Introduction to LaTeX

Introduction to LaTeX #

Author: Erhua

Keywords: installation, comparison with office

What is LaTeX? #

TeX was created by Donald Knuth, a professor at Stanford University, and development of TeX started in 1978 and continued until 1989.

LaTeX is written in TeX, which means that LaTeX is a macro package written using the macro language TeX, and it has been established as a fixed format.

To make an analogy with the C language, just as there are different compilers for C, there are different programs that implement TeX, and we call different implementations different TeX engines. The pdfTeX, XeTeX, pTeX, and ApTeX engines are examples of TeX engines.

Advantages of LaTeX & Differences between LaTeX and office #

Advantages of LaTeX: #

  • Completely open-source and free.
  • It is the standard for typesetting in the academic community, and many journals internationally provide templates and recommend using LaTeX.
  • LaTeX allows authors to focus on content, making the document creation process concise and clear.
  • Word documents are easy to modify and may appear less formal, while PDFs generated by LaTeX are formal and aesthetically pleasing.
  • LaTeX can convert mathematical software and bibliographic management software.

Differences between LaTeX and office: #

LaTeX office
Friendly and visually appealing formula input Poor formula input, inline formulas look bad
Can be fully controlled using keyboard, reducing reliance on mouse and improving efficiency Greek letters and other symbols require mouse input
Excellent algorithm for optimizing structures, thus avoiding line breaks at the end of lines Line breaks occur easily at the end of paragraphs
Friendly way to insert references Inserting references is a bit difficult
Easy layout of documents with numerous figures and tables Documents with numerous figures and tables tend to crash easily

For Mac:

  1. The version of TeX Live for Mac is called MacTeX.
  2. Download link:

For Windows:

  1. The version of TeX Live for Windows is called TeX Live.
  2. Download link:

You can also download and use TeX Live directly from The following links are for downloading MacTeX, TeX Live, and MikTeX respectively:

LaTeX Editors #

There are many editors available for LaTeX.

  • TeXworks
  • WinEdt
  • Texmaker
  • TeXstudio

In addition to these dedicated LaTeX editors, there are more feature-rich editors available, such as VS Code.

For information on configuring a convenient LaTeX editor on Windows, see “Editor VS Code Configuration (Windows Version)”.

For information on configuring a convenient LaTeX editor on Mac, see “Editor VS Code Configuration (Mac Version)”.