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General Introduction to LaTeX

So what is this LaTeX thing of which I speak of? Generally it is well documented in different places around the net including Engineering @ Cambridge University and the wiki book. I recommend using these sites for general reference.

The main advantages are that LaTeX takes care of the formatting of your report, the contents page, bibliography/references etc. LaTeX allows you to concentrate on the report content, minimising the effort required to produce a professional looking book/report/paper/article.

The problem with LaTeX is when you attempt to over-specify and micromanage the formatting. Leave the defaults and life is good, it looks good and there is no pain. Unfortunately, within any semi-bureaucratic institution (ie most universities) there is a requirement for a specific layout/setup. Most of the time these requirements will just make your report look ugly and a nightmare to implement.

My hope is to write some more articles which will look in more detail at using LaTeX within the engineering department at Edinburgh University (more specifically chemical engineering though some things will apply to other subjects) including setting up a template for the front cover, and the plagerisum sheets.

Edit: I notice now several years later that I did not in fact continue this series of articles. I do have a template that I used to produce my own reports (back in 2008 ish) and am happy to share them if any current students would find them useful.

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  • Ben
    said on: 07 Oct 2010 at 13:49

    Ah LaTeX! I have just come accross this nightmare of a system!

    Recently installed this version on my other halfs machine http://www.meshwalk.com/latexeditor/ apparently it is used in physics circles to produce professional looking reports!?!

    Any other decent versions out there? All I can find are opensource editions are there any more professional ones?