LaTeX - Rachel Slaybaugh, Mike Pacer, and Katy Huff

February 3, 2016 at 5-6:30pm in BIDS, 190 Doe Library


About 20.


Rachel Slaybaugh

Rachel Slaybaugh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley. She was one of the founding members of The Hacker Within at the University of Wisconsin.

Mike Pacer

Michael Pacer is a cognitive scientist at UC Berkeley.

Katy Huff

Katy Huff is a BIDS fellow and postdoctoral fellow in the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium.


First, we’ll address an introduction to the basic concepts in \(\LaTeX\). Then, we’ll share a few tips and tricks.

What is Markup?


HTML is just hypertext markup language. It provides a plain text way to describe objects and data that are encountered in the world wide web. Things like urls, text rendering in webpages, etc. are all easy to describe in HTML.


XML is the extensible markup language. It generalizes where others specify. In the way that all reductionist things fail to get the specifics right, XML is great for general tasks in programming (input files, etc.), but not great for writing documents, where the needs are very specific.

MarkDown? RestructuredText? Where does it end?

There are a lot of markup languages. They all do different things. Restructured text is the standard in the world of python documentation. Markdown is the standard on github. Pick your poison.

How Do I install \(\LaTeX\)?


Everything in linux is simple.

sudo apt-get install texlive


You should use MacTeX. You can do this with macports or homebrew by downloading the whole shabang from the website.


I honestly have no idea. It looks like the TeX stack exchange may be able to help, though.

How do I write \(\LaTeX\)?

The not-so-short introduction to LateX is pretty great. .


Max showed us LyX last time, which is a WYSIWYG editor for \(\LaTeX\). That’s awesome. I recommend you give it a shot.


TeXShop is something that many folks use to write and render latex side by side. It’s cool. I don’t use it, but I can see where it would be great.

Text Editors

Some folks will find the text editor option the most extensible and glorious. I am one of those folks. I have a vim plugin for latex called, you guessed it, vim-latex and it does most of the typing for me. With syntax highlighting, it tells me where there’s a mistake, and by virtue of dealing directly with the content, I can ignore how it looks until the very end.

How do I pronounce \(\LaTeX\)?

Check it out, the last letter is the Greek letter \(\chi\). So, it definitely has to end in a K sound. But, is it Lay or Lah? The developers say it’s up to you.

What are the Parts of a Document?

\(\LaTeX\) documents have numerous parts.

The Preamble

In the preamble, there is a basic set of information that must be included in order to define the document. The real minimum set is just the “documentclass” parameter. Options include “article,” “book,” and “letter.” Options concerning the paper format and the font can be specified in the square brackets while the documentclass type should be listed in the


inclusion of any packages that you rely on. Standard packages include “amsmath,” “amsfonts,” “amssymb,” and graphicx.


If you are expecting a title to appear, parameters such as author and title should be filled in.

begin and end

You must begin and end the document.





Now, that’s it. To create a beautiful pdf, you can place this text in a file called doc.tex, type “latex doc.tex” to create a dvi file, then type dvi2pdf to create a pdf file.

The Title Elements

There are elements that help to define the title elements.

\author{The Hacker Within}
\title{Our New Document}




Those variables are used by the maketitle command, which must be executed within the document boundaries.

\author{The Hacker Within}
\title{Our New Document}



Books, Chapters, Sections, Subsections, Subsubsections, and Paragraphs

These are enviroments that define the hierarchy of your document.

Include and input

Rather than keep everything in one big file, you can include and input other latex files into a master. That acknowledgements section that you use in every paper? Keep it in its own file.


As we go along, you may consider cloning :

Lightning Talks

<+ person +> : <+ topic +>

<+ person +> : <+ topic +>