Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

LaTeX: The Basics

The LaTeX Process

Unlike word processing, typesetting with LaTeX is a two step process:

  1. Compose a plain text document containing your content and markup tags using a text editor.

  2. Use a LaTeX compiler to translate the text file, producing a nicely typeset document.


The LaTeX process

Anatomy of a LaTeX document

This is a sample .tex document:


% Lines that start with the percent symbol
% are ignored by the compiler. In this way,
% you can write notes for yourself in your
% LaTeX code.

% The following section of the document is
% called the preamble. It contains the
% formatting information for your document.  
% If you use a template, this part will be
% filled out for you.


% You should also include your contact information
% so that your professor knows who turned in
% such neatly typeset homework. This is called
% the top matter.


% Your content goes between the \begin{document}
% and \end{document} commands.
% The \maketitle command uses the top matter to
% create a formatted title for your document.



% Thats all there is to it!