# How can I learn LaTeX?

I have no experience in using Latex, but I am planning to use it for publishing purposes. Could you please recommend any resources that help me to learn in less time (at least the basics on how to publish an article using it)?

• Related, though users here may be able to point you to resources more related to scientific publishing: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/11/…
– Tyberius
Sep 10, 2021 at 15:49
• A non-answer answer: use a tool like Overleaf (not affiliated) as you get started. Half the battle with LaTeX is learning syntax and oddities, the other half is the tool chain and learning to compile documents correctly (in the right order). Once you outgrow something like Overleaf, you'll already have the syntax down and learning the rest will be easy. The secret is to not get bogged down in the tool and to focus on writing. Also be sure that the journals you will submit your work to accept LaTeX and check their requirements. Sep 10, 2021 at 16:05
• You don't need to become a mechanic to learn how to drive a car. Check out LyX and see if it suits your needs. Sep 10, 2021 at 18:38
• I started by wrapping plain text (with empty lines as paragraph breaks) in \documentclass{article} \begin{document} ... \end{document} and learning about each feature as I needed it. Sep 11, 2021 at 11:20
• Meta discussion relevant to this question: mattermodeling.meta.stackexchange.com/q/291/671 Sep 11, 2021 at 16:27

As a gentle, free (as in free beer and as in free speech) on-line introduction, I would recommend learnlatex.org.

At the start, you choose one of currently eight languages (Catalan, German, English, Spanish, French, Marathi, Portuguese, Vietnamese). Subsequently, all teaching is going to be provided in this language only.

Later, you enter 16 core lessons; all at your pace, without hassle of installation. These cover elementary concepts like document classes for articles, books, slides; how to interact with graphics, how to embed mathematics, the use of cross-references and citations. Contrasting to other starter kits, the organization of larger projects with LaTeX2e or debugging errors equally is part of the game. You train from your browser:

(credit)

For work and generation of the .pdf in Overleaf (left hand button), a platform equally set up for collaborative edit, you need a log-in. Your school may be among the subscribers. To run the small examples, the work with TeXLive/LaTeX online (right hand button) does not require a subscription.

Then, according to the language selected, there are special lectures. For example, by TeX's age and origin in the States, the input of characters not covered by ASCII 7-bit (like in matériaux, polymères, École, garçon, Nöel from the Latin script) or use of a dedicated hyphenation pattern requires some information.

The project doesn't aim to be an encyclopedia. Joseph Wright, the moderator of the project, equally is maintainer of extensions for LaTeX2e (e.g., siuntix) and moderator on https://tex.stackexchange.com/. If your native language is not yet among the eight, you may contribute to the project's extension via GitHub, too.

• Thanks @Buttonwood I really like first online website. Sep 11, 2021 at 8:40
• Very nice introduction. Since the license of the project is CC BY-SA 4.0 for text and the license of all code examples there is CC0, I'd argue it is not only free as in free beer but also as in free speech (see learnlatex.org/en/licenses). Also Joseph Wright is not only the maintainer of several packages for LaTeX2e, he is part of the kernel team, learnlatex.org is moderated by the core developers of LaTeX. Sep 12, 2021 at 7:42

I personally started with "The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX", a PDF file that should come with most LaTeX distributions under the name "lshort.pdf". The document claims that it can be read in 139 minutes (the precise number depends on the version). I remember I didn't finish it in such a short time (perhaps the given time estimate was for native English speakers, which I'm not) but in the worse case it won't take you more than half a day to read. While you read it, it's beneficial to create a tex file, actually type some commands (including inserting equations, tables, graphics, etc.) into it and compile the file.

lshort.pdf does not contain all information you need, but the remaining intricacies are usually sufficiently few that you won't have much trouble googling them every time you encounter them. Another great resource for LaTeX-related problems is the LaTeX stack exchange, although googling LaTeX-related questions will usually lead you there anyway.

If you are already relatively certain about the journal that your next paper will be submitted to, it's also beneficial to download the LaTeX template of that journal, once you learned the basics of LaTeX. It may save you some time if you type your article directly into that template, and frequently compile the document before you finish, to detect and correct the errors as soon as possible, so that you don't repeat any given error when you write the subsequent sections of the paper.

Learning Latex to create documents is like becoming a mechanic to learn how to drive a car. Lyx is based on the Latex typesetting system, but provides a content-focused "live preview" editor that doesn't expose the inner workings to the user. Advanced formatting is still possible, with lots of it made accessible to the user through meaningful GUI interaction.

If you've ever had to write complicated equations (or, god forbid, tables!) in pure Tex, you'll very quickly understand why this program is so useful.

• Note, the inclusion of table formatted material into LaTeX2e may be facilitated much if your program already has a native .tex export of the selection (e.g., gnumeric, Data -> Export Data -> Export into other format), or uses a good plugin (like excel2latex on CTAN). You equally may write tables in orgmode exported as .html, .tex/.pdf, or *.odt (even computing spreadsheets with user adjusted alignments are possible), too. Often a sufficient alternative to a manual definition from scratch. Sep 17, 2021 at 12:38
• There are, for example, three tags dedicated to the conversion from Excel to LaTeX on https://tex.stackexchange.com/tags, too. Sep 17, 2021 at 12:41