One of the most useful skills you can learn is how to type up documents in $\LaTeX$, a markup language designed by Donald Knuth and Leslie Lamport. $\LaTeX$ makes it easy to typeset complicated mathematical equations and create publication-quality papers while taking advantage of version controll systems like Git. You can even use $\LaTeX$ on some websites, like this one! As an example, the Fourier transform \[ \hat{f}(\xi) = \int_{-\infty}^\infty f(x) \mathrm{e}^{-2\pi i x \xi}dx \] can be written as \hat{f}(\xi) = \int_{-\infty}^\infty f(x) \mathrm{e}^{-2\pi i x \xi}dxLaTeX is often used by mathemeticians, physicists, and computer scientists to typeset papers and textbooks; most of the papers on the arXiv are made using LaTeX.

Installing LaTeX

The easiest way to install LaTeX is to visit the LaTeX Project and follow the instructions there. LaTeX is compatable with every major operating system, so if you run macOS, Linux, or Windows, you’re good to go. If you don’t want to install LaTeX on your computer, you can consider an online LaTeX platform like ShareLaTeX or Overleaf; these will allow you to access your work from any computer, and they’re free.

Using LaTeX

LaTeX has a bit of a learning curve; although it is simpler than most programming languages, LaTeX syntax can be unfamiliar at first glance. There are many, many excellent tutotials on LaTeX out there to help you get started!

Full Tutorials
Cheat Sheets
Video Tutorials
Other Helpful Links
  • TeX StackExchange: This is an extremely helpful question-and-answer forum for LaTeX users. Chances are, if you have a question about how to do something in LaTeX, the answer is already here! If not, ask it, and your question can be answered by experienced LaTeX users.
  • Detexify: Want to know what the LaTeX command for a particular symbol is? Draw it with your cursor and see the most similar symbols and their commands!
  • Comprehensive Symbol List: How to type pretty much every symbol you could ever want.
Yale LaTeX Class Files

One of the benefits of using LaTeX is that there are often class files and templates that will automatically format your document, so you don’t need to worry about things like margins or bibliographies.