I am self-studying mathematics and would like to write 'cheat sheets' for myself to memorise the contents of the books I have bought - summaries of the text and of the solutions to the exercises.

My handwriting is poor so I think I should write these summaries in LaTeX, and save them as PDF documents.

I am a beginner at using LaTeX and not sure which editor is best for the 'cheat sheet' style I am after, e.g.


I don't need the ability to do graphs just equations. I guess this has some element of desktop publishing?

Thank you for any advice.


1 Answer 1


First of all you need to set up the page in the header so that you can use as much space as you want - use geometry package like this or similarly:


Then you need to set small font using \scriptsize and divide your page into three or more columns using minipage environment like this:





Then you can use different mathematical environments (use packages mathtools, amsmath, breqn) inside each minipage (where i put ~) like this:

    &~\smash{c_0 = 1/\sqrt{\varepsilon_0 \mu_0}}\\
    I &= \di e/ \di t\\
    \smash{[C]} &= \smash{[As]}\\

You can use \boxed{} environment to frame the equations. You will need to use \smash{} in order to minimize the vertical spacing of some equations in order not to get too big. Sometimes even \clap{} might come handy - it reduces horizontal spacing.

Inside the align* environment you can vertically align parts of equations with & which will appear one below the other. And you can do this in aligned environment as well.

  • 1
    Thank you. I was very interested in the way, you produced the graphics of the spectrum on your last sheet.
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 8:54
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    If columns is all you need, then another possible approach would be multicols, as in tex.stackexchange.com/questions/344877/create-a-formulary/… (Edit: oh, and mathtools loads amsmath, so having both is a bit redundant.) Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 8:56
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    I don't think it is, but you may not need that, so it depends on what your requirements are. Of course, for the more complex handwritten examples the OP first showed, multicols is not the right tool. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 9:05
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    @71GA It has worked well for a Biblatex cheat-sheet I wrote, so long as you don't try compiling it on OverLeaf. This is a shame because that's what I'm using to publish the files .... But I have to check - maybe they've updated their installation by now.
    – cfr
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 23:41
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    hi this works really well. may I ask: how would you (1) add vertical lines between the 3 columns , and (2) a small line in between each align* blocks ? Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 11:23

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