Beginners' Introduction to TeX and its Use
by Eric Schechter, version of 13 Oct 2005

This page is intended only to give a very brief overview of Latex, but it includes links to more information; you can choose which of those links you need to follow. Some of this page assumes you're using Windows, but much of this page is platform-independent -- i.e., applying equally well to Unix, Macintosh, and other operating systems. Readers of this page may also be interested in our web pages about free TeX software available for Windows computers and how to use TeX on our department's Unix computers.

## What is (La)TeX?

TeX -- in its various flavors, including LaTeX (explained below) -- is a typesetting language. It is used to prepare documents -- e.g., to prepare a Ph.D. thesis or other book, or an article that is submitted for publication in a research journal. If used properly, it produces beautiful documents. Originally it was used only for documents that were printed on paper, but nowadays it is also widely used to produce PDF files that can be viewed on computer screens.

Tex is the standard language used by nearly all mathematicians nowadays. It is also used extensively by scholars and writers in many other fields -- chemistry, linguistics, chess, music -- anything that requires precise spacing and/or unusual fonts and/or the convenience of automatic cross-referencing. If you are at the beginning or middle of a career involving writing of any of those kinds, you should begin to learn TeX as soon as possible. Learning all of TeX would be a lifelong task -- it has grown over the decades, as many of its users have contributed to it -- but you can learn enough to write short and simple documents within a few hours or days.

Some of the basic terminology is confusing, because some of the basic terms are often used interchangeably. Out of laziness, people tend to just use the term "tex" for whichever of the following flavors is their favorite.

• Plain TeX, originally just called "TeX", is the original version, created by Donald Knuth.
It is pronounced by many people as "teks", because that's what it looks like; but Knuth intended it to be pronounced "tek" (as in "technology", the "x" is a Greek chi, not a latin eks.) Both pronunciations are accepted by most people nowadays. Knuth also played around with capitalizing the last letter -- I'm not sure why, maybe just for fun. This habit has persisted in other flavors (see below), but the literature is not consistent in its use of capitals, nor will I bother to be in this document. The terms "TeX", "Tex", and "tex" all mean exactly the same thing; similarly for capitalizations in the other flavors below.

• AMS-TeX was a modified version of plain tex, with additional commands and fonts to better suit the needs of mathematicians.
• LaTeX was a modified version of plain tex, created by Leslie Lamport, which is in some sense more logically and flexibly structured and easier to adapt to different purposes through the addition of "packages".
• AMS-LaTeX was a combination of AMS-TeX and LaTeX which was used by a few people for a while.

• There are probably a few other flavors of tex that I haven't listed here.
("Flavors" should not be confused with "distributions." For instance, sb-tex, emtex, Miktex, and xemtex are four distributions of tex for Windows; each of these distributions contains its own implementation of one or more of the flavors listed above.)
In recent years, Latex has become the dominant flavor, because of its flexibility. It subsumes the other flavors. For instance, if you include in your latex file the line \usepackage{amscls,amsmath} then you get most of the capabilities and commands introduced in AMS-tex and AMS-Latex.

Thus, in recent years, Latex has become the standard. The other flavors are still used by some old-timers who haven't bothered to learn a new system, but I believe their numbers are diminishing faster than they are being replaced by new users. I would not recommend that you learn any of the other flavors, except possibly if you need to study some old documents or work with one of those old-timers. Throughout the rest of this document the term "tex" will mean Latex.

TeX is for typesetting, but how does it work? It is a markup language, like HTML -- as opposed to a plain text document or a formatted word-processor document. Those terms are explained below.

1. Plain text documents are documents with no boldface, italics, symbols, or other fancy features. They have
very plain, ordinary text, like this
They can be edited with text editors such as Emacs, VI, Windows Notepad, MS-DOS Edit, Pico, etc. Plain text files are sometimes known as ASCII files. (That stands for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange.") For example, on Windows computers, look for the file "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\EULA.TXT". If you double-click on it, it will start up Notepad. (Your Windows computer also contains many text files with the file ending "INI", but you should not edit those unless you really know what you are doing -- those are program initialization files, and if you mess them up your programs, (or even your operating system, won't work. If you want to look at those in Notepad, why don't you make duplicate copies and look at the duplicates instead.)

