Introduction

What is LaTeX 

Welcome to the "LaTeX is Easy" web page.  If you want to learn how to create documents using LaTeX, this is a great place to begin.

LaTeX is a free tool for creating scientific books, papers, and presentations.  It is particularly useful for writing documents with a lot of mathematics.  It is based on TeX, a typesetting system written by Donald E. Knuth.

LaTeX is NOT a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) system such as Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org.  Text documents must be written in ASCII editors and compiled to DVI, PS, or PDF format for viewing, printing, and publishing.  The process is similar to programming and may be difficult for some people.  However, a huge advantage is that the user is only concerned with the content of the document, while the formatting is taken care of by LaTeX.

Getting Started 

To start using LaTeX, you need a TeX/LaTeX implementation, a text editor, and a PDF viewer.  This introduction is based on the following programs:

Install the programs in the order listed above. Then, start TeXworks, create a new file with tex extension (see the example document in Document Structure), and compile it by selecting "Typeset" in menu "Typeset" or by pressing Ctrl+T. Once the document is compiled successfully, a preview of the created pdf document will be shown.

LaTeX files

LaTeX source documents are ASCII text files with tex extension. Historically, they were compiled to DVI format and then converted to PS or PDF. Today, it is possible (and also more convenient) to compile LaTeX documents directly to PDF, as described above.

Copyright (c) 2008, 2013 by Krzysztof Fleszar