Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132
FAS Computer Services to Harvard University IT: (617) 495-7777.
The powerful text processing system LaTeX is a reliable, free software, based on the language TeX written by D. Knuth .


  • It is handy to know the symbol codes ( Pdf).
  • For exploring other fonts, the file explorefonts.tex can be helpful. Just uncomment the font, you want to explore and run it through latex.
  • How to use these templates and more can be seen in this Makefile .
  • To generate a document with index,
    1. Add "\makeindex" in the line before "\begin{document}"
    2. Add "\input{\jobname.ind}" in the line before "\end{document}"
    3. Run "latex file.tex; makeindex file.tex; latex file.tex"

In order to generate Pdf documents from Latex files, simply use "pdflatex" instead of "latex". Alternatively, first generate a PS file by first running latex: (i.e. "latex file.tex;), and translating the DVI file: (i.e. with "dvips -o file.dvi"). The PS file translated to pdf with "ps2pdf": (i.e. with "ps2pdf"). The later more complicated aproach is necessary for example for documents with pictures, where pdflatex does not include the pictures.

To TeXShop (a frontend for OS X)

  • TeXShop opens PDF files dropped onto its icon. A selection of this PDF file can be copied and pasted into other applications like "Pages" or "Keynote". You can also simply drag the selection to an other application. Dragging works even with "MS Word".
  • If TeXShop does not show pictures (when usng PDFLatex), switch under the "Typeset" menu from "Pdftex" to "TeX and Ghostscript".
  • How does TeXShop fine Style and Bibliography files on the harddrive?
  • A local issue with TeXShop on public machines: by default, TeXShop uses the local TeX version, which can be less functional. To use the teTeX distribution, enter "/usr/local/teTeX/bin/powerpc-apple-darwin-current" in to the "Engine" entry of the TeXShop Preferences.

Quick generation of formulas: enter
into the URL to get a GIF picture with the LaTeX formula. Just modify the URL to get a different formula.

Books on LaTeX (status 2000)

  • H. Kopra and P. W. Daly: A guide to LaTeX
  • M. Goossens, S. Rahtz, F. Mittelbach: LaTeX graphics companion.
  • M. Goosens, S. Rahtz: LateX Web Companion.
  • A. Hoenig, TeX Unbound: LaTeX and TeX strategies for fonts, graphics and more.


Simplicity, Clarity, Generality B.W. Kernighan, R. Pike, in "The Practice of Programming".
Privacy Digital Accessibility