Thursday, 22 August 2013

Setting Up Latex in Windows

For those who are going to start grad school soon, knowing how to use Latex will help you a lot with writing in the long run. If you use mathematics a lot, Latex is great for typing mathematics. If you don't, Latex is still great for document referencing and citation management. However, setting up Latex is not as straight forward as Microsoft Words. So, in this post, I am documenting the steps to setup Latex in Windows.

The overall process of installing and using Latex is still relatively simple. As I mentioned in a previous post, Latex itself is a set of compilers. So, if you are familiar with programming, you can type up you document in Notepad and compile in using the Latex compiler.

The first step is to install a Latex implementation. For Windows users, I recommend to download MikTex. I recommend you to use the Net Installer and try to get a full installation (which may take some time). Once installed, I highly recommend you to enable MikTex's auto installation of missing packages. You can do this as follows - click on start button and go to Programs => MiKTeX => Maintenances => Setting. Under the General tab, you can find the option "Install Missing Package on the fly". Choose yes. This description is based on MikTex 2.9.

Next you need to download an editor for Latex. This will ease your process of creating a Latex document. One of the features that is probably the most useful is compiling the document on a click. Personally, I like to use WinEdt. It has great features but it will cost you some money. On the other hand, there are other free editors, like TexMaker, TeXworks, Kile and more. You can find a big list of what other people recommend here. Typically, all you need to do is to install the editor and the editor will locate your MikTex installation directory.

Once you installed MikTex and your choice of Latex editor, you should try to copy the following sample Tex file and compile it using your editor. This will test if your installation was successful. This sample tex file will also give you a quick start on how to write a Latex document. That's all for this post.

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