LaTex Beginner's Guide

More Information
  • Install LaTeX and use the TeXworks editor to compile documents
  • Design the page layout; create dynamic headers and footers
  • Fine-tune appearances and the space of words, symbols, and lines
  • Apply intelligent justification and customized hyphenation to achieve fine text design
  • Typeset professional-looking tables and create bulleted and enumerated lists
  • Write sophisticated math formulas, from in-text expressions to complex multi-line equations with various alignments
  • Cross-reference objects such as figures, tables, and equations
  • Load fonts and vary their shape and style; choose between thousands of LaTeX symbols from specialized fonts
  • Use macros to save time and effort; load packages to extend LaTeX's capabilities
  • Generate an index, cite books, and create bibliographies
  • Use external pictures, color, PDF bookmarks, and hyperlinks
  • Structure and manage large documents by splitting the input
  • Manage large documents containing lists, index, and bibliography

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.

  • Use LaTeX's powerful features to produce professionally designed texts
  • Install LaTeX; download, set up, and use additional styles, templates, and tools
  • Typeset math formulas and scientific expressions to the highest standards
  • Include graphics and work with figures and tables
  • Benefit from professional fonts and modern PDF features
Page Count 336
Course Length 10 hours 4 minutes
ISBN 9781847199867
Date Of Publication 21 Mar 2011
What is LaTeX?
Installing LaTeX
Time for action – installing TeX Live using the net installer wizard
Time for action – installing TeX Live offline
Creating our first document
Time for action – writing our first document with TeXworks
Understanding logical formatting
Time for action – titling your document
How LaTeX reads your input
Time for action – trying out the effect of spaces, line breaks, and empty lines
Time for action – writing special characters in our text
Formatting text – fonts, shapes, and styles
Time for action – tuning the font shape
Time for action – switching to sans-serif and to typewriter fonts
Time for action – switching the font family
Time for action – exploring grouping by braces
Time for action – exploring font sizes
Time for action – using an environment to adjust the font size
Saving time and effort – creating your own commands
Time for action – creating our first command using it as anabbreviation
Time for action – adding intelligent spacing to command output
Time for action – creating a macro for formatting keywords
Time for action – marking keywords with optional formatting
Using boxes to limit the width of paragraphs
Time for action – creating a narrow text column
Time for action – using the minipage environment
Breaking lines and paragraphs
Time for action – stating division points for words
Time for action – using microtype
Time for action – using line breaks
Exploring the fine details
Time for action – exploring ligatures
Time for action – using differently spaced dots
Time for action – comparing dots to ellipsis
Time for action – experimenting with accents
Time for action – using accents directly
Turning off full justification
Time for action – justifying a paragraph to the left
Time for action – centering a title
Time for action – centering verses
Displaying quotes
Time for action – quoting a scientist
Time for action – quoting TeX's benefits
Time for action – spacing between paragraphs instead of indentation
Defining the overall layout
Time for action – writing a book with chapters
Time for action – specifying margins
Time for action – finding the geometry package manual
Time for action – increasing line spacing
Using class options to configure the document style
Time for action – creating a two-column landscape document
Creating a table of contents
Time for action – adding a table of contents
Time for action – shortening the table of content entries
Designing headers and footers
Time for action – customizing headers with the fancyhdr package
Breaking pages
Time for action – inserting page breaks
Enlarging a page
Time for action – sparing an almost empty page
Using footnotes
Time for action – using footnotes in text and in headings
Time for action – redefining the footnote line
Building a bulleted list
Time for action – listing LaTeX packages
Time for action – listing packages by topic
Creating a numbered list
Time for action – writing a step-by-step tutorial
Customizing lists
Time for action – shrinking our tutorial
Time for action – modifying lists using enumitem
Producing a definition list
Time for action – explaining capabilities of packages
Writing in columns
Time for action – lining up information using the tabbing environment
Time for action – lining up font commands
Typesetting tables
Time for action – building a table of font family commands
Time for action – adding nicer horizontal lines with the booktabs package
Time for action – merging cells
Time for action – using the array package
Time for action – merging cells using the multirow package
Time for action – adding a caption to our font table
Inserting pictures
Time for action – including a picture
Managing floating environments
Time for action – letting a figure float
Time for action – embedding a picture within text
Setting labels and referencing
Time for action – referencing items of a top list
Producing intelligent page references
Time for action – introducing variable references
Time for action – referring cleverly
Customizing the table of contents
Time for action – refining an extensive table of contents
Creating and customizing lists of figures
Time for action – creating a list of diagrams
Creating a list of tables
Using packages for customization
Generating an index
Time for action – marking words and building the index
Creating a bibliography
Time for action – citing texts and listing the references
Time for action – creating and using a BibTeX database
Changing the headings
Preparing the encoding
Time for action – directly using special characters
Installing additional fonts
Choosing the main font
Time for action – comparing Computer Modern to Latin Modern
Exploring the world of LaTeX fonts
Splitting the input
Time for action – swapping out preamble and chapter contents
Creating front and back matter
Time for action – adding a dedication and an appendix
Designing a title page
Time for action – creating a title page
Working with templates
Time for action – starting with a template
Using hyperlinks and bookmarks
Time for action – adding hyperlinks
Time for action – customizing the hyperlink appearance
Time for action – editing PDF metadata
Benefitting from other packages
Time for action – visiting the TeX Catalogue Online
Time for action – installing a LaTeX package
Designing headings
Time for action – designing chapter and section headings
Coloring your document
Understanding and fixing errors
Time for action – interpreting and fixing an error
Handling warnings
Time for action – emphasizing on a sans-serif font
Avoiding obsolete classes and packages
General troubleshooting


Stefan Kottwitz

Stefan Kottwitz studied mathematics in Jena and Hamburg. He worked as an IT administrator and communication officer onboard cruise ships for AIDA Cruises and for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Following 10 years of sailing around the world, he worked for the next few years specializing in network infrastructure and IT security. In 2014, he became a consultant for Lufthansa Systems. Currently, he works for Lufthansa Industry Solutions and designs and implements networks for new cruise ships.

In between contracts, he worked as a freelance programmer and typography designer. For many years, he has been providing LaTeX support on online forums. He maintains the web forums and, the TeX gallery site, the Q&A sites and, the service and the server for the UK TeX FAQ. He is a moderator of the TeX Stack Exchange site and on

He publishes ideas and news from the TeX world on his personal blog at

Before this book, he authored LaTeX Beginner's Guide, by Packt Publishing in 2011.