6 tips for a new LaTeX user

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Recently a coworker started using LaTeX and asked for some tips. Here’s my 6 tips for starting to use LaTeX:
  1.  Start what you finish (i.e., close environments or else you get errors or weird bugs), for example \begin{equation} needs an \end{equation}
  2. Every document needs 3 things: \documentclass{<class>}, \begin{document}, and \end{document}
  3. For equations, use \( \) inline and \begin{eqnarray} \end{eqnarray} equations. \\ creates a new line. Use \\ \nonumber to continue on an equation and &=& to space multiple equations for example:
    <code>
    \begin{eqnarray}
    a &=& b +c \\
    a & =& b \\ \nonumber
     & & c
    \end{eqnarray}
    </code>
     Gives you something like:
    a = b +c   (1)
    a = b

          c        (2)

  4. Bib files are your friend for citations. Use Google Scholar to populate new citations.
  5.  \textit{My italics text}, \textbf{my bold text}, should get most of your formatting. Do NOT use the depreciated {\bf bold} or {\it italics} style. (cf http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/41681/correct-way-to-bold-italicize-text for more details on the second point)
  6. {} can be very helpful, especially for complicated math functions, when order of operation is important. For example, \sigma_{\pi^2}^{2}

 

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