2. Formatted word-processors are programs like Word, Wordperfect, Wordpad, and Open Office (that last one is free, by the way). Their documents may include
italics, boldface, underlining, changes of font size or font face, changes of color,
and other fancy formatting features. These features are built into the document file using special "invisible" characters that are seen by the program but not by the user of the program. For instance, the file may contain a special character or string of characters that means "begin boldface here," and another string that means "end boldface here". The "invisible" characters can sometimes be revealed (for instance, in Wordperfect, use the "reveal codes" command). But most of the time, all you see is the consequences of those invisible characters; you can't see what's actually in your file.

The "invisible characters" can cause problems when you're using a formatted word-processor. For instance, if you delete all the letters between a "begin boldface" marker and an "end boldface" marker, those markers might still remain in your file, and they may cause subsequently added text to malfunction. The invisible characters can cause even bigger problems in a file that is supposed to be just plain text.

Word-processors are also known as WYSIWYG's ("What You See Is What You Get") because the display on the computer screen is essentially the same as what the resulting printout will look like. Thus, the effect of your changes is seen instantly when you change your file; there is no waiting to see whether you're getting the desired effect. This makes word-processors the preferred tool of secretaries and perhaps administrators, but such WYSIWYG programs can only achieve second-rate typesetting of long and/or mathematical documents.

3. Markup languages encode the formatting instructions in special strings of plain text. When you first write a markup language document, you do it in a plain text editor, but it looks like some sort of secret code or foreign language, somewhat analogous to the Wordperfect document with its "reveal codes" command turned on. Then you send that file through another program (not an editor, but a "compiler" or "interpreter"), and it generates the readable image that you intended. What You See (during editing) Is not What You Get (in the final printout). Following are some simple examples.

 tex html source code mybook.tex (as shown in text editor, such as Notepad): This example shows how to do {\bf boldface}, {\em italics}, {\color{red}different} {\color{blue}colors}, and mathematical expressions such as $y^3\alpha_x \to \beta$.  mywebpage.htm (as shown in text editor, such as Notepad): This example shows how to do boldface, italics, different colors, and mathematical expressions such as y3ax ® b.  tex file compiled to dvi pdf, or ps file htm or html file is interpreted; no additional document file needed output display mybook.dvi, mybook.pdf, or mybook.ps (as shown in viewer, such as Yap, Acrobat Reader, or Gsview): mywebpage.htm (as shown in browser, such as Netscape): This example shows how to do boldface, italics, different colors, and mathematical expressions such as y3ax ® b.

Of course, latex includes many other commands that are not available in HTML -- for square roots, fractions, matrices, and many more symbols.

Markup languages such as TeX serve the needs of mathematicians far better than do WYSIWYG documents such as Word or Wordperfect. That's because the control is entirely conscious, instead of hidden away in some unrevealed codes. You can read about the advantages of markup languages in this rant by Allin Cottrell.

By the way, you should  NOT use a word-processor (such as Word or Wordperfect) to edit a markup language source file (such as mybook.tex or mywebpage.htm). If you do use one, it may leave behind some "invisible characters" that will cause the compiler or interpreter to malfunction. You must use a plain text editor such as Notepad -- or better yet, a souped-up plain text editor, such as one of the shell programs discussed below.

## The editing cycle

If you want to make any changes in a markup document, you don't edit the finished image. Rather, you go back and edit the plain text source code. Then you send it through the compiler or interpreter again. You repeat this process as many times as necessary.

The diagram at right is intended to emphasize the separateness of editing the source and looking at the output. The separateness was even greater in the early days of tex, when previewers were not available, and the only way to see the output was to print it out on paper. Moreover, the computer was slow, so running the compiler took many seconds -- perhaps even minutes, if the document was large. Going to fetch your output took additional time, if the only suitable printer was in a different room or perhaps even a different building. Thus, each cycle took a substantial amount of time. Using the printer may have been expensive, so you were encouraged to do as much as possible in each cycle. You tried to keep the writing process down to just a few cycles; perhaps your first rough draft would even be written by hand in pencil.

