LaTeX Books

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LaTeX Books

LaTeX is a professional document preparation system and document markup language written by Leslie Lamport. It’s a very mature system with development starting more than 30 years ago.

LaTeX is widely used in the publication of scientific documents in many disciplines, such as mathematics, statistics, physics, economics, political science. It helps an author produce professional looking documents, papers, and books that are perfectly typeset. The formatted works are consistent, accurate, and reusable. It’s particularly suited to the production of long articles and books, as it has facilities for the automatic numbering of chapters, sections, theorems, equations etc., and also has facilities for cross-referencing. LaTeX is not a WYSIWYG system.

LaTeX uses the TeX typesetting program for formatting its output. LaTeX is a set of macros for TeX that aims to help the user concentrate on the content, rather than the formatting.

We publish a series covering the best open source programming books for other popular languages. Read them here.

LaTeX Tutorials

LaTeX Tutorials: A Primer

By Indian TeX Users Group (155 pages)

Packed with fully explained examples, LaTeX Tutorials: A Primer is a hands-on introduction quickly leading a novice user to professional-quality results. It’s published by the Indian TeX Users Group.

If you are about to write mathematical or scientific papers, seminar handouts, or even plan to write a thesis, this book offers you a fast-paced and practical introduction. Particularly during studying in school and university you’ll benefit enormously, as a mathematician or physicist as well as an engineer or a humanist.

Contents of the book

  • The Basics – what is LaTeX, simple typesetting, fonts
  • The Document – describes how an entire document with chapters and sections can be produced
  • Bibliography – the BibTeX program is examined
  • Bibliographic Databases – the reader is shown how to create a bibliographic database
  • Table of contents, Index and Glossary
  • Displayed Text – shows the reader various constructs for displaying text depending on the nature of the displayed text
  • Rows and Columns – keeping tabs, and tables are examined
  • Typesetting Mathematics – including custom commands, new operators, and symbols
  • Typesetting Theorems – using the declaration \newtheorem
  • Several Kinds of Boxes – LR boxes, Par, Rule
  • Floats – a good tutorial on the thorny problem of figures
  • Cross References in LATEX
  • Footnotes, Marginpars, and Endnotes

This book is released under the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2.

Formatting Information - An Introduction to typesetting with LaTeX

Formatting Information – An Introduction to typesetting with LaTeX

By Peter Flynn (226 pages)

Formatting Information is an introduction to typesetting with LaTeX designed for those with no previous experience. This is the seventh edition.

This book originally accompanied a two-day course on using the LaTeX typesetting system. It was extensively revised and updated for publication, so that it could be used for self-study as well as in the classroom.

This book provides a wealth of information on:

  • Writing documents – markup, choosing your LaTeX processor, quick start, LaTeX commands, white-space in LaTeX, special characters, quotation marks, accents, and more
  • Basic structures – looks at the document class declaration, the document environment, titling, abstracts and summaries, and more
  • CTAN and packages – packages and classes, installing classes and packages
  • Lists, tables, figures – also covers images, quotations, boxes, sidebars, panels, and verbatim text
  • Textual tools – footnotes and end-notes, marginal notes, references, indexes and glossaries, and multiple columns
  • Layouts and fonts – changing layout, using fonts, and the LaTeX font catalogue
  • Programmability – simple replacement macros, macros using information gathered previously, macros with arguments, nested macros, macros and environments, and reprogrammable LaTeX’s internals
  • Compatibility – converting into LaTeX, converting out of LaTeX, and going beyond LaTeX

The book is distributed under a ‘copyleft’ license.

LaTeX for Complete Novices

LaTeX for Complete Novices

By Nicola L. C. Talbot (273 pages)

LaTeX for Complete Novices aims to introduce LaTeX to a non-technical person.

The contents of the book include:

  • Definitions – source code, output file, DVI file, auxiliary files, commands, grouping, arguments, declarations, and more
  • TeXWorks
  • Creating a Simple Document – looks at packages, special characters and symbols, lists, and more
  • Structuring Your Document – author and title information, abstract, chapters, sections, subsections, create a table of contents, cross-referencing, create a bibliography, page styles and page numbering, and multi-lingual support using the babel package
  • The graphicx Package
  • Floats – figures, tables, sideways floats, and sub-floats
  • Defining Commands
  • Mathematica – in-line mathematics, displayed mathematics, multiple lines of displayed maths, and mathematical commands
  • Defining Environments
  • Counters
  • Common Errors

This book is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX 2e

The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX 2e

By Tobias Oetiker, Hubert Partl, Irene Hyna, Elisabeth Schlegl (171 pages)

LaTeX is a system for writing documents with perfect looks while the author fully concentrates on the content. This document shows you how to do this. It is arguably the best book to fully learn how to use LaTeX, although I would not recommend it for a beginner, as it includes just about anything you want to know about the system. If you are new to LaTeX, check some of the later introductory books.

The contents of the book:

  • Explains the basic structure of LaTeX to give the reader a general understanding
  • Explains the details of typesetting text, covering the majority of the essential LaTeX commands and environments
  • Learn how to typeset mathematical formulae with LaTeX laden with examples
  • Indexes, bibliography generation and EPS graphics. It also introduces creation of PDF documents with pdfLaTeX and looks at some extension packages
  • How to use LaTeX for creating graphics
  • Details some potentially dangerous information about how to change the standard document layout produced by LaTeX

This book is distributed under the GNU General Public License version 2 or later.

