I'm a student right now and I'm wondering if it would be beneficial for me to learn LaTeX as of right now and if it would have any use of it to me.

I do quite a lot of writing but they don't require a lot of formatting. For my Graphic Design work, I usually use Pages (Mac) for simple briefs for projects, Adobe Illustrator CS5 for combining vector imagery with some commentary on it, or Adobe InDesign CS5 if I really need to arrange a document together.

Essays are also done in History classes as well as English, although interestingly History essays are longer than English. (Not that it would affect me in terms of using Tex.)

Would it be worth learning TeX? What kind of people doing different subjects/occupations use it, and why?

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  • Ditto. The two questions Joseph has linked pretty much cover it. Nov 24, 2010 at 12:53
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    Also, note that TeX and LaTeX are not strictly speaking, the same thing.
    – Seamus
    Nov 24, 2010 at 13:22
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    @Matthew: There's a graphic design element in this question that wasn't really addressed in the other threads. Nov 24, 2010 at 13:27
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    @JFW: As it stands, your question is very broad and without knowing a lot more it's very hard to know what kind of answer would satisfy you. I recommend that you think of something very particular that is important to you in your writing and say something like, "I'm considering switching to LaTeX for writing my papers. This is the 'must have' for me when writing, can LaTeX do this?". Nov 25, 2010 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


As this question is unanswered so far, I will try my best to answer it. But I think, that because the way the question is worded, that no definitive answer is possible, so my answer will contain some portions that reflect my own opinions.

Also - as Joseph Wright pointed out in the comments - you may want to have a look at Why should I use LaTeX? and What professions use TeX/LaTeX besides CS?.

(La)TeX is great for producing texts while concentrating on the content and without too much distraction from caring about design. LaTeX can have a neat design, but the main focus is on producing text. So for essays you should be fine. Be warned, that LaTeX is not totally easy to learn, if you have to get ready an essay for tomorrow, don't try to learn LaTeX now. But if you learn it, you may save time later, because you can make all your essays with the already predefined macros and style.

You also talk about graphic design, and that may be a little more difficult. While LaTeX is able to make nice designed documents, most designers prefer to see direct output. That means, if you change something in your design-program, you see an immediate effect on the document. In LaTeX you always have to compile the document first. So, if you already have a license for a design-program and seem to able to use it, you may better use that for your design-work.

Is it worth learning LaTeX? In my opinion yes, especially if you produce many texts: reports, books, articles. What kind of people doing different subjects/occupations use it, and why? Hard to say, who uses it, but it is clear, that LaTeX seems mostly be used in science. Why? I think, everyone has another answer. For me is it the focus on the content, and doing design other days. I can even separate styling-issues in different files than the content. If I already had a solution for look for one document, I can simply copy/paste it into in similar document for same look. And as LaTeX uses simple text-files, I can use all programs for working with simple texts, from Unix command-line tools to version control.

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