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Thread: A Short Guide to LaTeX

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    jet
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    A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Hi everyone,
    With the use of LaTeX becoming more widespread, I've decided to write a short guide to LaTeX. If you have any problems, post in this thread or message me somehow.
    jetblack2007.

    The graphical editor supplied to us is excellent, though I think at least a small amount of knowledge of how to work with LaTeX is helpful. All you do is combine normal text with commands to tell the editor how it should format something, for example turn an expression into a fraction.

    Maths Mode
    The LaTeX editor is in a mode known as maths mode, which is fine-tuned for mathematical typesetting. All spaces are ignored, and maths commands don't need to be wrapped by special tags in order to be interpreted by the engine.

    Numbers and Simple Operations
    For many characters, if it's on your keyboard, it works. Numbers are written as numbers, and the + and - signs do not require any special commands. Multiplication and Division, however, are expressed using the /times and /div commands.
    For example:
    Code:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 + - \times \div ( )
    becomes


    Text
    As spaces are ignored in maths mode, and text letters are treated as mathematics, writing something like this:
    Code:
    Hello world, how are you this fine morning?
    turns into


    The solution is simple. A command known as \text{} exists, which allows you to write all your text inside the parentheses, and it is treated as text.
    E.g.
    Code:
    \text{Hello world, how are you this fine morning?}
    becomes


    Another way, suggested by Trebla, is to wrap the text in $ tags, instead of the \text{} function. It does exactly the same thing.
    E.g
    Code:
    $Hello world, how are you this fine morning?$
    becomes:


    Starting a new line
    Simply pressing Enter and expecting a new line to be interpreted does not work in LaTeX. Instead, you have to use a double slash, \\. This signals to the engine that it should start a new line.
    E.g.
    Code:
    \text{Line 1} \\ \text{Line 2}
    becomes:


    (Suggested by kaz1)

    Fractions
    The command \frac{}{} is used for fractions, where the numerator goes in the first set of parentheses and the denominator in the second set.
    So,
    Code:
    \frac{x^3 - x^2}{5x - 1}
    becomes


    Brackets
    Sometimes mathematical expressions (like fractions) can be so big that they exceed the size of the brackets. In this case you can use the \left and \right commands before the bracket. They will then be automatically resized to the size of their contents.
    To compare:
    Code:
    ( \frac{1}{x}) \text{ versus }\left (\frac{1}{x} \right )
    become:


    You can do this with the following brackets: (), [], ||
    (Note that because maths mode ignores spacing, I had to include it within the text command to ensure the text wasn't sandwiched between expressions with no spacing)

    Square Roots
    The \sqrt{} command places a root sign over whatever is in the set of parentheses. It resizes according to the size of the radicand.
    So:
    Code:
    \sqrt{x\left (5x - 1\right )}
    is:


    Superscript and subscript
    Superscript and subscript formatting is indicated by the ^{} and _{} commands respectively. Whatever is in the parentheses is super/subscripted.
    Therefore:
    Code:
    x^{\frac{5}{3}}, M_{\text{AB}}
    become:


    Spacing:
    Sometimes you just need that little bit of extra space between characters. There is a set of inbuilt functions to do this.
    From smallest of bigger, they are: \! , \, , \: , \; , \quad and \qquad
    So
    Code:
    a \! a \, a \: a \; a \quad a \qquad a
    becomes:

    (Note: The first command, \! is actually 'negative' space, forcing characters closer together)

    Integrals
    The integral sign is given by the command \int which can be modified to include limits using super/subscripts. Normally I like to put a \, before the dx to make it look neat.
    E.g. The code
    Code:
    \int^{6}_{\frac{1}{2}} x^2 - 3x + 1 \, dx
    Becomes:


    Enclosing something in a box
    This is just like using a text command, though you use the \fbox{} command. Whatever you want in the box goes in the parentheses.
    E.g.
    Code:
    \fbox{1234567890}
    is:


    Other Symbols
    There are hundreds of other symbols available for you to use. Many of them are included in the graphical interface of the editor, so the commands can be learnt that way, though I think some of the more common ones can be placed here:

    Trig functions with built-in formatting and spacing:
    \sin:
    \cos:
    \tan:
    \sec:
    \csc:
    \cot:
    \arcsin:
    \arccos:
    \arctan:

    Greek letters (just their name preceded by a \. If capital letters have the first letter as a capital)
    \alpha:
    \beta:
    \gamma:
    \Gamma:
    \delta:
    \Delta:
    \theta:
    \Theta:
    etc.

