Open source: Latex, a document preparation system

logo_smallIn 1987, I have written my PhD-thesis and Word Perfect was the only text processor available on a PC. In that time, the university was giving some financial support for a PhD-thesis, printed in two colums in landscape. However, with LATEX and a laserprinter, this became very easy and a year later, the financial support was removed. Also Internet was not available in that time and “Open source” was something we did not know and we believed was impossible.

imagesI remember that LATEX was really more difficult to use compared to Word Perfect but it was easy to include formula in your text. After the introduction of Word and Windows, I used Word or an open source version like Libreoffice, because I was to lazy to work with the difficult LATEX.

But times have changed. A LATEX editor like Texmaker and a latex2pdf converter like Miktex under Windows is a good team, which helps to remember all the commands in LATEX. On top of that, GOOGLE helps you with all possible problems by simply copying the error message in the editor.

DownloadToday an excel-table is easily incorporated by using the (LATEX) table generator or by including a CSV-file. Also figures are easily included and absorbed in the text in a professional way. Every symbol you can imagine is available if you search in this document. Citations and footnotes are easily included and all kind of accents and fonts are available with any keyboard. I write in Dutch, English, German, French and Czech and in Word you need a lot of keyboards or a very good memory. For tables, figures, formula, citations and footnotes, an automatic numbering system is available. A table of content, list of figures and tables is generated with only one command. There are packages for each style: an article, a letter, a book, a presentation, an invoice, a report, …. . In fact, your hard intellectual work will be presented in the best way possible.

I challenge everybody to find something about typesetting which does not exist with LATEX. In the unexpected case you should succeed, it is possible to program your own package and to upload it in the LATEX society.

unnamedBut in fact you don´t need to install software on your PC. Overleaf is the best place to start with your document in Latex. And in case you are working under Linux, Latex is probably already preinstalled. Also on Android LATEX editors are available included the converter to pdf. I tried already VerbTeX.

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