This site aims to help you take the first steps with LaTeX, a document preparation system designed to produce high-quality typeset output. LaTeX can be scary for new users as it is not a word processor, and because it is not a single program. Our aim here is to help you get started without trying to show you everything in one go.
To do that, we have taken around 15 of the most important things you’ll need to know, and made them into short ‘lessons’. Each lesson is very focused, so they should not take too long to cover. In each lesson, we’ve given examples of what you’d write, and they are available so you can try them out online.
We know that people will want to know more than we can cover in 15 short lessons. To help guide you when you need more information, we have therefore included a ‘going further’ page for each lesson. This extra information is there to support you when you need the detail, but should not get in your way if you do not.
To support your learning, the site includes lots of examples. In Lesson 2 we will talk about how you use LaTeX both online and with a local installation on your own PC. To get you started, we have set up our examples so you can edit and run them in the page they are on. We have also linked them to Overleaf, one of the most popular online LaTeX editing sites. But don’t worry, you can also use the examples on your own machine. You can read more about how to use the examples in the site help.
Our examples are based around using an up-to-date LaTeX installation. They all work with both of our online demonstration systems, so if you get strange errors, you might want to check if your LaTeX system is up-to-date.
The focused lessons here are not meant to cover everything you’ll ever need to know about LaTeX; we want to give you enough to get started and to understand examples and advice elsewhere. We cover getting more information in the last lesson, but it’s worth saying now that getting access to a book about LaTeX is still the best way to learn the detail. We’ve given some recommendations in the last lesson.
Finally we offer a gallery of small examples showing a range of different subject areas not covered in this introduction, and different LaTeX packages in those areas.