The Art of LaTeX

The Art of LaTeX

By Helen Gai (106 pages)

The book covers the following topics:

  • The Grand History of TeX – a general overview of the history of TeX/LaTeX
  • LaTeX Singing on Your Computer – set up LaTeX on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Getting Started
  • Playing with Text – focuses on how you enter text and set type. Topics covered include: how to enter the characters not readily available on your keyboard, how to change the typeface of your text, etc.
  • Working with Paragraphs – helps you deal with paragraphs, starting with basic controls over line breaks, moving on to the details of TeX’s typesetting engine
  • Elements of Your Document – cross references, listing items, columns, notes, programming codes, making boxes, index
  • LaTeX with Designers – focuses on how to design with LaTeX
  • When TeX Dates Math – goes into detail about how to typeset math properly
  • Tables and Graphics

The book is released under an open source license, the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Let's Learn LaTeX

Let’s Learn LaTeX

By S. Parthasarathy (23 pages)

Let’s Learn LaTeX recommends hacking as a good method of learning LaTeX. It gives 30 ‘lessons’ which show various aspects of LaTeX. It’s not intended to address all aspects of LaTeX, but as a DIY approach to learn the system.

The contents of the book:

  • Learning by doing
  • Basics
  • Bibliographies in LaTeX
  • Tables
  • Languages
  • Templates
  • For maths lowers
  • Misc tools
  • The big picture

This book is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharelike 4.0 Unported license.

A Simplified Introduction to LaTeX

A Simplified Introduction to LaTeX

By Harvey J. Greenberg (147 pages)

A Simplified Introduction to LaTeX is designed for quick entry into using LaTeX. The book covers the following topics:

  • Overview
  • Text – fonts and paragraphs, lists, making tables, special characters, tabbing and more
  • Bibliography with BibTeX – good coverage of the bib file
  • Counters, Labels and References – basic concepts, intrinsic counters, figures and tables, defining your own
  • Math Mode – mathematical symbols, fractions and variable size functionality, arrays and equations, special functions and alphabets, derivatives and integrals, theorems and definitions, refinements, and grammar
  • Graphics – picture environment, PSTricks, and importing pictures
  • Making Special Parts – cover page, abstract, other front matter, back matter, footnotes
  • Taking Control – your own abbreviations and commands, names, titles and numbers, environments, margins and spacing, output control, and bibliography

Each chapter has exercises to work through.

The book is released under the LaTeX Project Public Licence.

LaTeX maths and graphics

LaTeX maths and graphics

By Tim Love (16 pages)

LaTeX maths and graphics is a short handout that helps the reader start to get to grips with LaTeX.

The maths’ section of the book covers:

  • Environments
  • Special Characters – Greek, arrows, calligraphic, and more
  • Subscripts and superscripts
  • Overlining, underlining and bold characters
  • Roots and fractions
  • Delimiters
  • Numbering and labelling
  • Matrices
  • Macros
  • Packages
  • Fine tuning
  • Maths and Postscript fonts
  • Matlab and LaTeX
  • Examples

The book’s second chapter examines Postscript, scaling, rotation, clipping, wrap-around and shadows. GIF, jpeg files, and PStricks are mentioned.

It’s permitted to copy this document for the purposes of education and non-commercial research.

Using LaTeX to Write a PhD Thesis

Using LaTeX to Write a PhD Thesis

By Nicola L.C. Talbot (146 pages)

Using LaTeX to Write a PhD Thesis is intended as a brief guide on how to typeset the various components that are usually required for a thesis. This book assumes you have a basic knowledge of LaTeX.

The contents of the book cover:

  • Introduction – covers how to build your document
  • Getting Started
  • Splitting a Large Document into Several Files
  • Formatting – change the document style, change the page style, double-spacing, change the title page, tabbing and more
  • Generating a Bibliography – JabRef, BibTeX, and Biblatex are explored
  • Generating Indexes and Glossaries – using an external indexing application, using LaTeX to sort and collate indexes or glossaries

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version.



By Wikibooks (748 pages)

This is a good general guide to the LaTeX markup language. It’s intended to form a useful resource for everybody from new users who wish to learn, to old hands who need a quick reference.

The contents of the book:

  • Getting Started – introduction, installation, installing extra packages, basics
  • Common Elements – document structure, text formatting, paragraph formatting, colors, fonts, list structures, special characters, internationalization, rotations, tables, title creation, page layout, importing graphics, floats, figures and captions, footnotes and margin notes, hyperlinks, labels and cross-referencing
  • Mechanics – errors and warnings, lengths, counters, boxes, rules and struts
  • Technical Texts – mathematics, advanced mathematics, theorems, chemical graphics, algorithms, source code listings, linguistics
  • Special Pages – indexing, glossary, displaying the glossary, bibliography management, more bibliographies
  • Special Documents – letters, presentations, teacher’s corner, curriculum vitae
  • Creating Graphics – introducing procedural graphics, MetaPost, picture, PGF/TikZ, PSTricks, Xy-pic, creating 3D graphics
  • Programming – macros, plain TeX, creating packages, themes
  • Miscellaneous – modular documents, collaborative writing of LaTeX documents, export to other formats
  • Help and Recommendations – FAQ, tips and tricks
  • Appendices

This book is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

The following books are free to read, but not released under an open source license.


Ada, Awk, Assembly, Bash, C, C++, C#, Clojure, CoffeeScript, ECMAScript, Erlang, Forth, Fortran, Go, Haskell, HTML, Java, JavaScript, LaTeX, Lisp, Logo, Lua, OCaml, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Rust, Scala, Scheme, Scratch, SQL, Swift, TeX, VimL

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