    Miscellaneous symbols:
    \circ: (useful in superscript for degrees)
    \triangle:
    \angle:
    \equiv:
    \rightarrow:
    \Rightarrow:
    \infty:

    For a large amount of other symbols: http://tinyurl.com/y8elxfb

    The Align Environment
    When you want to align certain parts of a solution vertically, (e.g. equals under equals) you use what is called the align environment. You mark which part of each line you want aligned together with the & sign, and latex does all the work for you.
    For example, Casic posted:

    (this is missing the align environment). Clearly writing our equals under equals would be helpful. You start the align environment with the command \begin{align*} (the asterisk tells LaTeX you don't want the lines numbered) and end it with the \end{align*} command.
    So, the code for this is:
    Code:
    \begin{align*}5x &= 2x + 3x \\ 
    &= 3x + 2x & \text{(since } \mathbb{R} \text{ is commutative)} \\ 
    &= 5x \end{align*}
    Noting that the alignment symbol (&) is placed before the = signs, which is where we want them aligned.
    This becomes:


    Piecewise functions
    When you need to define piecewise functions, you use the cases environment. It works the same as the alignment environment, beginning through \begin{cases} and ending through \end{cases}. Each case is specified on a new line within the cases environment.
    So:
    Code:
    f(x) = \begin{cases}\text{Case } 1 \\ \text{Case } 2 \end{cases}
    is:
    Last edited by jet; 3 Oct 2010 at 3:23 PM. Reason: Formatting
    astroman and BenHowe like this.

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    Super Moderator Trebla's Avatar
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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    For texts I would use $ to surround the text (in this version anyway, it works oppositely in other versions).

    e.g. $Insert text$ becomes:

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Haha, thanks for that jetblack2007. It would be nice to see people using LaTeX because it makes reading and solving problems a lot easier for everyone. Although I must say that when you go into LaTeX you can see the options available anyway... like what buttons to push.

    I prefer to just use buttons, rather than code.
    #overandout

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Any idea how to put a solution in a box?
    Last edited by jet; 11 Jan 2010 at 4:23 PM.
    Commerce (Finance) / Science (Advanced Mathematics) (Quantitative Risk) @ UNSW

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    et tu kaz1's Avatar
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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Also you should put in how to start a new line.
    cracker

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Nice. Maybe mention the align* and cases environment too?



    and

    Last edited by jet; 11 Jan 2010 at 4:28 PM.

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by gurmies View Post
    Any idea how to put a solution in a box?
    Do you have an example you can show me?

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by gurmies View Post
    Any idea how to put a solution in a box?
    Spoiler (rollover to view):
    you mean this?
    cracker

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazic View Post
    Nice. Maybe mention the align* and cases environment too?



    and

    Ok. I will put them in later. I don't think cases is so important, just because we hardly use piecewise functions, so I will add it in the very end

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazic View Post
    Nice. Maybe mention the align* and cases environment too?

    Er.....isn't 2x + 3x = 5x? lol

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Hahaha. Ever notice it's always the simplest things?


    God: This multipurpose tool has allowed billions to soothe their mortal fears while easily excusing a wide variety of unconscionable actions such as war and homophobia --Some of Man's Most Important Inventions

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    Executive Member untouchablecuz's Avatar
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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by kaz1 View Post
    Spoiler (rollover to view):
    you mean this?
    nah

    like the [k=n-m-1] which has a box around it

    (i think this is what he means)

    (this is just Q ive done for someone)

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by untouchablecuz View Post
    nah



    like the [k=n-m-1] which has a box around it



    (i think this is what he means)



    (this is just Q ive done for someone)

    Exactly this.
    Commerce (Finance) / Science (Advanced Mathematics) (Quantitative Risk) @ UNSW

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    jet
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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    I'll update the guide tonight. Dinner calls

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Ty Sir =]
    Commerce (Finance) / Science (Advanced Mathematics) (Quantitative Risk) @ UNSW

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Last edited by jet; 12 Jan 2010 at 12:05 AM.

    God: This multipurpose tool has allowed billions to soothe their mortal fears while easily excusing a wide variety of unconscionable actions such as war and homophobia --Some of Man's Most Important Inventions

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    I love math fails... . Especially while online or using LaTeX ^_^
    #overandout

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    How do I get LaTeX?

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX


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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Test post.

    Can someone tell me how you enable it? None of the commands are working for me (I must be forgetting something critical).

    Edit: Never mind, I forgot you needed the [tex] tag (I didn't see that in your guide :P).
    Last edited by Fakeuser; 13 Nov 2012 at 4:18 PM.

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    thanks Bra, very helpful
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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    \fbox{12345}
    astroman likes this.

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    lel, op is banned

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by turntaker View Post
    lel, op is banned

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    Re: A Short Guide to LaTeX

    Quote Originally Posted by astroman View Post
    nah mate

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