But faster computers and the availability of previewers have greatly accelerated the cycle. Typically you may display the editor and the previewer simultaneously on different parts of the same computer screen. You look at the output while editing the source file. Each run of the compiler and update of the previewer takes less than a second (or only a few seconds, for long documents), and it costs nothing. The different parts of the process seem to be happening almost simultaneously. Typically, you may repeat this cycle hundreds or thousands of times while writing a document.

Speaking, this arrangement still is not WYSIWYG. If you have editor and previewer showing simultaneously on different parts of the computer screen, they are not really showing the same document. The previewer is still showing what was the output from the last time that you updated it. If you've typed anything into the editor since then, it is not reflected in the previewer; those changes won't show in the previewer until the next time you click "save" and run the compiler. Still, you can update frequently and quickly, so this arrangement gives you nearly the same convenience as a WYSIWYG word-processor.

A tip about cross-references. You should never, ever, ever type into your text something like "see section 7.3". Instead, you should always use automatic sectioning commands. Immediately after the beginning of section 7.3, you should type something like "\label{intro.crossed.alephs}". That won't show up in the output (i.e., in the dvi or pdf file). But then later you can type "see section \ref{intro.crossed.alephs}", and it will print "see section 7.3" in your output (dvi or pdf file). The advantage of this system, of course, is that later if you rearrange the order of material and your old section 7.3 becomes section 7.2 or 7.4, the cross-reference to that section is automatically updated. It also has a further advantage: It gets a link when you use hyperref (discussed a few paragraphs later from here).

To work this, you have to run latex twice. That's because each time you run latex, it copies all sorts of information into a new "aux" file, including things like the fact that {intro.crossed.alephs} currently means 7.3. On the other hand, latex uses information from the old aux file (if there is one). When you run latex an extra time, the old and new aux files are the same, and the cross-referencing works properly. If you only run latex once, your output will say something like "see section ??" -- it will actually display two questionmarks.

If you want an automatic table of contents in your book, put \tableofcontents where you want it to appear. Again, this takes an extra run of latex to get the files synchronized.

A tip about screen size. A page of your document probably is taller than your monitor. You'd like to display, if not an entire page, then at least a large portion of it at one time. You can gain a little vertical space by these tactics:

• The Windows taskbar can be moved from its default location along the bottom of the screen, to the left or right side of the screen. (Or, if you prefer, it can be set to auto-hide.)
• If you're using Yap for the previewer, you can drag its toolbar from the default location at the top of the Yap window, to either the left or right edge of that window.
• Again, if you're using Yap, you can turn off its display of the status bar.
• If you're really desperate for a few pixels -- e.g., if the printed area of your document is just a few pixels taller than the space available -- here is a method for squeezing out a few more pixels. Right-click on any blank space on the Windows desktop; then go to "Properties" "Appearance" "Advanced". You can make each of the following items a few pixels thinner in size: Active Title Bar, Active Window Border, Inactive Title Bar, Inactive Window Border, Menu, Scrollbar.

## Forward and inverse search

This is a specialized feature, available only in some software, but it's such a big help in the editing cycle that I want to mention it here. If you have a suitable dvi previewer (such as Yap) and a suitable shell/editor program (such as TeXnicCenter) both properly configured, then you will have these two capabilities during the editing cycle:

• Inverse search. You're looking at the output dvi display, and you see something that needs fixing. It could take a while to find the corresponding part of the source file, because (let's be honest about this) tex is not easy to read; it's a complicated markup language; there's a lot of notation to wade through. But the output is much easier to read. So just double-click your mouse on that part of the dvi display, and it will automatically send a message to the shell/editor (i.e., the other program), telling it what part of the source file to look for. The cursor in the shell/editor will move to approximately the right location. It's only an approximate -- within a paragraph or so -- but that's still a huge help. In fact, this would be a convenience even if you're working with plain text (i.e., no funny symbols); it gives you an easy way to synchronize the positions you're looking at in the two files.

• Forward search. This goes the other way. You're looking at some lines in the shell/editor, and you want to see the corresponding part of the output. Again, wading through the files manually could take a long time. But instead, in the shell/editor, click the mouse on the line of the source file that you're interested in, and then click the mouse on the shell/editor's "show dvi display" button. It will automatically send a message to the dvi previewer (i.e., the other program), telling it to display the (approximately) corresponding part of the output.

## How many programs and filetypes does latex require?

When using Latex, we must distinguish between the source files and output documents.

