What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a software system for document preparation. LaTeX is widely used in academia for the communication and publication of scientific documents in many fields, including mathematics, computer science, engineering, physics, chemistry, economics, linguistics, quantitative psychology, philosophy, and political science. It also has a prominent role in the preparation and publication of books and articles that contain complex multilingual materials, such as Arabic and Greek. LaTeX uses the TeX typesetting program for formatting its output, and is itself written in the TeX macro language.

LaTeX was created in the early 1980s by Leslie Lamport, when he was working at SRI. He needed to write TeX macros for his own use, and thought that with a little extra effort he could make a general package usable by others. Macros play a crucial role in LaTeX; everything is based on macros.

LaTeX attempts to follow the design philosophy of separating presentation from content, so that authors can focus on the content of what they are writing without attending simultaneously to its visual appearance. In preparing a LaTeX document, the author specifies the logical structure using simple, familiar concepts such as chapter, section, table, figure, etc., and lets the LaTeX system handle the formatting and layout of these structures. As a result, it encourages the separation of the layout from the content — while still allowing manual typesetting adjustments whenever needed. This concept is similar to the mechanism by which many word processors allow styles to be defined globally for an entire document, or the use of Cascading Style Sheets in styling HTML documents.

The LaTeX system is a markup language that handles typesetting and rendering and can be arbitrarily extended by using the underlying macro language to develop custom macros such as new environments and commands. Such macros are often collected into packages, which could then be made available to address some specific typesetting needs such as the formatting of complex mathematical expressions or graphics

So why LaTeX?

So, we use LaTeX first and foremost to procude beautiful documents. Secondly, given the plethora of packages and libraries out there we can create high quality figures such as the following

which is quite daunting to reproduce in MS Word whereas in LaTeX with a few lines of code it is easy peasy. Another great demonstration of, literally, infinite capabilities of LaTeX is the following figure depicting a manifold

You do realise of course that the above figure is impossible to draw in MS Word and that you would probably use an external programme. However, with LaTeX it is relatively easy to produce and what matters the most is that the size of the document does not get that big. Also, the graphic is portable.

LaTeX is our passion

For us in LaTeXify.org LaTeX is our passion. We love learning new methods and/or shortcuts that make our life easier. You probably may have heard the expression LaTeX über alles. It means LaTeX above all. We abide by this expression!

We are proud LaTeXifiers!!