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101

Being aware of the fact that this post is quite old, I would like to add two further resources which might be interesting when it comes to programming. I think there are three categories which need to be mastered (perhaps not all in the same degree) in order to become comfortable around TeX programming: TeX programming. That's very basic, it deals with ...


49

I used The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2ε and still go back to it. (I think that all the answers should be in the answers so that it's easier for people to compare them; also, what I said is true: it is the one that I use and continually go back to.)


45

Please add your resources to this answer! Multilingual A Short Introduction to LaTeX2ε by Tobias Oetiker et al. (online, but also included in MiKTeX and TeX Live) Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, ...


44

I have introduced LaTeX into our organization and quite a number of other people at a personal level over the years. In academia it is almost tradition that LaTeX is introduced via word of mouth and that the person that made the introduction helps with the first steps. Most "non-technical" people use Windows or maybe Macs and probably are not old enough to ...


44

You could start with LaTeX2ε for class and package writers aka clsguide. We already have some information regarding this on the site, for example: Style/class tutorials Is there a comprehensive and complete LaTeX reference? You could learn much if you would read the commentes LaTeX2ε sources aka source2e. To understand it best, you could learn TeX or ...


44

Here is a list: When intermixing text and math, some people use \mbox to box the text-related stuff. The reason being that \mbox necessarily switches to text mode. So, if you have math content within \mbox, you need to explicitly restate its use. Here's a short example (causing a Missing $ inserted error): \documentclass{article} \begin{document} \[ ...


36

I found Kopka and Daly's Guide to LaTeX to be very helpful. It starts with the basics of what a LaTeX document is, how it's laid out, what components it can and should have, etc. and then moves on to cover technics for drawing and including figures, creating new commands and environments, and more advanced customization in case you ever need it. Most ...


34

Grätzer's under-appreciated book is excellent, especially at showing you how to do things the "right" way: George Grätzer (2007), More Math into LaTeX, 4th edition, Springer, ISBN 978-0387322896 (Earlier editions were called "Math into LaTeX"; it's not a sequel.) Especially if you're learning LaTeX for typesetting mathematics or related areas, this is a ...


33

There is a user friendly LaTeX package: newfile. You can use it to read and write files easily. It provides normal file IO functions, and also verbatim file IO functions. It is more suitable for your example, than those low-level macros. The package document has some good examples. A naive example (similar to table of contents): \documentclass{article} ...


31

I wrote my first LaTeX package (idxlayout) about half a year ago (January 2010). I didn't know a comprehensive class/package writing guide then (and do not now), but I can offer a few hopefully useful hints: You may not need advanced TeX programming skills, but you should be familiar with the existing solutions (and their shortcomings) in the subject area ...


31

I learned through just the manual. It starts with great tutorials. I highly recommend it.


30

Here is a MWE (not really minimum, but showing some options) that should get you started. Other possible values for the biblatex options are described in the biblatex documentation. \documentclass[]{article} \usepackage[autostyle]{csquotes} \usepackage[ backend=biber, style=authoryear-icomp, sortlocale=de_DE, natbib=true, url=false, ...


28

If you have one write handle left you can do it with the following commands which are also used for .toc, .lof, .lot, etc. \@starttoc{<extension>} Reads the file with the given extension (\jobname.<extension>) and opens it for writing afterwards. The file is initially empty. Creates the output file handle \tf@<extension> . ...


27

I think a good place to start is to flick through the not so short introduction to LaTeX. Obviously, you don't need to read it cover-to-cover, but it's good to read enough to understand how and more importantly why LaTeX is different from a word processor like Word. The first most disorienting thing about LaTeX is that you don't have a WYSIWYG approach. ...


26

While I cannot point to a pre-built 'how to' guide, I can at least try to provide some pointers here. The first point to remember is that LaTeX2e is rather weak at providing documented 'hooks' for customisation in the kernel. As a result, a lot has to be done by loading support packages. At the most basic, a class is a collection of instructions to alter ...


25

I would do the following, which has worked for a few of my friends already. Im my opinion one best starts with just the structure. Prepare an empty document for him, and show him the basic sectioning commands. Have him work a while with this reduced set of commands and step by step explain how to accomplish certain tasks e.g. tables, figures,etc. What ...


23

I think I would suggest the book by Marc van Dongen, Latex and Friends, which is very up-to-date. For example, it has a long chapter on TikZ. On Springer's web site of this book several parts may be read on line or downloaded as PDF. The book has also been reviewed on the TeX User Group site. Marc himself has a web site for his book: Welcome to LaTeX and ...


22

First of all, let's note that \patchcommand is a command defined in the package patchcmd that's completely different in nature from the commands provided by etoolbox and generalized by xpatch. I would consider patchcmd and \patchcommand as obsolete: with etoolbox the complete functionality of \patchcommand can be obtained with \pretocmd and \apptocmd and ...


21

Ah, I remember my first steps: somehow I stumbled upon LaTeX Primer which was not only a great introductory text, but was a real beauty typography-side. Also, another great book which hasn't been mentioned here yet (and is definitely worth mentioning) is Digital Typography using LaTeX by Apostolos Syropoulos, Antonis Tsolomitis and Nick Sofroniou. I ...


21

TikZ, in common with Beamer and Memoir, is a very, very rich, and, as a result, intimidating, package, so don't feel too bad about it. The way I learned all three was basically demand-driven --- "learning by doing". Whenever I needed something "new", I'd dig into the manual and try stuff until either it worked (not always most elegantly), or in desperation ...


20

The LaTeX Companion[1] has a chapter on writing package/class files. EDIT: The table of content is available online. The relevant chapter is Appendix A and in particular Section A.4. The style of the chapter is pretty much the same as the style of the rest of the book (Chapter 3 is available online) with all needed commands explained in some details and ...


20

Today LaTeX is more than just its core. I don't want to go without amsmath, inputenc, fontenc, babel, microtype, hyperref, natbib, graphicx and many more. To learn just about the LaTeX kernel, Lamports book is not bad, it's good to read what the author said. It's his reference manual. Reading source2e.pdf provides further insights. But the LaTeX Companion ...


18

run texdoc biber from the command line and you'll get the documentation. However, using biber as a replacement for bibtex you have to define the backend with \usepackage[backend=biber,...]{biblatex} and then change your bibtex run into a biber one, that is all.


18

You should show them LyX instead of full Latex. LyX is an editor that lets you create files that are compiled to LaTeX source (and from latex to .pdf). You edit text mostly without using LaTeX commands (although you can insert plain LaTeX code in the document). While it lets you to edit using GUI, it is not a WYSWIG editor. It does very nice things like ...


18

Shameless plug: I write a regular (rather semi-regular) article series in tugboat on specific ConTeXt topics aimed at beginners. Articles so far: Font Styles Table Macros I Table Macros II Indentation Conditional Processing Paper Setup Images The newer articles require a TUG membership to view.


17

The context reference manual is somewhat outdated, but we are (slowly) working on improving and extending it. It is a community project, and three chapters have already been improved: Chapter on typography Chapter on fonts Chapter on pagedesign


15

The PRAGMA Advanced Document Engineering site has a lot of documentation and examples on the finer details of how to use ConTeXt for particular applications and effects. I discovered it during a search for documentation on how to use Layers for cover layouts, which lead me to the excellent PDF It's in the details.



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