Here’s the link to the actual latex code used to build the above file.
There are many benefits to using LaTeX as an academic. This post aims to giving you resources on how to setup your coding environment. The aim is not a comprehensive review of LaTeX editors, but to give a starting point for novices, so apologies if your favorite editor is not included here.
There are many ways to setup your environment, and here I’ll layout the two major ways – desktop and cloud. and their pros and cons:
|Cloud||+ Does not require disk space or significant time to setup|
+ Easily access your files from multiple operating systems with any reasonably modern browser
+ Many templates exists
+ Great for novices to get a feel for LaTeX
+ Great for creating simpler documents or singular images
+ Some blend features of WYSIWYG document creators, which is a nice scaffold for novices.
|– Requires internet access for the entire duration of editing|
– Sharing editing power with others requires a paid account, on a subscription basis.
– On the very rare occasions when the servers are down, you will not have access to your files
– Handling and breaking your document into multiple files can be a bit messy
– Privacy: Trusting sometimes sensitive text to be handled by a server not owned by you.
– Code version control: compiling offline allows for you to update distributions of each component yourself, whereas the server sometimes gives minor bugs due to distribution bugs.
|Desktop||+ Entirely free and full control over your own files|
+ Does not require internet access to create files unless you use a new package that requires download. (Likely by citing a new package you were looking on the internet and found out about it anyway.)
+ Custom libraries and style files “easy” to manage
+ Can set up your files on a cloud, and have full control over your backups
+ Can handle as many subfiles as you need to.
|– Steeper learning curve in setup.|
– Compiling time depends on the power of your machine. However, unless you’re running unix on a toaster, there’s not really an issue with modern machines now.
– Working with multiple editors will likely require GitHub, unless there’s one person who is in charge of translating more basic document files into LaTeX.
– Unforgiving in syntax during compile time
Based on what you’re building, you’d likely switch between cloud and desktop environments. Thus, I’ll recommend some specific ones below.
First, depending on your operating system, you should install a LaTeX compiler:
Then, choose a LaTeX editor. I’ve only included dependable editors that are usable across Windows, Mac as well as Linux, as that is important to me personally because I switch between Ubuntu and Windows depending on the task often.
For a more comprehensive breakdown of editors, visit this wikipedia page.
Next in the series we will cover the basic structure of a latex document, and common resources to help you as you build your code.
LaTeX is a powerful document preparation system. This system is free and is available across many operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS and most distributions of Linux. A successor of TeX, LaTeX was created in the 1983 by Leslie Lamport. This computer typesetting software was originally created for academic papers in STEM fields, and since has grown in popularity in other fields because of its power to create many types of paper and digital documents common in academic fields. For those who are aiming to write a long text such as a dissertation, thesis or a book, a major attraction to learning LaTeX is its ability to handle large papers and provide uniform, beautiful, and professional formatting. LaTeX handles all the mundane tasks of formatting, so you can focus on writing the content!
For some samples of what you can create with LaTeX, visit the Notes and Work section of this blog. Below are some reasons why you might be interested in using LaTeX:
There are some contrasts with WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) word processors like Microsoft Word or Open Office.
There are some advantages of using WYSIWYG processors:
When common word processors attempt to handle large files, any major modifications to the file can break the table of contents, and automatic numbering of the tables/figures/lists are not reliable. Furthermore, for students working in multiple operating systems, transitioning between different operating systems using the same latex code will generate the exact same document – this precision is simply not guaranteed with most WYSIWYG processors.
With the above in mind, if you’re interested in learning about LaTeX as a beginner, I’ll be giving an introductory workshop at LSRI on November 13th, 2019.
Disclaimer: Featured image source https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX
April 5th, 2018
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