutorials. You definitely don't need most of what is covered.
- Here is a template for getting started. Save it to a folder on your computer or upload it to your account on Overleaf. Don't attempt to open these files in a web browser, use your LaTeX installation or Overleaf.
- The template file (named LaTeX-template.tex). This is a sample HW file. After downloading and reading its contents (in the LaTeX distribution) or uploading it to Overleaf, you should attempt to compile it. If you can't get it to produce a PDF (as below), seek help from me or the TAs. Once you have it working, you can rename it and change its contents for your own purposes.
- I have put extensive comments in the template file. You should read them to get an understanding of how LaTeX works. If you want a version without the comments, here it is.
- When you compile the template file, you should get a PDF that looks like this. You may need to compile it twice to get the internal references to show up.

- The Not So Short Introduction to LaTex. A very useful manual. But you don't need to read the whole thing.
- Can't find the symbol you want? Try Detexify. You can draw the symbol you want and it will tell you the command. You can also look through the entire list of symbols.
- The wikibook LaTeX is also very good.
- Also, remember that Google (or other favorite search engine) is your friend. If you're having a problem, search the web for the answer. Perhaps your answer will be found on StackExchange.