Book Image

LaTeX Beginner's Guide

By : Stefan Kottwitz, Robin TUG
Book Image

LaTeX Beginner's Guide

By: Stefan Kottwitz, Robin TUG

Overview of this book

LaTeX is high-quality Open Source typesetting software that produces professional prints and PDF files. However, as LaTeX is a powerful and complex tool, getting started can be intimidating. There is no official support and certain aspects such as layout modifications can seem rather complicated. It may seem more straightforward to use Word or other WYSIWG programs, but once you've become acquainted, LaTeX's capabilities far outweigh any initial difficulties. This book guides you through these challenges and makes beginning with LaTeX easy. If you are writing Mathematical, Scientific, or Business papers, or have a thesis to write, then this is the perfect book for you. LaTeX Beginner's Guide offers you a practical introduction to LaTeX with plenty of step-by-step examples. Beginning with the installation and basic usage, you will learn to typeset documents containing tables, figures, formulas, and common book elements like bibliographies, glossaries, and indexes and go on to managing complex documents and using modern PDF features. It's easy to use LaTeX, when you have LaTeX Beginner's Guide to hand. This practical book will guide you through the essential steps of LaTeX, from installing LaTeX, formatting, and justification to page design. Right from the beginning, you will learn to use macros and styles to maintain a consistent document structure while saving typing work. You will learn to fine-tune text and page layout, create professional looking tables as well as include figures and write complex mathematical formulas. You will see how to generate bibliographies and indexes with ease. Finally you will learn how to manage complex documents and how to benefit from modern PDF features. Detailed information about online resources like software archives, web forums, and online compilers completes this introductory guide. It's easy to use LaTeX, when you have LaTeX Beginner's Guide to hand.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Formatting Words, Lines, and Paragraphs

Time for action – installing TeX Live offline

We will download a compressed ISO image of TeX Live 2010 with a size of about 1.2 gigabytes. After extraction, we can choose to burn it on DVD or to extract it to our hard disk drive and run the installation from there:

  1. Visit the download area at

  2. Download texlive2010.xz. If possible, use a download manager, especially if your Internet connection is not stable.

  3. Extract texlive2010.xz and you will get the file texlive2010.iso. If your archiving program doesn't support the .xz file format, obtain, for instance, the program 7-Zip version 9 or later from and use it for extraction.

  4. Either burn the ISO file on a DVD using a burning software supporting the ISO format or extract it to your hard disk drive. 7-Zip is also capable of doing that for you.

  5. Among the extracted files or on your DVD, you will find the installer batch files install-tl and install-tl-advanced that we've already seen. Choose one, start it, and go through the installation like in the previous installation.

What just happened?

It was similar to the first installation, but this time you've got all the data and you won't need an Internet connection. This complete download is especially recommended if it's foreseeable that you will do another installation of TeX Live later or if you would like to give it to friends or colleagues.


After an offline installation, it's recommended to run an update of TeX Live soon, because packages on a DVD or within an image could already be outdated. Use the TeX Live Manager to keep your system up-to-date if you are connected to the Internet.

Installation on other operating systems

If you work on Mac OS X, you may download a customized version of TeX Live at Download the huge .zip file and double-click on it to install.

On most Linux systems, installation is easy. Use your system's package manager. With Ubuntu, you may use Synaptic, on SUSE systems use YaST, with Red Hat a RPM frontend, and on Debian systems use Aptitude. In the respective package manager, look out for texlive.

If you want to stay on the edge, you could download and install the most current version of TeX Live from its homepage, instead of the version from the operating system's repositories. But be aware that installing third party sources may harm the integrity of your system.

Now that we've prepared the ground, let's start to write LaTeX!