This page is to serve as a brief introduction and reference guide to LaTeX. It is intended for first-year graduate students taking MATH5905, but others may find it useful as well.


Notes on installing LaTeX - [pdf] [tex]

Introduction to LaTeX - [pdf] [tex]

Beamer Projection from LaTeX Presentation in MATH5905 - [pdf] [tex] - depends on pdiag.sty [documentation]

A large symbols + package guide

A small LaTeX cheat sheet

Where to get LaTeX


  • Most distributions contain the LaTeX backend (texlive) in their repositories. For instance, if you're using Ubuntu then the "texlive-full" package is probably what you're looking for. You may also download the texlive source here.
  • The most common editor is Kile. This is also in the repositories in many distributions. Ideally, installing texlive and kile from the repositories should give you a functioning LaTeX system.
  • I prefer Okular as a viewer over Evince, but you may need some extra libraries to make certain formats (e.g., dvi) entirely acceptable. In Ubuntu, the "okular-extra-backends" package makes this possible.

Mac OS-X

  • Most Mac OS-X users download MacTex.
  • MacTex is actually a redistribution of texlive, and also includes the TeXShop editor.


  • A functioning LaTeX system can sometimes be hard to achieve in Windows. There are several options.
  • As a backend, MikTeX is popular. You may also use TexLive. While MikTeX is more popular, TexLive may be a good idea if you plan on sharing your LaTeX documents with those running Linux or Mac OS-X systems.
  • As a frontend, TeXNicCenter is very popular.
  • You may wish to compile to dvi, and so having a program such as YAP (included with MikTeX) can function as a lightweight dvi viewer.

© 2011 Jason B. Hill. All Rights Reserved.