The basic source file is a text file written in markup language and edited with a text editor, as explained earlier. Typically it is named "myfile.tex" or "alephs.tex" or "thesis.tex" or something like that. Actually, there could be several files involved, named something like this:

• mainfile.tex (which calls the other files)
• macros.tex
• chapter1.tex
• chapter2.tex
• chapter3.tex
In addition,there may be some files used for illustrations, such as "figure1.eps" and 'figure2.eps" and "commdiag.eps"; these are also called by the various tex files listed above.

Then there are a number of different things you can do with the source file, to get output files:

(Caution: The three routes to "myfile.pdf" do not necessarily produce identical pdf files. The different programs involved may handle the illustrations a little differently. You should experiment to see which route to the pdf works best for you.)

So, we have three main kinds of output files: dvi, ps, and pdf. Which of these three do you actually want?

• Generally I prefer to use the dvi files while I'm still editing the document, because its forward and inverse search capabilities facilitate the editing cycle. More about that later on this page. However, the dvi file is not really device independent (despite its name), so I do not recommend using this format to send out your final finished version of your document.
• Postscript (ps) is right in the middle of my conversions diagram, partly for historical reasons. Postscript was introduced by Adobe in 1984, to make good printouts, and it quickly became a standard. Tex users developed all sorts of software to go with it, and so it remains fairly convenient. It is largely device independent, and it looks good when printed on paper.
• When you're done editing, you can convert your dvi or ps file to pdf. This format was introduced in 1992 by Adobe, to create paperless offices. It looks good both on paper and on the computer screen, and so this is the format I recommend for your finished documents. I think it may eventually replace postscript, but that may take a while because so many tools have already been developed for postscript.

In addition to the compilers, converters, and viewers shown in the diagram above, you probably will also want a few other programs -- for instance, a shell/editor program and a tex-compatible graphics editor, both discussed later on this page, or various other tex-related programs.

## Shell programs

Strictly speaking, you do not need to have a shell program. You could just type all your tex commands into a Dox box, as shown in the picture at right. That's the procedure still followed by some old tex users, who learned tex before shells became available. In fact, that might be the best procedure for beginners to follow initially, so that they can understand the basic idea of tex before they start learning a shell. But I recommend that you switch to a shell program before long. Learning to use a shell may take a tiny bit of time and trouble, but over the span of your career it will save you a tremendous amount of tedium.

(If you really want to continue using Dos boxes, I suggest that you at least install the "Command Prompt Here" program from the Windows Powertoys collection.)

A shell program, also known as a front end or as a GUI (graphical user interface) for tex, is a text editor with other features added that make tex-related activities easier. Following are descriptions of some of those features. Pictured at right is TeXnicCenter (with the picture edited to fit better on this web page); it has all the features listed below.

Many recent shell programs have syntax coloring/highlighting. This means that different parts of your file are automatically displayed in different colors. For instance, in TeXnicCenter the default color scheme is normal text in black, keywords in blue, comments in gray, operators in red, verbatim in magenta, text in math mode in green, keywords in math mode in darker blue. These colors make the editing easier. For instance, if you forget to close a math formula with a second dollar sign, you'll have many lines in one color on the screen; that makes it easy to spot such errors. The colors are only in the editing display, not in the text file that you actually save and use.

Most shell programs have macro buttons for frequently typed tex commands. For instance, there may be a button with a picture of the Greek letter gamma. If you click on that button, the program will automatically insert "\gamma" into your text, at the current location of your text cursor. A shell program may have many buttons like that, for all the Greek letters and most of the mathematical symbols that tex knows. Some shell programs also have macro buttons for creating arrays and other complicated displays.

Also important are execute buttons. For instance, you certainly want a button labeled "tex" or "latex". Clicking on that button should launch the tex or latex program, applying it to the tex file that is currently displayed in the editor section of your shell program; perhaps it will even save the file before launching the tex program. Likewise, you may have buttons for "make pdf file", "make ps file", "update index", etc. Of course, with many shell programs the buttons are labeled with icon pictures instead of text labels.

A good shell program should be compatible with Yap's forward and inverse search feature. This is a luxury to which I have become addicted; I would prefer not to latex without it.

