Communicator Spring 2006±±LaTeX: an introductionLaTeX is a powerful but relatively unknown typesetting system. Mike Unwalla explains where it came from and what it can do.ToolsLaTeX is a powerful typesetting system, used for producing scientific and mathematical documents of high typographic quality. Unlike WYSIWYG tools such as FrameMaker and Word, it uses plain text files that contain formatting commands. It’s big, open source, stable and used by many technical publishing companies. It’s also relatively unknown in the technical writing community. This article overviews LaTeX, and directs you to sources of information.HistoryDonald E Knuth (www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~knuth) designed a typesetting program called TeX in the 1970s especially for complex mathematical text. LaTeX is a macro package that allows authors to use TeX easily, and uses TeX as its formatting engine. It is available for most operating systems; for example, you can use it on low-specification PCs and Macs, as well as on powerful UNIX and VMS systems. There are many different implementations of LaTeX.The word LaTeX is pronounced ‘lay-tech’ or ‘lah-tech’ (‘ch’ as in Scottish ‘loch’ or just hard ‘k’), not ‘latex’ (as in rubber). In plain text, the
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