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Beginning to Type

latex files begin with a command, \documentclass, which tells latex what kind of document follows. For instance, if you wanted to use the article format of the AMS family of journals, and wanted to include some fancy AMS math symbols and commutative diagrams, then type

\usepackage{amstex, amssymb, amscd}
Some other possibilities, instead of article, are book, report and letter. book or report might be good for a thesis. See Chapter 2 in the most recent edition of Lamport's book for a description of the various document classes available. The amstex package loads most of the features of A MS-latex while amssymb loads some extra math symbols, and amscd loads some special commands for drawing commutative diagrams. Incidentally, there exist many other specialized packages besides the above three AMS packages which you can load into your document to extend the functionality of latex; consult The latex Companion for a complete list and full details.

An alternative \documentclass command, which will produce output that is closer to the format of AMS journals, is

This document class automatically loads the amstex package, so no need here for the \usepackage{amstex} command afterward.

The default in article is to use fonts 10 points high. (A point is roughly 1/72 of an inch, which also incidentally is roughly the resolution of a pixel on the monochrome monitors in the department.) Since 10 points is a bit small for some eyes, you may prefer to use 11 or 12 point fonts.

Everything you type and want printed must appear between the lines


The text goes here ...


So the basic structure of your document might look like:



This is a very interesting and important paper....

(Rest of the paper)


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