# Why doesn't “/documentclass{article}” work (forward slash vs. backslash) [closed]

I am new to LaTex. I am reading the book "Latex" by Stefan Kottwitz, but under "creating our first document" I was supposed to write the following:

/documentclass{article}
/begin{document}
This is our firstdocument.
/end{document}


When I write this in Texworks, I only get this message in the console output:

! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
...

l.1 /
documentclass{article}
?
Process interrupted by user


Does anyone know what I have to do in order to make it work?

• Welcome! Backslash (\) and forward slash (/) are not the same character. The code you posted is using forward slash when LaTeX expects a backslash for control sequences. – Paul Gessler Jan 27 '15 at 12:05
• What you said worked perfectly Thank you very much! – David Jan 27 '15 at 12:23
• I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about a typo in the code (misread documentation). – yo' Jan 27 '15 at 15:34
• @AndrewCashner However, the question is unsearchable. Once you know that you used a forward slash, you know it's a typo. IMHO it can't serve anything. – yo' Jan 27 '15 at 15:50
• You could download all LaTeX code examples from the publisher's book website here , so there won't be any typing mistake. – Stefan Kottwitz Jan 27 '15 at 17:14

Backslash (\) and forward slash (/) are not the same character.

The code you posted is using forward slash when LaTeX expects a backslash for control sequences.

! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.


is the error given here because the first thing encountered in the input is text (/), which is not allowed outside the document environment. You can see this further along in the error message:

l.1 /
documentclass{article}
?


The line breaks in the error message where the error is encountered, which is at the forward slash (/).

To correct the code, use backslashes (\) for all control sequences (commands/macros/etc.):

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}
This is our first document.
\end{document}

• If the question ends up being closed, I will transfer any rep earned here to bounties. (But I won't make animated GIFs to tell you that. :-)) – Paul Gessler Jan 27 '15 at 15:57