# Notes on using LaTeX

## What is LaTeX?

- LaTeX is a document preparation system for producing high quality technical documents
- It is the standard method for writing mathematics
- Why is it written “LaTeX” and not “latex”? A good question. Here is an answer. But from here on we’ll just write “latex”.

## Do I have to use latex?

- Short answer = No.
- Slightly longer answer = No, but your homework has to be typeset.
- Even longer answer = No, but your homework has to be typeset, and:
- We strongly recommend that you use latex.
- Though it is difficult initially, it is by far the easiest method for producing legible mathematical documents.
- You might try using various word processors (word, libreoffice, openoffice, etc) but we take no responsibility for the pain, suffering and hair loss it might cause.
- There are more wysiwyg (or wysiwym) solutions like texmacs and LyX.
- Another possibility is to use mathml or mathjax to embed your mathematics in a webpage for printing. You could also try to use markdown with some extensions to typeset mathematics. These might not be so easy to do.

- Final answer = We do not mind what you use, as long as the homework you hand in is neatly typeset and easy to read and printed on paper
**and stapled**.

## Other people’s notes on using latex

- Learn latex in 30 minutes on the sharelatex site.
- An extremely thorough reference on wikibooks - you certainly won’t need everything here, but it is a very good place to look for answers, especially the sections on mathematics and advanced mathematics.
- Tex-latex stack exchange is another good place to search.
- And of course you can use your favourite search engine to find help.
- Detexify is a very useful webpage for looking up latex for different symbols

## Online latex

- You don’t have to install latex on your computer, instead you can use some online tools
- These are very good tools and will be sufficient for your homework.
**All can be used free of charge - you do not have to buy an account.**

## Offline latex

- If you do wish to install it then there are quite a few options depending on your OS. See here
- Linux - texlive is a good option. It is part of most flavours of linux - how you install it depends on your distribution. You will need an editor too.
- OSX - mactex is recommended. You might then install texshop which is a great free latex editor.
- Windows - miktex is a good option, but we have no experience installing or using latex on windows.

- Please note that we will not be able to help you with installation.
- If in doubt, use one of the online latex websites mentioned above.