For programs that do not have this feature specifically built in, what it requires is that

1. When an appropriate button on the shell program is clicked, it should be able to send to the operating system this command: "yap -1 -s [linenumber of cursor's current position in current file in shell program] [filename of current file] [filename of current project, minus the 'tex'].dvi"
2. The shell program should be capable of responding to a command line option that not only tells the program to open on a specified file, but also open at a specified line number in that file. Ideally, there should also be an option so that if one instance of the shell program is already running, it will be used, rather than opening a new instance. (The precise syntax of this command line is determined by the particular shell, and thus may vary from one shell to another.)

A few recent shell programs have features built in to automatically facilitate error handling. For instance, in TeXnicCenter, after you've compiled your latest version of your source file, click on the "go to next error" button. The error message produced by latex will be displayed in the output panel at the bottom of the window, and the cursor in the editing panel will be moved to the location where the error occurred in the source file. If you're still not sure what the error is, click on the "view latest build output" button, and (if you have forward search configured correctly) up will pop a display of your output dvi file, showing approximately where the error occurs. Now go to the editing panel and make whatever you think is the correction to your error. After you've done that, you can compile again -- or, if you want to look at several errors per compilation run, click again on the "go to next error" button.

The picture at right shows the "latex toolbar" in TeXnic Center. (The red explanations were added to the picture by me, and do not actually show up in TeXnic Center, though a similar "tooltip" shows up if you hold the mouse cursor fixed over one button for a few seconds.) The pull-down menu at left indicates whether the output will be DVI, PDF, PS, or some other arrangement; you can add more options to that list. You can choose whether to execute latex on just one file or an entire project -- the project system is recommended when you have several files (e.g., one per chapter), because the project system works well with forward search even for multifile documents. The last 6 buttons in the toolbar are for different kinds of interactive error handling.

Some shell programs don't have all the buttons you'd like, but some shell programs enable you to add your own buttons without too much difficulty. For instance, in TeXnicCenter, you can add commands of your own choosing to a pull-down "tools" menu. (Adding graphical icons to the items on that menu is possible but in some cases difficult.)

Also, if you prefer a shell program that lacks tex macro buttons, you can use it together with the "Tex Macros" program; it can add some (but not all) of the buttons described above.

## Documentclasses, styles, and packages

Here is an extremely short example of a latex source file:

\documentclass[12pt]{book} \usepackage{color} \begin{document} This sentences uses {\color{red}red} and {\color{blue}blue}. \end{document}
Every Latex document must begin with a \documentclass{ } specification. The section between there and the \begin{document} is commonly called the preamble; in that section you can put package calls, define macros, etc.

The most common, standard, "official" classes are book, report, article, letter, and proc (for proceedings). But individual users of Latex have devised their own document classes, many of which can be downloaded for free from the internet. For instance,

• Several documentclasses have been developed for preparing dynamic presentation slides (i.e., for display at the front of a classroom or seminar room). Two of the most popular are prosper and beamer. See also discussions by Tex-faq and Michael Wiedmann.
• The memoir class, created by Peter Wilson, is an improved version of the book class. It systematically incorporates the most popular features that people have been adding to the book class as packages; thus most people will find it easier to use than book class. The manual that comes with the memoir class is fairly long.
• The KOMA package contains several documentclasses: scrartcl, scrreprt, scrbook, and scrlettr intended as improvements on article, report, book, letter respectively.

A document class can be modified by various styles and options. For instance, in the little example above,

