Many things come to you via CTAN (the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network), so know your way there: CTAN. Everything you wanted to know about (La)TeX and more: CTAN help catalogue. This is worth a bookmark.

Most people come here looking for FREE EDITORS. Just scroll down a bit for a list of more than you'll ever want.

For Linux, you want to use Tex Live. I also like Kile as an editor. If you flew in here on a Mac, go to the MacTeX page.

### If you're starting from scratch, the basic setup is this:

1. Download and install Ghostscript (and Ghostview if you want it) first. This is OPTIONAL, but suggested. You don't need this if you just use pdflatex, but get it to keep your options open.
3. Then download and install an editor. I think TexMaker or TeXnicCenter are good if you are a novice. If you are experienced, you can use TexMakerX (now called TeXstudio). There are a bunch of free editors out there and you should try a few before you settle on one.

### MikTeX

Get MikTeX and install it. MikTeX is simple to install - just go to the MikTeX Homepage and download a (basic system or complete system) setup wizard. The basic system is a quick set-up that automatically pulls packages off the internet as you need them. This should be fine for most users.

Is there an alternative to MikTeX? Yes- it's called TeX Live.

NOTE: The MiKTeX installation now includes TeXworks, which is an editor and a pdf reader/previewer. So basically, all you need to start pdflaTeXing is MiKTeX. If you're just starting out, then this should be fine ... for awhile. However, my suggestion is to get one of the TexMakers and SumatraPDF-TeX instead of using TeXworks.

After paying hundreds of dollars for TeX, Buckwheat finds out
it's all free.
Follow these instructions and you'll be free TeXing in no time.

### Editors

• Lots of people (and juggalos) like TexMaker. It comes with an integrated pdf viewer and all the bells and whistles that a modern editor should have... and, it's actively maintained. The creator of TeXMaker is also the creator of Kile (a great Unix based editor). It is also possible to use Kile on WinDoze.
• TeXnicCenter used to be my editor of choice, but I stopped using because it wasn't being maintained. There is now a new stable version and it seems to be pretty good.

• An extension of TexMaker is TexMakerX (aka TeXstudio). Basically, it's a TexMaker ripoff with many more configuration options. The default syntax highlighting scheme is ATROCIOUS, but at least you can change it. The editor gets trashed at SourceForge, with a large disapproval rating. I'm not sure why there are so many thumbs down?? ... the editor seems ok to me although it seems a bit buggy.

NOTE: Most TeX editors do not make automatic backups (for some reason I can't think of), so I suggest you manually backup a file before you start to edit it. If you don't, then chances are you will learn to do it the HARD way. I think TexMaker can be configured to make backups... hopefully other editors will follow. TexMaker and TexMakerX come with a built-in previewer (called Okular) that is pretty good, but it doesn't render graphics very well. A better option is to get SumatraPDF-TeX. It is small and you can use it as general pdf reader instead of acrobat. You can easily configure many editors to use it; see this page for Configuring editors with SumatraPDF. For TeXmakerX (aka TeXstudio), see also forward/inverse search.

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more ...

• A FREE ascii editor that works well as a LaTeX editor is Crimson Editor. There are easy step-by-step instructions for setting the editor up for use with MikTeX. This is a great editor for general programming with syntax highlighting, a spell checker, column mode editing(!!) and other useful tools. While it's not the best editor for writing LaTeX, it's excellent for writing code/html (which is what I use it for)... and it will make infinite backups according to your preference. Unfortunately, CE does not have the LaTeX specific conveniences that make life a little easier. It's also possible to use notepad++; check out this blog if you're interested.
• The MikTeX distribution now includes an editor called Texworks. At this point, it's a bit too simple for my tastes, but it does have potential.

