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I wrote a book about LaTeX, and my proud grandma wanted to have a copy. So she got it, said "What a beautiful picture on the cover!" and - "What is this, LaTeX?".

She doesn't know Word, never used a computer. But she reads books. How can I explain what makes TeX and LaTeX special to a non-technical person? I don't mean introducing in using, and the existing question "What are TeX and LaTeX?" with its answers is still much too technical.

Such challenges are not rare. I need to explain to my boss why I request some days off to go to a TeX conference, and soon my daughter will want to know what daddy does on the computer. My girlfriend needs to understand why I spend so much time at TeX.SE.

Does anyone know eye-opening words? Perhaps an analogy or a metaphor would help? So grandma, girlfriend, daughter, boss - all may roughly understand and say "Ah, such a thing? Useful indeed!"

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Kids, get off of my lawn! ♥ – Paulo Cereda Jan 22 '13 at 18:58
Test yourself against The Up-goer Five Text Editor – percusse Jan 22 '13 at 19:55
I joined this SE JUST to upvote this question. – Melanie Shebel Jan 23 '13 at 6:34
This question sets a new benchmark: Achieved score of 99 in the first 24 hours. – lockstep Jan 23 '13 at 17:20
This is possibly the most adorable question I've ever seen on TeX. – Aarthi Jan 23 '13 at 18:23

32 Answers 32

First of all, I am a bloody latex beginner..

I love it when I proudly present my latex-document to my girlfriend and she responses like "Oh, and where is the difference to word? In word, it looks identically!"

When I respond that you can spare a lot of time because your presettings are applied on the whole document and you don't need to do formatting again and again, she tells me that "she likes to have the control".

To sum up, I think that you must be confortable with using LaTeX by yourself. Rest should not count, otherwise I would proceed doing word. :)

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A tool that enables you to create beautiful documents,article,reports and books and thereby attracts the attention of young and old.

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protected by Stefan Kottwitz Jan 23 '13 at 14:14

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