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TeX and LaTeX are widely used in Computer Science. What other academic disciplines or professionals use it?

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Should this be community wiki? –  ShreevatsaR Aug 3 '10 at 21:06
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Yes, definitely. –  EricR Aug 4 '10 at 16:56

45 Answers 45

At least one parasitologist, some day attracted by the synergy of LaTeX + R, but now using LaTeX for any type of non collaborative documents, even to simulate some horrendous Word's forms when writing directly over the original template with any word processor become a nightmare.

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I use LaTeX to produce my illustrated children's books. Introduce kids to TeX before they've even heard of a word processor :-)

Image of dedication

I was asked by children at an infant school book reading how I produce my books so I told them about LaTeX (although I'm not sure how much of it they understood).

I also used LaTeX (with memoir and microtype) to produce a novel. TeX and LaTeX also get a mention in that book:

Typeset using Professor Donald Knuth's magnificent TeX engine with Dr Leslie Lamport's LaTeX format

(I know that may not be technically accurate since I used LaTeX2e, developed by the LaTeX Project team, rather than LaTeX2.09, developed by Lamport, but there wasn't enough space to elaborate. However it has generated some interest in TeX and LaTeX when I talk at literary events.)

And naturally I used LaTeX to typeset my LaTeX text books :-)

Other things I use LaTeX for: press releases (using pressrelease), advance information sheets (using flowfram with the help of flowframtk), correspondence, brochures and business cards.

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I'm an attorney at law in Germany and writing all contracts and motions using LaTeX. Word tried to outsmart me too often; and especially while under stress working against deadlines I found that very annoying. Using LaTeX I can get printed things exactly as I wish it, which is also very important.

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@Sveinung Maybe we should found an international society "LaTeX-Lawyers"!? –  Keks Dose Oct 11 '12 at 9:49

I'm a chemist and I use LaTeX. Cgnieder's packages make this a lot easier than previously.

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I know people using it in Life Sciences, Geography, Philosophy, History and Archaeology.

It is mostly used in these disciplines to write big manuscripts, like thesis, books. Rarely it is used for articles as many journals ask for Word documents instead.

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Since learning LaTeX, I've used Word maybe twice. Meeting protocols, motions, seating cards, lab reports, essays, a songbook, some sheet music (Although Lilypad is hard). It shouldn't be a question of which professions can use it, but rather which professions have the privilege of being in contact with someone who can teach them.

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I work in IT, and I use TeX to produce professional looking reports. I started with LaTeX in college in a math class, and I've been using it for various things since. I also use it for a few personal projects as well.

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Some computer programmers use it.

  1. Layout from content is separated
  2. It's pure text so you can use your favourite editor (like vim).
  3. Make can be used to bind it together
  4. Easy to create LaTeX files with scripts.

More or less, as a programmer you can reuse a lot of tools...

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Nobody mentioned engineers --- everybody from my research group (optimization-driven design) is using LaTeX for all our publications, reports, compendiums, lab assignments, etc., despite the fact we're pretty much a Microsoft shop up here.

Some journals in the field, however, started accepting .doc or .odf files as well, much to my frustration. But as long as LaTeX is an option, no way we're switching to something else.

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Oh good, Martin, you saved me the bother of mentioning engineers. –  bev Nov 21 '10 at 0:44
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Don't forget the documentation of large engineering projects. In general, if you need a team to write something, it is easier with LaTeX than with .doc or .odf files. –  TonioElGringo Apr 21 '13 at 17:48

A lot of the answers given are academic disciplines (and most of those are scientists or related).

I personally have used LaTeX to write my CV. But more interesting, was that I was contacted by a doctor colleague of mine, who was having a little trouble with a document he was preparing on NHS computers. He sent me his source file, and it appears that at least his hospital was using LaTeX to prepare documents providing guidance on the use of certain drugs for treatment of HIV. He mentioned that LaTeX are installed on the hospital computers, and he cannot modify the installations in any way, so I would not be at all surprised if it is at least somewhat commonly used in the medical profession.

I also have a friend who works at a hospital lab who prepared another guidance document using LaTe, after I introduced it to him.