• If you're interested in doing LaTeX on your phone or tablet, you might want to try online editors. FREE online LaTeX editors can be found at Verbosus and ScribTeX. You can create and manage your LaTeX projects and generate pdf files online.
• If you are an Emacs die hard then you can get that for FREE from various sources ... here's a place to start: installing emacs.
• You can also get a FREE word processor-type interface for LaTeX, called LyX. LyX was initially built for Unix and was ported to Windows (and Mac OS-X). Currently, the Windows platform is officially supported by LyX. A lot of people like LyX because it is WYSIWYG, but this defeats the purpose of LaTeX. You need to get used to writing LaTeX without all sorts of crutches. That way you can LaTeX with nothing but a simple text editor. There's power in knowing that no matter where you are or what the circumstances are, you can write with a simple text editor and compile the code later when it is more convenient. If you use LyX, you will never become proficient at LaTeX.
• There are a few other editors periodically listed on the Miktex link page. Specifically, they periodically list these FREE editors that aren't already listed here: (1) WinShell (2) TexShell (3) AucTeX (for Emacs)
• Here's another FREE editor ... they're multiplying like rabbits. LED (LatexEDitor).
• And another FREE editor: MeWa.
• You might want to try Vim. It's a highly configurable text editor that is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most unix systems.
• There's a FREE LaTeX editor called TeXed that comes with some bells and whistles. It was built for Win95 and hasn't been updated for many years.
• There is also a NOT FREE editor specifically made for TeX (which is FREE) called WinEdt. There is a work around that I've heard of but never tried. Of course, this is stealing and aside from being illegal, my opinion is it's not worth stealing. Although it has some very nice features, I wouldn't use WinEdt even if it were free. To disable the popup reminder in Windows XP (and maybe in other Windows versions too): Go to Start > Run > Type regedit, press ok > HKEY_CURRENT_USER >Software >WinEdt> On the right, click on the key inst delete it. The popup will not come up for another 31 days.

A NOTE ON FONTS: Most of these editors use fixed width or monospace fonts, and most of the monospace fonts that come with Windows are... well... they suck. I've been using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, which is very good in that it is easy on the eyes and it's easy to distinguish between similar looking characters such as "l" , "1" , "i" and "o" , "0" , "O".

If you came down here looking for additional LaTeX fonts, you can find information about them at The LaTeX Font Catalogue.

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### Ghostscript

You'll also want to get Ghostscript and Ghostview (maybe - see discussion below).

On Ghostview (technically, the windows version is called GSview), there's a nag for money every time you start it up. Just click OK and it will work fine. The bottom line here is you don't NEED GSview. In the olden days, dvi previewers didn't display graphics, so you had to use Ghostview if you wanted to view your entire document, graphics and text. But now, dvi previewers display everything or you can compile directly to a pdf file using pdftex. So, if you want to be able to get a quick view of a postscript (.ps or .eps) file, then get GSview and get nagged (some pdf readers will open .eps files).

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### Spell check for TeX:

This is an old topic... most 21st century editors check spelling. Aspell is still around (but old), and if you need additional dictionaries, you can use the ones from Open Office:

• TeXSpell.zip (this will download the file from CTAN). TeXSpell is a crude DOS program so it won't work with NT or its relatives) but it works well and it's better than having missspelllled wurds in yuor tex files.
• Or try 4spell, a win32 application.
• Here's another one: Gnu Aspell.
TeXnicCenter and TexMaker (and perhaps others) use the spelling engine of OpenOffice and you can download dictionaries for it, if necessary. For example, if you use TexMaker and you're in the USA, then you have to go get the US English Dictionary. The dictionary files are archives with an .oxt extension. If you have something like 7-zip (free), you can expand it. If not, just change .oxt to .zip and use the archiver that comes with Windoze. You'll need 2 files, the .dic AND the .aff file. Put them in a convenient location and then configure the editor so it knows where those files live.

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### Using LaTeX in Presentations

Use BEAMER and forget the other stuff, especially powerpoint. How do you get started?

First, go here BEAMER CLASS EXAMPLES and download the first example,example-1.tex. Compile the file and MikTeX will automatically download everything it needs to compile the file if it is not there already (assuming you let MikTeX install what it needs on the fly - this is set in the MikTeX Options). Play around with the file... make some minor changes and compile it again until you feel comfortable with what you're doing.

