LaTeX

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LaTeX
The LaTeX logo, typeset with LaTeX
Original author(s)Leslie Lamport
PlatformCross-platform
TypeTypesetting
LicenseLaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)
Websitelatex-project.org
 
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LaTeX
The LaTeX logo, typeset with LaTeX
Original author(s)Leslie Lamport
PlatformCross-platform
TypeTypesetting
LicenseLaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)
Websitelatex-project.org

LaTeX (/ˈltɛk/ LAY-tek or /ˈlɑːtɛk/ LAH-tek[1]) is a document preparation system and document markup language. LaTeX uses the TeX typesetting program for formatting its output, and is itself written in the TeX macro language. LaTeX is not the name of a particular editing program, but refers to the encoding or tagging conventions that are used in LaTeX documents. Almost any editing program or word-processor may be used to write LaTeX documents, although there are many editing programs written specially to make using LaTeX easy. Interactive websites and smartphone apps are increasingly (2013) generalizing and simplifying the tasks of writing documents with LaTeX[citation needed].

One of the hallmarks of LaTeX as a piece of software and a document preparation system is its maturity. It has been used intensively as a writing environment of first choice by a large and diverse community of writers for many decades. As such, it has evolved into an extremely effective and powerful writing tool.

LaTeX is widely used in academia.[2][3] It is also used as the primary method of displaying formulas on Wikipedia. As a primary or intermediate format, e.g., translating DocBook and other XML-based formats to PDF, LaTeX is used because of the high quality of typesetting achievable by TeX. The typesetting system offers programmable desktop publishing features and extensive facilities for automating most aspects of typesetting and desktop publishing, including numbering and cross-referencing, tables and figures, page layout and bibliographies.

Like TeX, LaTeX started as a writing tool for mathematicians and computer scientists. But from early in its development it was also taken up by scholars who needed to write documents that included complex non-Latin scripts, such as Arabic, Sanskrit and Chinese. The extraordinary power of TeX and LaTeX to cope gracefully with complex languages and layouts remains unique even today. LaTeX is used for everything from business letters to multi-volume aircraft maintenance manuals, TV programme guides, critical editions of Asian classics, and projector presentations for conference talks.

LaTeX is intended to provide a high-level language that accesses the power of TeX. LaTeX essentially comprises a collection of TeX macros and a program to process LaTeX documents. Because the TeX formatting commands are very elementary, it is usually much easier for authors to use LaTeX, where commands for common requirements such as chapter headings, footnotes, cross-references and bibliographies are ready-made.

LaTeX was originally written in the early 1980s by Leslie Lamport at SRI International.[4] The current version is LaTeX2e (styled as LaTeX2ε). LaTeX is free software and is distributed under the LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL).

Typesetting system[edit]

LaTeX is based on the philosophy that authors should be able to focus on the content of what they are writing without being distracted by its visual presentation. In preparing a LaTeX document, the author specifies the logical structure using familiar concepts such as chapter, section, table, figure, etc., and lets the LaTeX system worry about the presentation of these structures. It therefore encourages the separation of layout from content while still allowing manual typesetting adjustments where needed. This is similar to the mechanism by which many word processors allow styles to be defined globally for an entire document or the use of Cascading Style Sheets to style HTML.

LaTeX can be arbitrarily extended by using the underlying macro language to develop custom formats. Such macros are often collected into packages, which are available to address special formatting issues such as complicated mathematical content or graphics. Indeed, in the example below, the align environment is provided by the amsmath package.

In order to create a document in LaTeX, you first write a .tex file in your text editor. Then you give your .tex file as input to the TeX programme (with the LaTeX macros loaded), and TeX writes out a file suitable for viewing onscreen or printing.[5] This write-format-preview cycle is one of the chief ways in which working with LaTeX differs from what-you-see-is-what-you-get word processing. Many LaTeX-aware editing programs make this cycle a simple matter of pressing a single key, while showing the output preview on the screen beside the input window.

Examples[edit]

The example below shows the LaTeX input and corresponding output:

MarkupRenders as
 
 \documentclass[12pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \title{\LaTeX} \date{} \begin{document}   \maketitle   \LaTeX{} is a document preparation system for the \TeX{}   typesetting program. It offers programmable desktop   publishing features and extensive facilities for   automating most aspects of typesetting and desktop   publishing, including numbering and cross-referencing,   tables and figures, page layout, bibliographies, and   much more. \LaTeX{} was originally written in 1984 by   Leslie Lamport and has become the dominant method for   using \TeX; few people write in plain \TeX{} anymore.   The current version is \LaTeXe.     % This is a comment, not shown in final output.   % The following shows typesetting power of LaTeX:   \begin{align}     E_0 &= mc^2                              \\     E &= \frac{mc^2}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}   \end{align} \end{document} 
LaTeX output

Note how the equation for E was typeset by the markup:

E &= \frac{mc^2}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}

The square root is denoted by "sqrt" and fractions by "frac".

Pronouncing and writing "LaTeX"[edit]

LaTeX is usually pronounced /ˈltɛk/ or /ˈlɑːtɛk/ in English (that is, not with the /ks/ pronunciation English speakers normally associate with X, but with a /k/).

The characters T, E, X in the name come from capital Greek letters tau, epsilon, and chi, as the name of TeX derives from the Greek: τέχνη (skill, art, technique); for this reason, TeX's creator Donald Knuth promotes a pronunciation of /tɛx/ (tekh)[6] (that is, with a voiceless velar fricative as in Modern Greek, similar to the ch in loch). Lamport, on the other hand, has said he does not favor or discourage any pronunciation for LaTeX.

