(00) Introduction to LaTeX

This is an absolute beginner’s guide to writing documents in LaTeX using Overleaf (or ShareLaTeX). It assumes no prior knowledge of LaTeX or any programming language.

A series of tutorials will be posted regularly in the near future to introduce the basic commands and teach how to write your own document in LaTeX. 🙂

  • Why learn LaTeX?

If you need to handle equations, figures, tables, and bibliographies all the time, you might want to switch from Word to LaTeX, which uses packages to typeset everything easily and consistently. More important, LaTeX is free, just like the other open-source programming tools, such as R and Python.

  • Why blog on LaTeX tutorials? 

After spending hours and hours on editing my honours thesis with Word, I told myself  “it’s the time to take the bullet”. So, I began to learn LaTeX ever since I started my PhD program.

Now, I write almost everything in LaTeX rather than Word –  research papers, journal articles, powerpoint slides, resumes, letters and etc. Yes, LaTeX is part of my life!

It was not too difficult to get started with LaTeX. I managed to master the basic commands within one week. However, it can get a bit more complex when you start writing your thesis in LaTeX.

Whenever I struggled with LaTeX codes, I sought help from my PhD mates and asked lots of questions on LaTeX community forums. I am glad that I have always been fortunate enough and received great support. I guess it is time for me to return the favour.

  • Why use Overleaf? 

Unlike Texmaker, there is no need to install Overleaf or ShareLaTeX on your computer. You do need the internet to get access to your documents stored on these online editors. Please note that Overleaf and ShareLaTeX have joined forces to bring you Overleaf v2, which combines the best of both services.

Overleaf offers a what-you-see-is-what-you-get overlay and allows direct code editing. There are also lots of templates available for journals and dissertations. Like Google Docs, Overleaf supports simultaneous collaborative editing with automatic saving and version control.

  • How to use Overleaf?

Well, it’s not a simple question to answer but the full solution will be discussed in the following posts. I promise!

However, the first step is super easy! All you need to do is to sign up for an account on Overleaf with your email address. Once it’s done, you are ready to get started!


Copyright © handsonkeyboard 2019


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