Then go back to website and download each of the other example-x.tex files, play with them ... add or change some things ... and compile them. By the time you're done, you'll have a pretty good idea of how to work the beamer machine. If you still need help, google "beamer" and you'll find all sorts of examples. Other good sources are the User Guide and some useful examples, both of which are pdf files. Finally, you may find some help at Nabble Beamer Help although it seems a little D E A D.

BUT, if you MUST use PowerPoint (you'll need Ghostscript for these) ...

Then use Iguana Tex. I've tried it and it works like a charm.

Here's another free alternative to TeXPoint (the used-to-be-FREE addon for PowerPoint described below- it's probably what you're looking for down here): MyTeXPoint.

Are you dieing to use LaTeX in Powerpoint? Check out TeXPoint. This WAS a pretty cool device. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST... TEXPOINT (TP) IS NO LONGER FREE. I've decided to put up an old version, 2.0.3. I might be called on this soon, so get it while you can:

For office XP or 2002, get TP2002-203.msi and for office 2003 get TP2003-203.msi. In case these don't do it for you, I found a very old version (1.5.4) that supposedly works for all versions of ppt: TP154.msi.
Also, if you're interested, there's OOoLaTeX, which is currently being developed for OpenOffice.

Another FREE alternative to TP is TeX4PPT. The last update was 2005.

:::::::::::::::::::::::: BE COOL - USE BEAMER ::::::::::::::::::::::::::

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### Providing CODE in Your Documents

After trying various methods, I think the best way to include code in a document is to use the package called Listings. I might provide more info on this eventually, but for now, the Wiki LaTeX Book has a nice page on using the package. MikTeX will install it, if necessary, when you put \usepackage{listings} in the preamble.

### Math, TeX and HTML

Interested in converting TeX to HTML? Check this out.

Here's another page on web math... be sure to check out gladTeX at the same site.

For complicated math, I think using a pdf file is the best way to go. Also, using html tables, you can do some complicated expressions ... the problem with this approach is that different browsers will display the expressions differently (see web math). Simple expressions such as X(t) = ∫ eiωt dZ(ω) are easy to do with HTML 4.

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### You say you suck at LaTeX

The key to getting started with LaTeX, as with most things, is to start small; do something that you can throw away. For example, try to retype a math exam or part of a page from a math text. And remember, you can always go to CTAN (did you forget already?) or go to Google and do a search on LaTeX (or TeX or whatever); you'll pull up a couple of million sites with useful info and probably some porn.

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Here are some other links to great TeX sites ...

• So you want to write something like A ∪ B, but $A \union B$ doesn't work!!! Can't think of the LaTeX name of that symbol?? Try this site: Detexify.

• Excel2LaTeX When it comes to making tables, LaTeX is a PaiN ... especially if your editor does not allow column mode editing. Excel2LaTeX allows you to transform the current selection from Excel to LaTeX. I've used this and it works pretty well... although, for the most part, I'll do my tables in Crimson Editor (see Editors above) and then paste it in my tex document. I do it this way because the column mode editing in CE is excellent (as opposed to the one in WinEdt, which doesn't seem to do what you think it should do). The TexMakers have a table tool built into the editor.

• Why TeX? Ten good reasons (check out reason number 8) and some history, too.

• DVIOUT is a great dvi previewer. I used it for about a year when I was having trouble viewing old postscript graphics with YAP (the dvi previewer that comes with MikTeX). It has some nice features that YAP doesn't have, such as the ability to search for words in you dvi file.

• AMS-LaTeX If you're typing math, you should check out (and use) AMS-LaTeX. It's included in the MikTeX distribution, but take a look at the short guide (a pdf file) for a quick start.

• Katherine Blundell's Site Tips on using color in LaTeX.

• Eric Schechter's Site Lots of goodies... hasn't been updated for a long time.

• The Science of Scientific Writing Well, if you're going to be writing, you might as well get a few tips. This is worth reading for fun and for profit!

• TUG the TeX Users Group.

• The LaTeX Project Page where you can also...
... find out what is up with the TeX lion and contemplate why it's wearing lipstick and has a perm and wears glasses, and why someone would associate a lion with TeX in the first place, and why the hell that damn thing is still used.

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