• The book class is called with an option to use characters in 12-point size. (The default size is 10 point.)
• The package "color" calls the file "color.sty," which enables text to be printed in colors.
A package is an organized collection of files, usually including one or more style or class files. A package is installed if it is present in your computer system (and if your latex program knows where to find it); a package is used if you call it with a \usepackage command in your source file. Again, there are some standard packages installed in any distribution of latex, and there are additional packages that you can download and install yourself. Be cautioned that the installing of a package can be complicated -- there may be many files that need to be put in various different directories, and then you also have to refresh the database that latex looks at when it is trying to find where its files are. Some distributions can automate this procedure for you.
That's one of the features that I particularly like about Miktex, the distribution that I use. All I have to do is (for instance) put "\usepackage{color}" into my document's preamble (i.e., the section between documentclass and begindocument), and then run latex. If color isn't already installed, Miktex automatically will look on the internet, find the appropriate files, download them, install them, refresh my database, and then resume the tex processing. This is called "on-the-fly installation".
Here is a list of a few packages and other free add-ons. This list includes both some that are widely used, and some that are my own personal favorites:
• hyperref will automatically put clickable hyperlinks into your dvi file, at all cross-references, index entries, and table of contents entries, thereby greatly enhancing the usefulness of all of those during your editing process. Click on any hyperlink to be taken instantly to the location that is being referred to. For instance, where the dvi file says "see section 7.3", if you click on the "7.3", suddenly you'll be looking at section 7.3. In addition to the automatically generated hyperlinks, you can also create custom hyperlinks, using the hyperlink and hypertarget commands. All these links are useful not only in the final PDF, but also for your own uses while you're editing the document.
• color -- Even if your book or article is to be in black and white (as most books and articles are), you may still find it helpful to insert colored temporary notes to yourself, your coauthors, or anyone else you're working with. With a bit of effort you can mix any color you like, but red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow are already predefined (i.e., no effort needed).
• pstricks, epic, eepic add many drawing commands to the rather limited ones that are provided by default in the latex "picture" environment. For instance, you can draw circles of any size, not just a few sizes; you can draw ellipses; you can specify a line segment by the coordinates of its endpoints, not just by one endpoint and the slope; you can use any slope; etc.
• graphicx -- for inserting picture files into tex, bypassing the "picture" environment altogether.
• dvipdfm -- used as an option in the "book" class, to generate pdf files. Works well with inserting pictures. Can also be used as a standalone program, to convert dvi files to pdf files. The more recent extension dvipdfmx also permits customized page sizes for your pdf pages even without geometry, which I find particularly desirable when I'm creating a pdf primarily for viewing on computer screens, rather than printing on paper.
• longtable, supertabular, stabular -- Any one of these makes it possible for you to write a latex document in which a table crosses a page break -- i.e., part of the table appears at the bottom of one page, and the rest appears at the top of the next page. (The default of ordinary latex does not permit this.)
• fncychap, sectsty, titlesec, and others -- These make it easier to change the style of section headings. (Some of these capabilities are already built into the memoir and KOMA classes.)
• floatflt, wrapfig, picins -- Any one of these makesit possible for text to flow around an illustration (e.g., if the illustration is only an inch wide). (The default of ordinary latex is that the illustration preempts the entire width of the printed area of the page, resulting in a lot of blank space if the illustration is narrow.)
• amscls and amsmath -- These packages add to latex the main features that used to be part of AMS-TeX.
• makeidx -- Included as part of standard Latex distribution. If you want your document to have an index:
• Put \usepackage{makeidx}\makeindex in your preamble.
• Put \printindex at the place where you want the index to appear (customarily at the end of the book).
• Apply the command "makeindex myfile" externally after each latex run. That is, use the program makeindex.exe, which you'll find (for instance) in C:\texmf\miktex\bin. Actually, if you're using a good shell program like TeXnicCenter, you can get this step performed automatically for you; just include "uses makeindex" in the options for the project. Also keep in mind that indexing, like cross-referencing, takes an extra run of the latex program to get all the files synchronized.
• Comprehensive LaTeX Symbol List -- this is really just a document, not a program or macro, but it can be downloaded using the Miktex package manager, just like any package. It lists all sorts of symbols that can be obtained using assorted fonts that you can add to LaTeX.
• geometry - This package gives fairly robust control over page size specifications -- e.g., what size is the paper, and where does the text go on it. (Not needed if you are satisfied with defaults or are only using packages that aren't finicky about page specs.)
• crop can produce crop marks, requested by some publishers. (Works best with "geometry".)
If there's something you want to do in your document and you don't know how to do it, adding a package might be the answer. (But first look in your latex documentation, to see if you can already do it somehow using just latex.) Here are some places to find out more about packages:
• A fairly long annotated list of style files can be found at INRIA.
• The TEX FAQ is very good; type a word or phrase into its search field. For instance, type "longtable" into its search field, and you'll not only learn about the "longtable" package, but also about "supertabular", "stabular", etc.
• If you're using Miktex, its package manager is very good; type a word or phrase into its keyword filter. Also note that the "properties" that it shows for each package shows where the package installs its files; among other things, that list tells you where to find the documentation files for the package.

