Ok, this is a complete newbie question: How does one create a methematics paper using LaTeX for a PDF?

Specifically, I need help knowing:

  • What to write the document in
  • How to render the Latex
  • How to convert into a PDF file

Also, how do I get the "amsmath" add-on?

My previous experience: I have written several papers using writelatex.com and sharelatex.com which allow collaboration on papers, and automatically render the latex + create PDF's of the finished product. I have a rough idea of how mathematical papers tend to be structured because of reading so many of them, but I have never published myself.

Also, if relevant: I have Adobe Reader and use Windows on my computer. Optimally, is there software I could download for free that would give me these capabilities?

Thanks in advance!

  • it's a really huge question what did you want to do exactly? Have you a minimum working exemple? Apr 27 '14 at 19:07
  • @RomainPicot I know how to write in writelatex.com for example. But I have no idea how to do it "normally". Do I need to download softward? Can I use Adobe Acrobat? How would most mathematicians write their papers?
    – user50612
    Apr 27 '14 at 19:11
  • 1
    You're asking many separate questions. Could you tell us a bit more about the TeX distribution(s) you've installed on your Windows system, the front-ends (editors) you plan to use, and whether you've consulted any intro guides -- such as The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX2e -- to LaTeX? Incidentally, these sub-questions have already been asked on this site; have you searched it for postings that relate to your information needs?
    – Mico
    Apr 27 '14 at 19:12
  • 2
    I think this is more or less a duplicate of What TeX software to write technical papers with?. For math-specific questions you should start with the mathmode documentation which will be bundled with your TeX distribution.
    – Alan Munn
    Apr 27 '14 at 19:13
  • I know how to write the latex itself - I have done this extensively on several website with MathJax, and for some collaborative papers done online. My question is just about making docs on my own computer... would I have to buy the editors/TeX distributions? Where would I get these?
    – user50612
    Apr 27 '14 at 19:17

To make a document on your computer you need a IDE:

LaTeX Editors/IDEs

Adobe Acrobat will be used to visualize your document not to make it.

For your last questions I'll say try to find your IDE and just use the math environnement to write what you need. Don't copy other


If you are on Windows, you need to download the Latex bundle first.

For instance you can get the Miktex one here http://miktex.org/download

Then you need an editor that can also compile your document easily. You can download TexnicCenter for instance for that http://www.texniccenter.org/download/ or you can use TexStudio http://texstudio.sourceforge.net/. The preference is mostly the difference here.

Then in the editor you can select for instance latex -> pdf which will directly produce a pdf for you. You can use Adobe Reader to open the pdf but you can also use SumatraPDF which is nicer when working in LaTeX as your pdf can stay open the whole time.

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SumatraPDF viewer can be found here: http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/download-free-pdf-viewer.html

For your second question, packages or add-ons in LaTeX are usable by your tex document by using \usepackage{}. So for instance, to load the tools from amsmath and some related packages, you can insert


before \begin{document}

or if you just need amsmath you can do


P.s.: Most of the LaTeX related tools are free.

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