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LaTeX Guide : Introduction

LaTeX Guide

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX (pronounced "lah-tech" or "lay-tech") is a free document preparation mark-up language that allows for high quality typesetting. It is used most often for documents that are complex in structure or require typesetting of mathematics. It is an alternative to using a word processor to format your document. In LaTeX the text of the document is marked-up using LaTeX commands to determine formatting, similar to using CSS to format HTML.

LaTeX contains features for:

  • Sectioning, cross-references, tables and figures
  • Typesetting of complex mathematical formulas
  • Advanced typesetting of mathematics with AMS-LaTeX
  • Automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes
  • Multi-lingual typesetting
  • Inclusion of artwork, and process or spot color
  • Using PostScript or Metafont fonts

Quick links

Getting Software


Check your usual software source for a TeX package; otherwise install TeX Live directly.


The MacTeX distribution contains everything you need.


Both MikTeX and TeX Live will work for Windows.

Other options



In this case, "accessibility" refers to documents that are usable by people with disabilities, particularly low vision, blindness, and color blindness. This includes compatibility with screen readers and other assistive technology.

It is important to be aware that LaTeX does not produce accessible PDFs at this time. This is a known, major issue with LaTeX typesetting. If your document needs to be accessible, you will need to do a lot of customization and/or use a different typesetting or word processing system.