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LaTeX Workshop: Overview

Developed for the 2015 CIRC Summer School workshop on LaTeX.

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Tyler Dzuba
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Carlson Library 313F
POA Library, Bausch & Lomb 374
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Workshop Outline

Welcome to the LaTeX workshop! 

The content here was designed for the CIRC Summer School workshop on LaTeX held August 18–20, 2015. If you've stumbled on this otherwise: welcome!

Agenda for the workshop:

  • Pre-work
    • Get a working LaTeX installation
    • Verify that it works so we can hit the ground running!
  • Day 1
    • Introduction to LaTeX
    • Document structure
    • Basic troubleshooting (or, The Error Message Only Looks Scary)
  • Day 2
    • More advanced typesetting: math, tables, text formatting, and more fun!
    • Some useful packages and how to find them
  • Day 3
    • Bibliography management with BibTeX
    • Tying it all together


Since we'll be focusing on the LaTeX language and what we can do with it, we don't have a lot of time for background material. Here's what will be useful for you to know ahead of time:

  • Basic Unix commands. If you can navigate to a directory, copy a file, and call commands I tell you about from the command line, you're good to go.
  • How to use a basic text editor. LaTeX files are just markup in plain text files. If you're using a desktop text editor that comes with the LaTeX installation you've installed, that'll do. If you want to run commands from a terminal, I assume you have a favorite text editor already. :-)
  • How to get into BlueHive, transfer files to and from your directories on the server, and load packages. This will only be necessary if you're using BlueHive, of course.

Try out the prework, and if you get stuck, let me know!

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session, attendees will:

  1. Be able to write valid LaTeX documents that can be typeset on either a local LaTeX installation or BlueHive.
  2. Know how to troubleshoot common typesetting errors.
  3. Know various special formatting commands, including those for mathematics, text formatting, and tables.
  4. Be able to install packages to extend LaTeX's functionality, find documentation for those packages, and discover new packages.
  5. Be able to use BibTeX to generate and modify in-text citations and bibliography entries.
  6. Know of major sources for further help with LaTeX: websites, books, forums, and librarians.