LaTeX is the “industry standard” for producing readable mathematics (and is also in common, but not universal, use in other technical and scientific fields). As a result, being able to use LaTeX to produce and modify documents is an important element of mathematical communication.

### Teaching LaTeX

Lectures may be a relatively ineffective way to teach LaTeX; students can instead teach themselves LaTeX with some guidance and support from the instructor.

In M.I.T.’s communication-intensive offering of *Real Analysis*, students are directed to various LaTeX resources and are given writing assignments that require progressively more complicated LaTeX (first just text with statement environments and a little notation, then a table, then text with figures, then figures with LaTeX labels, then slides.)

The following resources can help students to get started with LaTeX.

### Resources

- Getting Started with LaTeX This handout and template is for students who are about to embark on their first LaTeX-based assignment. (From M.I.T.’s communication-intensive offering of
*Analysis*.) - Steven Kleiman of M.I.T. has compiled a useful set of resources, including instructions for beginners, a skeleton for pset solutions, and a skeleton file and style files for creating professional-looking papers.
- The LaTeX guide on the Art of Problem Solving is a user-friendly LaTeX guide that provides instruction for downloading LaTeX (for Windows users only, unfortunately), producing a basic document, producing mathematical formulas, installing packages, etc. It also provides several sample documents.
- Michael Downes’ “A Short Math Guide for LaTeX” is a concise reference for AMS LaTeX commands.
- To easily find the TeX code for a symbol, use Detexify. Draw the symbol you want, and this website tells you the necessary TeX code.
- “The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e: Or LaTeX 2e in 157 minutes” by Oetiker, Partl, Hyna, and Schlegl
- Art of Problem Solving also hosts a LaTeX forum (free registration required). Questions are answered by other users, typically within 24 hours, and complicated requests are often met with detailed, customized responses.
- This LaTeX wikibook provides an even more comprehensive resource.
- The TeX User Group is the home of the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network, the biggest resource of TeX-related software on the internet. Among many, many, many other things, one can find there this searchable FAQ page.
- The American Mathematical Society and other journal publishers provide skeleton files and other resources for authors. Author packages for various AMS journals can be downloaded from this web page.
- [Please feel free to suggest other good resources for this list.]

### LyX: a user-friendly front-end for learning and using LaTeX

Much of the pain of learning LaTeX is removed, without reducing its functionality, by using the free/open-source cross-platform LyX front-end for LaTeX.

### LaTeX for Presentation Slides

To make slides using LaTeX, students can use these packages:

- slides – using “documentclass{slides}” in any standard LaTeX installation,
- beamer – the most common presentation package,
- powerdot– another similar presentation package,
- TexPoint – Include LaTeX code in PowerPoint presentations.

All of these options have extensive documentation online (found using the ever-helpful Google).

### LaTeX for Figures

A page about ways to include LaTeX labels on figures is here.

### LaTeX for MSWord and other word-processing programs

Students who need the power of LaTeX for formatting equations but are still using word-processing programs can use an online LaTeX equation editor to make an image of an equation to place in a document. Students who don’t know LaTeX can use the online examples as models: click “examples” & then click on an example. For MSWord, the image should be saved as a png file at 300 dpi.

### Tips and Tricks

Finally, it is probably worth pointing out to your students the techniques most commonly used by mathematicians who need to learn how to do some new trick in LaTeX:

- Searching: many universities and other institutions host LaTeX FAQs or other similar resources, and standard search engines tend to be very effective at finding some of these sites. (Some care needed when searching, of course.)
- Stealing: looking at the .tex source of a document with some desireable effect is often the quickest way to figure out how to get the same result. Caveat: mathematicians are not always intelligent TeXers, so this can lead to some bad habits.