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TeX is used for serial letters. I am going to create printed letters, including construction drafts with numbers, barcodes, invoices and business letters with TeX for a small company.

Gemanwings, a German low-cost airline (turnover ~700 mio Euro), sends booking confirmation and invoice in PDF-format by e-mail. The PDFs are created by "pdfTeX-1.10b, LaTeX with hyperref" and the fonts are typical TeX-fonts too.

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I also use LaTeX as a very flexible report-generating tool out of various MySQL databases, with help of a preprocessor, namely pdflatexdb (Hans-Georg Eßer) or nlatexdb (Robin Höns). I tried BIRT or even the Oracle Report tool bundled with OpenOffice.org, but that was a great waste of time, really. Check here : http://hgesser.com/software/latexdb/ and there : http://sourceforge.net/projects/nlatexdb/

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Video game producer here. I personally create most of documents using LaTeX/pLaTeX (actually most of drafting with Org-mode)

I am also a manager at Sakura-Con, an anime convention, and I use LaTeX to create many of letters (for guest of honor, and staff), too. It is useful as LaTeX can take a command line argument for mail merging purpose.

Both of those are exceptions rather than a norm, though.

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Regular people that just want a good looking resume.

As the author of a resume class, I've received countless requests for help or new features coming from first time LaTeX users, many of them asking me some variation of:

I believe I need this LaTeX thing. How do I get it? I just want my resume to look like yours

:)

I've received emails ranging from a fireman (with a great feature idea) to a classical singer...

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Bible publishing. I use it to typeset various kinds of Bibles for publishing in various formats. Because of the unique features of Bilingual Bibles one does tend to run into some peculiar limitations once in a while and has to work around them.

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We actually have a colloquium course at my college in which one is required to use LaTeX. It has to be taken once for all math minors, twice for all math majors. The entire object of the course is to learn technical, mathematical writing, for which LaTeX is considered required.

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I am in the Earth Sciences, more specifically glaciological research. I use LaTeX for authoring papers since many Earth Science journals have LaTeX templates (incl. Elsevier, AGU, Int'l Glaciological Soc. and Copernicus). I am also Editor in Chief of an international journal in my field and am implementing a template for that journal in collaboration with a professional LaTeX expert. I have also started to convert many of my teaching documentation to LaTeX. My university does not provide LaTeX templates so i have adjusted beamer, beamerposter, the university letter head, and our standard ways to provide course information (incl. grading criteria, course schedules etc.) into LaTeX. Being in charge of the research education in the dept., I am trying to influence our graduate students to at least be aware of LaTeX. Some have become hooked which is always a good feeling. Working in an otherwise totally Office dominated environment has its chalenges but when you enjoy LaTeX, then what else can you do.

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I've just started to use LaTeX. After many years of disappointments with word, open office and google docs, I started to use it to write technical manuals for analytical equipment. I found the pgfplots package really amazing and I also love the package chemstyle.

I'm only a bit sad because I've never tried LaTeX before. It would have saved me heaps of time and I would have produced much better looking reports and manuals.

I definitely recommend it for technical manuals!

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I'm an anthropologist, and have been working in collaboration in departments of both biology and social sciences in Chile and UK.

I have never met another anthropologist who uses LaTeX, though I can think of hundreds of useful applications (TikZ can be amazing to draw archaeological plans, LaTeX allow to design great layouts for informant quotations and discourse analyses). This is very annoying, especially when they export wonderful R graphics to bitmaps!

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I produce work --- essays, poetry, broadsides --- using both digital (LaTeX) and traditional letterpress (lead type, ink, mechanical press) technologies. LaTeX is invaluable for trying layouts before the time consuming effort of letterpress work, especially for books consisting of several signatures.

LaTeX is also used (by others) to create critical editions of texts in many languages.

