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Any other LaTeX users?





Studio Madcrow
I've recently started playing around with LaTeX, a document processing system that lets you create amazing-looking documents (much better than from a word processor, at least) by embedding various simple commands into a plain text document, then running the file through a compiler... Does anyone else her do the LaTeX thing or am I the only TRUE nerd here (in that respect, at least)?
LukeakaDanish
I've used LaTeX for equations in openoffice...but why on earth would you use it for normal documents?

In what way does it look better??

Shocked
Da Rossa
I'd like to try it, but the download procedures appear to be complex, where exactly do I get it for Win32 platform? Smile
AftershockVibe
LukeakaDanish wrote:
I've used LaTeX for equations in openoffice...but why on earth would you use it for normal documents?

In what way does it look better??

Shocked



"Better" is of course in the eye of the beholder.
However, because Latex was actually designed for typesetting (unlike word processors which started off like notepad) it does all the typesetting for you when you specify a style.

In fact, it's similar to the way you're supposed to use CSS/XHTML. You say "this is a paragraph/heading/equation" and then the program does all the hard work for you. This is particularly useful for writing reports where you have lots of embedded diagrams or equations... basically anything that you woudln't normally use in a letter to your grandma.

It does an awful lot of clever things as well. Like, when justifying text it doesn't position text absolutely down the side of the page - it has a layout routine which makes it appear that it is absolutely down the side of the page. Apparently your eyes disagree with relaity due to the shapes of some letters so either TeX or LaTeX corrects for this. Also, TeX (from which LaTeX was extended)
contains a Turing complete programming language so if you were feeling particularly bored you could program whatever you like in it.

LyX runs on most OSs you're likely to want:
http://www.lyx.org/Download

Takes a while to get your head around but once you're used to it, it saves you so much time not having to click buttons and mess around with spacing every time Word would have broken the placement of your tables because you added a sentence.
nisibdv
I use latex a lont and use lyx to edit my latex files.
bissoboa
Latex is poweful and beautiful. Cool
It was designed for publishing scientific documents...
(it is a standart de-facto in scientific literature, despite many people don't know how to use it and still prefer msword)
so it is suitable for placing together text, formulas and images
in a clear, structered typografic style.

Once you know the basic language you can write documents fast.
And they will be easier to read, understand, and remeber.

It becomes difficut when you'd like to get something unusual from a latex document.
But is a right price compared to the advantages.
Da Rossa
I like the idea, but what is the step-by-step procedure to have it installed and to WORK on Windows XP? I downaloded, and it told me that I'd have also to download something like "MKTex" or similar, and this one did not install. How to make it 100% functional?
guissmo
How do I start off in learning about it?
I'm interested, though clueless about LaTeX.
AftershockVibe
Read the wiki page (or at least the introduction section at the top). Then download LyX and have a look at the tutorial that comes with it and explains the differences between it and a "normal" word processor. It's pretty easy to understand. If you understand the concept of CSS with HTML you'll definitely have no problem as it's a very similar idea.
bissoboa
Quote:
If you understand the concept of CSS with HTML

Ok, this is a suffiecient clause, but not necessary of course Wink
Believe me it is easy, a markup language with something very interesting.
Quote:
How do I start off in learning about it?

I would suggest to start with this manual http://tobi.oetiker.ch/lshort/lshort.pdf, titled "the not so short introduction to latex". I have been reading it while I was writing my graduation thesis, and I enjoyed a lot! Then if you need something more specific ask a friend or try a search with google.
Quote:
but what is the step-by-step procedure to have it installed and to WORK on Windows XP

here I don't know precisely - fortunately for myself I didn't try with windows Mad
I think you mean MikTex I hope someone will tell you. But I am sure you can find all the anwers just looking somewhere in internet, one more time!
Studio Madcrow
bissoboa wrote:

I think you mean MikTex I hope someone will tell you. But I am sure you can find all the anwers just looking somewhere in internet, one more time!

proTeXt is actually the newest Windows LaTeX introduction.
Fire Boar
Okay, for Linux it's really straightforward to use LaTeX: Get a decent editor package like Kile. If your package manager is any good, it should also install texlive-latex-base, otherwise install that seperately. Then you're done - simply open up Kile and start typesetting.

For Windows it's a little more problematic, but my favourite solution is called USBTeX. It's in french by default, but it does contain translations for English. It's super-easy to run: Plug your USB device in, run "Demarrer.bat", run "TexMaker.bat" while that's going on to open up an editor, and edit away. Once Demarrer has finished, you can use the MikTeX tools included such as LaTeX, PDFLaTeX, BibTeX and more, using the compile buttons at the top.

I use USBTeX because it is quite small on a USB stick and allows me to make PDF documents anywhere. It's a great Word alternative (which I hate with a passion) when you can't get at OpenOffice.org.
bissoboa
Quote:
Fire Boar Get a decent editor package like Kile.

In my opinion this is not necessary! Very Happy

It is foundamental a good text editor with multiple files and sessions support, and syntax hilighting better.
But nothing more!
I have written one hundred pages using simply kate, and with satisfatcion.
A plain text editor also will allow you to learn faster latex.
infinisa
Hello Studio Madcrow

Am I missing something here? I use LaTeX to produce mathematical expressions in documents, for which I believe it was intended. But you make no mention of mathematical expressions. Are you using it for normal text? If so, what's the advantage? Is it for the typesetting features?

Thanks AftershockVibe for the Lyx suggestion - it sounds cool, I'll certainly try it!
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