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LaTeX in Engineering & Physical Sciences: Getting Started

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a document preparation system that was created by scientists for scientists to give them more control over their documents. It allows you to focus on content instead of design because the system enables flexible formatting. 

LaTeX is based on the TeX typesetting program. TeX was developed by Donald Knuth in 1978. LaTeX was developed by Leslie Lamport in the 1980s and works on top of TeX. It includes additional packages and environments taking TeX to the next level.

Who uses LaTeX? 

Engineers, physicists, mathematicians, economists, linguists, and more! 

Why use the LaTeX Typesetting system?

1. Increase formatting flexibility with attributes like formulas, tables, and figures.

2. Generate content in a stable typesetting system - LaTeX is open source, highly stable, and is not dependent on proprietary software updates. 

3. The command based syntax creates documents that are simple or highly customized and appears exactly how you need it to. 

4. You are not limited to the constraints of a GUI interface and can make certain things, like equations, appear exactly as you want them to. 

5. Layout of the system enables you to focus on content, not how the document looks. 

Select an Editor

Traditionally you would download an appropriate LaTeX distribution package and then choose an editor such as TeXstudio, Texmaker, or TeXworks.

But now there are online collaborative LaTeX editors such as Overleaf that make writing and collaborating on scientific papers in LaTeX much easier. The library subscribes to Overleaf providing you with access to its premium features if you sign up with your UC Berkeley email address.

UC Berkeley Templates

Sign up with or add your Berkeley email address to your Overleaf account to get access

Overleaf hosts several templates customized for UC Berkeley including:

Templates can be opened in Overleaf or downloaded for use in a LaTeX desktop editor.

Using Overleaf

Workshops & Exercises

Librarians offer several LaTeX workshops each semester. Please check the Library Workshop calendar for information about dates and times of each workshop.

Slides from past workshops are available here.

A self-paced tutorial based on our Introductory Workshop can be found here.

Learn about LaTeX in VOLT (Virtual Online Library Tutorials)