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An Extremely Quick Starter on LATEX.

October 18, 2009

I wrote this brief document to help people like myself who have very
little knowledge about computers, but would like to use LATEX. LATEXis a
document processor, something like Microsoft Word, but a whole lot awe-
somer. It is specifically useful for those who want to type up technical
documents, e.g. mathematics documents, chemistry, physics, engineering
documents etc. that require special symbols. It would also be very useful
for people writing books, articles and so on, as it gives you greater control
over document layout etc. Enough chit-chat!

Firstly you need to get a LATEXoperator on your machine. I recommend


MiKTeX, the home page is: http://miktex.org/. Go to Download → MiK-
TeX 2.8 and follow the instructions. I recommend MiKTeX because

1. It is very simple to install.

2. It downloads packages for you.

I’ll explain the second point a bit later. Once you have downloaded MiKTeX,
you need to install it on your machine. Once you have done that you need to
get an interface; I recommend WinShell http://www.winshell.org/modules/ws
download/. Download WinShell and then install it. If MiKTeX has been
installed already, Winshell will automatically find it. Now you have all the
tools necessary to start using LATEX, congratulations! However, you still
need to know how to use LATEX. The standard reference is The Not So
Short Introduction to LATEX 2ε , available in your language of choice here:
ftp://ftp.dante.de/tex-archive/info/lshort. After reading through that, you
should be ready to go! Once you’ve read that introduction you will notice
that LATEXdoes not come installed with all the packages you might want to
use. If you have MiKTeX on your computer and you need a package, you
simply put the command \ usepackage{ package name} in the preamble of
your document, and if you’re connected to the internet, MiKTeX downloads
and installs the package for you! No hustle and stress of trying to install
packages yourself!

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A few things I need to add. If you want to include graphics in your
documents, the best way I’ve found to do it is with the package graphicx.
In the preamble of your document include the command
\ usepackage[pdftex]{ color,graphicx}
assuming your using MiKTeX and pdf outputs. Then if you want to include
a picture in your document place the following code where you want to put
the picture
\ begin{ figure}[h]
\ begin{ center}
\ includegraphics[scale=scale]{ file name}
\ caption{put you caption in here}
\ end{ center}
\ end{ figure}
For more details on how the code works, refer to the book The Not So Short
Introduction to LATEX 2ε .
This should be enough to get you going, I hope you found this helpful!
Niflheim.