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Welcome to TeX.sx! You don't have to sign with your name since it automatically appears in the lower right corner of your post. –  Werner Feb 24 '12 at 20:47
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A warm welcome to Peter, trusting that he will give valuable contributions to the community. –  egreg Feb 24 '12 at 20:50

I'm an IT consultant. I use LaTeX for all my text processing. That includes:

  • Proposals (memoir)
  • Technical documentation, including requirements, design, and code (memoir, TikZ)
  • Contracts (memoir)
  • Presentations (beamer)
  • (And where a client shows interest, I also encourage them to wander in the direction of TeX)

And then there's real life:

  • General correspondence (memoir + ryo letter packages)
  • Writing for writing's sake
  • Odds and sods (lost cat posters, etc.)

I find that, in general, people do react positively when they see a nice bit of typesetting.

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I'd love to see some examples of your work! Especially requirements documents. –  Mark Richman Mar 18 '12 at 19:54

I am an Earth Science grad student & Chemist. I use it to typeset papers that are single-authored (i.e., by myself) and more than 5 pages. At least one of the Geochemistry Faculty in my department use LaTeX regularly.

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Here is a rule of thumb one of my colleagues mentioned to me about 10 years ago, and I religiously practice since then:

  1. If it is 1-2 sentences, write it by hand.

  2. If it is one page, delegate to the secretary

  3. If it two pages, do it yourself on MSWord. (I use open office)

  4. Anything longer, do it yourself with LaTeX!

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As secretaries are getting expensive to hire (or not everyone can afford a secretary), MS Word might be able to get back some of the lost market share ;) –  Kevin C Apr 7 '13 at 22:55

I'm a mechanical engineer working in materials science / materials processing. I had lots of experience (from quite good to extremely bad) with Microsoft Office (versions XP and before, also Office:mac) and consider myself a "power user" (at least concerning the versions until Office XP and 2003. Based on that experience I decided, not to write my diploma (master) thesis with Word, but with LaTeX. And I'm currently writing my PhD thesis with LaTeX also.

Some of my colleagues (mostly engineers and chemists) also use(d) LaTeX for typesetting their thesis, but many that I know use MS Word.

Some "statistical" data of people
- which I know,
- remember their name
- and know how they wrote/write their thesis

LaTeX: 7
Framemaker: 1
MS Word: by far too many (7 + many many more that I know)

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It is also used by some philologists and critical editors, mostly because you can't have multiple footnotes layers with more generally widespread word processors, while it is quite easy to do so with critical edition packages such as Ledmac. It is also easier to typeset parallel texts, to have numbered texts and line references in footnotes, and so on. More generally, and from my experience, LaTeX is becoming more often used in the Humanities.

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There are a few engineers that use it as well. If you count us under "academic discipline" ;-)

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Bioinformatics researchers use it.

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I proofread someone's theology dissertation which was written in LaTeX -- I'm sure the packages it used for displaying Hebrew and polytonic Greek were simpler than entering those characters in a word processor.

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I use it for any important, customer facing documentation for our software company. That means, all of our contracts, product catalogs and product documentation. The fact that you can throw it into source control so nicely is huge! It's the only truly cross-platform tool that I know of, outside of InDesign. Also, nothing on earth does cross-referencing or indexing nearly as well.

Finally, for our product catalog, I use the DataTool. I'm able to save the product pricing spreadsheet out of Numbers or Excel and create 12 specific versions our price sheet. We're a small company and there is no way we would price our products or have as many specific kinds of dealers without LaTeX, just because there is no other, efficient way to do what we do with it.

Every now and again, we think, "Is there something easier that the rest of our staff would pick up more readily?" We always come back to LaTeX. Sometimes, it's a little bit hard to do a really complicated and important thing.

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Literate programmers use TeX for commenting their code, and many more simply use TeX for documentation, especially if the program is math-heavy.

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I'm just curious to know how this works. The same source file is compiled by latex and by a compiler for a programming language to generate binaries? –  donatello Dec 8 '10 at 18:28
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Literate programming has its own file format which is run through two different programs for generating program source code and LaTeX source code. For the original literate programming tool (called Web — that was before the rise of the WWW — and written by Donald E. Knuth himself) those programs are called tangle and weave. Note that TeX itself was written as literate program. –  celtschk Feb 24 '12 at 21:16

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