The name is traditionally printed in running text with a special typographical logo: LaTeX. In media where the logo cannot be precisely reproduced in running text, the word is typically given the unique capitalization LaTeX. The TeX, LaTeX[7] and XeTeX[8] logos can be rendered via pure CSS and XHTML for use in graphical web browsers following the specifications of the internal \LaTeX macro.[9]

Licensing[edit]

LaTeX is typically distributed along with plain TeX. It is distributed under a free software license, the LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL). The LPPL is not compatible with the GNU General Public License, as it requires that modified files must be clearly differentiable from their originals (usually by changing the filename); this was done to ensure that files that depend on other files will produce the expected behavior and avoid dependency hell. The LPPL is DFSG compliant as of version 1.3. As free software, LaTeX is available on most operating systems including UNIX (Solaris, HP-UX, AIX), BSD (FreeBSD, Mac OS X, NetBSD, OpenBSD), GNU/Linux (Red Hat, Debian, Arch, Gentoo), Microsoft Windows (9x, XP, Vista, 7, 8), DOS, RISC OS, AmigaOS and Plan9.

Related software[edit]

As a macro package, LaTeX provides a set of macros for TeX to interpret. There are many other macro packages for TeX, including Plain TeX, GNU Texinfo, AMSTeX, and ConTeXt.

When TeX "compiles" a document, it follows (from the user's point of view) the following processing sequence: Macros → TeX → Driver → Output. Different implementations of each of these steps are typically available in TeX distributions. Traditional TeX will output a DVI file, which is usually converted to a PostScript file. More recently, Hàn Thế Thành and others have written a new implementation of TeX called pdfTeX, which also outputs to PDF and takes advantage of features available in that format. The XeTeX engine developed by Jonathan Kew merges modern font technologies and Unicode with TeX.

The default font for LaTeX is Knuth's Computer Modern, which gives default documents created with LaTeX the same distinctive look as those created with plain TeX. XeTeX allows the use of OpenType and TrueType (that is, outlined) fonts for output files.

There are also many editors for LaTeX.

Versions[edit]

LaTeX2e is the current version of LaTeX, since it replaced Latex 2.09 in 1994. As of 2013, a future version called LaTeX3, started in the early 1990s, is still in development.[10] Planned features include improved syntax, hyperlink support, a new user interface, access to arbitrary fonts, and new documentation.[11]

There are numerous commercial implementations of the entire TeX system. System vendors may add extra features like additional typefaces and telephone support. LyX is a free, WYSIWYM visual document processor that uses LaTeX for a back-end. TeXmacs is a free, WYSIWYG editor with similar functionalities as LaTeX but a different typesetting engine. Other WYSIWYG editors that produce LaTeX include Scientific Word on MS Windows.

A number of TeX distributions are available, including TeX Live (multiplatform), teTeX (deprecated in favor of TeX Live, UNIX), fpTeX (deprecated), MiKTeX (Windows), proTeXt (Windows), MacTeX (TeX Live with the addition of Mac specific programs), gwTeX (Mac OS X), OzTeX (Mac OS Classic), AmigaTeX (no longer available) and PasTeX (AmigaOS, available on the Aminet repository).

Compatibility[edit]

LaTeX documents (*.tex) can be opened with any text editor. Additionally, TeX documents can be shared by rendering the LaTeX file to Rich Text Format (.rtf) or XML. This can be done using the free software programs LaTeX2RTF or TeX4ht. LaTeX can also be rendered to PDF files using the tool pdfLaTeX.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An introduction to LaTeX". 
  2. ^ "What are TeX, LaTeX and friends?". 
  3. ^ Alexia Gaudeul (March 27, 2006). Do Open Source Developers Respond to Competition?: The (La)TeX Case Study. SSRN 908946. 
  4. ^ Leslie Lamport (April 23, 2007). "The Writings of Leslie Lamport: LaTeX: A Document Preparation System". Leslie Lamport's Home Page. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. ^ PDF output it common, but TeX can output other formats such as DVI ("Device independent" format). See below for more detail about outputs.
  6. ^ Donald E. Knuth, The TeXbook, Addison–Wesley, Boston, 1986, p. 1.
  7. ^ O'Connor, Edward. "TeX and LaTeX logo POSHlets". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  8. ^ Taraborelli, Dario. "CSS-driven TeX logos". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  9. ^ Walden, David (2005-07-15). "Travels in TeX Land: A Macro, Three Software Packages, and the Trouble with TeX". The PracTeX journal (3). Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  10. ^ See e.g. bubl.ac.uk
  11. ^ Frank Mittelbach, Chris Rowley (January 12, 1999). "The LaTeX3 Project" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-07-30. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Griffiths, David F.; Highman, David S. (1997). Learning LaTeX. Philadelphia: Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. ISBN 0-89871-383-8. 
  • Kopka, Helmut; Daly, Patrick W. (2003). Guide to LaTeX (4th ed.). Addison-Wesley Professional. ISBN 0-321-17385-6. 
  • Lamport, Leslie (1994). LaTeX: A document preparation system: User's guide and reference. illustrations by Duane Bibby (2nd ed.). Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley Professional. ISBN 0-201-52983-1. 
  • Mittelbach, Frank; Goosens, Michel (2004). The LaTeX Companion (2nd ed.). Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-36299-6. 
  • Flynn, Peter (2011) [2002]. Formatting Information: A Beginner's Guide to LaTeX (5th online ed.). Cork: Silmaril. p. 193. 

External links[edit]