A few files to get you started on LaTeX

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The following material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of information among the students in the classes I teach. Further distribution of this material is prohibited, and constitutes a copyright violation.


Notation is very important in our field. I have prepared a table of symbols I most frequently use. You can retrieve the LaTeX source Notation.tex, or the PDF file Notation.pdf obtained from it.

Typesetting your homeworks

Typeset your work using LaTeX (pdflatex on our system), the standard high-quality typesetting program in our field. Note that a ".tex" file is an ordinary ASCII file, so you can use your favorite text editing tool (vi, emacs, etc.) to type it. When your run pdflatex on it, you will produce a ".pdf" file that you can visualize or print (assuming your input was a correct LaTeX file).

To include figures in your homework, you can draw them using TGIF or any other graphical tool available to you, and save them as ".eps" files. Here is an example of how to include a file Figure.eps, generated from the TGIF file Figure.obj, into a file Figure.tex. You will get the best results for technical figures using the TikZ package, which takes a little longer to learn and use, but it is fully integrated with LaTeX.

Here is an example of how to use citations in LaTex. Copy file BibtexExample.tex and BibtexExample.bib to a directory of yours, then run the following commands (in that order):
pdflatex BibtexExample
bibtex BibtexExample
pdflatex BibtexExample
pdflatex BibtexExample
Note that you need to run LaTeX twice after running BibTeX, because LaTeX needs to rearrange the crossrefences. After that, and until you run BibTeX again, you normally only need to run LaTeX once every time you have modified the ".tex" file and you want to see what the output looks like. LaTeX does tell you to rerun it when it thinks that crossreferences might need to be updated.

Last updated: January 20, 2021. Report suggestions and problems to: ciardo@iastate.edu
URL: http://web.cs.iastate.edu/~ciardo/latex.html