Report Writing using LaTeX – I

LaTeX is a very famous typesetting tool used widely among technical and scientific report writing. Started by Donald Knuth as TeX, LaTeX is just one of the variants. In essence, it helps convert a normal text like document written in say notepad, to a beautifully formatted pdf, with a lot of functionality.

The main advantages of LaTeX can be put down as:

  1. Layout, Fonts, Tables, etc. remain consistent and you dont have to worry about them.
  2. Writing Mathematical formulae was never so easy 🙂
  3. It generates the Table of Contents, Table of Figures, Footnotes, Bibliography, Citations to Bibliography, Figure and Table numbers, Chapter, Section, Subsection, Equation Numbers, etc. in a aesthetically pleasing and technically right way.
  4. Structuring of documents, purposely inserting page breaks etc. is not an issue anymore.
  5. Specially meant for changing the document style and submitting to journals / conferences which have a specific formatting. Its a change of 1 line job!
  6. And, to top it, its available across all widely used platforms.

The only disadvantages I can think of are:

  • Should have had a nice combination of a WYSIWYG and text mode (try LyX or TeXnic Centre or Kile)
  • Spelling check needs to be integrated (use aspell when on Linux)

This is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial, as many can be found online, the most famous being

  • Getting started with LaTeX2e – a very good starter’s guide and
  • LaTeX 2e in Short (lshort)

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