Introduction to TeX and LaTeX

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# About TeX and LaTeX

Here's the first thing to know:

- TeX is pronounced like the "tech" in
*technology*. LaTeX is pronounced like "law-tech" or (sometimes) "lay-tech".

So what do these oddly pronounced and oddly spelled words represent? One might officially call them "document preparation systems", but basically they are a markup language allowing you to typeset mathematical expressions easily. You don't get the nice point-and-click that comes with Microsoft products, but you do get beautiful equations and automatic handling of things like page numbering, equation numbering, table of contents, etc.

## Benefits of TeX

Some of the benefits of using TeX are:

- Automatic numbering of pages, equations, sections, etc.
- Easy to write mathematical expressions.
- Spacing in mathematical expressions is handled very well (particularly in comparison to other products out there!)
- Automatic generation of table of contents.
- Automatic handling of bibliographic information.
- Fully customizable.

Some of the drawbacks are:

- Need to "compile" documents before seeing what they look like.
- No point-and-click interface.
- Can be difficult to insert pictures into documents.
- Sometimes takes a lot of searching to find out how to do what you want to do.

# The Structure of a TeX Document

Here is the basic code for a TeX document:

```
\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
Hello world.
\end{document}
```

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page revision: 6, last edited: 27 Jul 2009 12:09