## Fonts and graphics

Both fonts and graphics can be classified into these two main types:

• Bitmapped, also known as "pixelated". In fonts, typically these are "Type 3 fonts". In graphics, typically these are files of any of the types BMP, GIF, JPG, Information is conveyed pixel by pixel (i.e., dot by dot). These are adequate for quick and rough work, and perhaps for the documents you would give to your students, but they don't look so good if you change their magnification. Publishers of articles and books prefer to avoid this filetype for diagrams or drawings, though it is probably unavoidable in the case of photographs.

• Scalable. In fonts, typically these are "Adobe Type 1 fonts". In graphics, typically these are SVG (scalable vector graphics) or EPS (encapsulated postscript). Information is conveyed in the form of computerized drawing instructions (e.g., draw a line of this thickness, from these coordinates to those coordinates). Good quality is maintained even if the magnification is changed. Publishers of articles and books prefer this type of font or illustration.
How can you get just Type 1 fonts? Well, if you use recent latex software, all the default fonts are already Type 1 fonts. You have to be more careful if you add to your document some packages that involve other faults beyond the default ones. -- To check your fonts, load your document into Acrobat Reader and then press control-D.

How can you get just scalable illustrations? I know of two main methods. (You can use either or both methods in your document.)

 Getting scalable graphics by the "included graphics files" method Getting scalable graphics by the "direct latex use of picture environment" method Most mathematicians nowadays prefer this method -- perhaps partly because they don't know about the software available for the other method. And this is certainly the only method available if you want to use graphics generated by some external program such as Mathematica. For this method, include the line \usepackage{graphics} or \usepackage{graphicx} in the preamble of your source file. Then, at the place where you want your image file "xalephs.eps" (for instance) to appear, you include a line like \includegraphics{xalephs.eps} in your source file. With a longer command you can also do scaling and/or clipping. Documentation for these packages can be found in the directory "C:\texmf\doc\latex\graphics" if you're using Miktex. --- Actually, other filetypes besides EPS can be used in these commands, but I wouldn't recommend it. A plain old PS file may cause problems with your publisher because it must be accompanied by a "bb" (bounding box) file to give size/position information. And bitmapped graphics files such as JPG will lose quality when rescaled. This method may be slightly harder to use, but has the slight advantage that it avoids most problems with incompatibility (see the cautionary note above). Here is a very simple example of this method:  \begin{picture}(100,60) \put(20,10){\vector(2,3){30}} \put(30,25){\circle{1}} \put(40,50){$\aleph$} \end{picture} Basic commands such as "\vector" and "\circle" are already built into latex. If you add to your preamble a line such as \usepackage{epic,eepic} or \usepackage{pstricks} you'll get additional commands available, such as "\path", "\ellipse", "\dashline." Documentation for eepic is in "C:\texmf\doc\latex\eepic"; documentation for pstricks doesn't seem to be all in one place.

Software for each of these methods can be found in our free software collection.

## Free documentation

Don't rush out to buy a book about tex. You may want one after a while, but first take a look at some of the extensive documentation available for free on the internet. (Some of the documents listed below are also copied onto our department's CD-ROM and website, for the benefit of graduate students with slow or no internet connection.)

• People who want another very short introduction might look at LaTeX for Secretaries (How to survive without Microsoft Word), by Jacek Artymiak. It is another web page, about 2/3 the length of this one.

• Latex changed significantly around 2001, when LaTeX 2e was introduced. Some older users of Latex, who did not keep up with the major changes, have been unable to take advantage of the new packages developed since then. They would do well to at least glance through LaTeX 2e for authors, a short (33 page) document that describes the main changes. But just to get you started, I can tell you one easy but important change: Begin your document with "\documentclass{nameofclasshere}" instead of "\documenttype{nameoftypehere}". This tells the latex program that you're going to use the new system, and so it permits you to use the newer packages (many of which won't work under the old system).
Following are some longer documents on latex in general, suitable for use as introductory courses or reference manuals. (I have restricted this list to documents that have been updated within the few years, i.e., ones that follow the rules of LaTeX 2e.)
Portal pages linking to more documentation: Some noteworthy documents on special topics: