I would like to know if it is possible to write Maths on latex without having to write a first draft on paper?

As far as I'm concerned latex writing seems to demand a separation between the thinking and the presentations. In other words, latex format seem to require doing the thinking on paper then writing on latex.

I'm using the Auctex package with emacs, along with the predictive and auto-completion package but still I'm wondering if there is any possibility to facilitating further the maths writing on latex. (through macros, functions etc..)

Those who attempted to bypass the paper phase would you mind to share your techniques?


Thanks all for your suggestions. I was thinking of something that reduce the effor that one need to put in the presentation so that he can focus more on the maths. But am sure the latex syntax become natural once someone spend enough time on it.

Yet, I recenly came across Yasnippet and it seem that it is exactly what I was looking for. With it one can build tools that fits his need. for example .

Instead of typing \frac{}{} and move the cursor through (even more painful on a French keyboard), one can type frac .Then he can type his numebers easily. Of course the one can modify the code to best fit his needs.

Can anyone share his most efficient snippets?

  • 8
    I think this really depends on what you're trying to put together. If you are new to LaTeX, perhaps you do need to think about what you're putting together and write a first draft by hand, but I've been writing documents in LaTeX for a long time. Generally, I know what I want to produce and my first draft is generally written in LaTeX. I think that as you get used to using LaTeX, you'll know what to do to produce the effects you want and not need to resort to handwritten rough drafts. With more difficult documents, I generally handsketch the general appearance I want, but not the content.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 17:08
  • As A.Ellett wrote before, this depends on the desired output? Or do you mean rather a special technique? Writing the solution of problem without handsketching, basically 'out of the box' (i.e. mind)?
    – user31729
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 17:15
  • My only experience comes with building equations from simpler parts into more complex ones. This doesn't work for all fields, though; writing a draft on paper is the surest bet (and it doesn't take that long). (And welcome to TeX.SX!) Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 17:32
  • Lyx have a easy, intuitive and nearly WYSIWYG math mode that produce clean LaTeX code. After some training, you will find easy write directly in LyX, and after a lot more, may be directly in LaTeX. You can export the whole file to LaTeX or only copy chunks of the generated LaTex source code to paste in Emacs.
    – Fran
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 19:54
  • 1
    I construct derivations using truth trees directly in LaTeX using qtree. However, this might not work if I was just starting to learn either logic or LaTeX! I think it is mostly practise. However, there are some things which can help. For example, a plugin for Kile allows me to hover over a maths expression and preview the output. When it works (which isn't always - it is easily confused), that can be quite helpful.
    – cfr
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 0:38


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