From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)Leslie Lamport
LicenseLaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)

LaTeX is a computer program used for making articles, books and math formulas look good. LaTeX is well-suited for expressing mathematical formulas on electronic devices in a more human readable format, by showing them in a way similar to how they would be written by hand.

LaTeX is used for making mathematical formulas for some articles on Wikipedia, in addition to being used within academic circles.

The writer types their article into a plain text document. A plain text document cannot have styled text, like bold or italic. When the writer wants to write styled text, they use special LaTeX commands that start with a backslash (\). For example, the command for bold text is \textbf{This text is bold}.

After the writer is finished writing the article, they tell LaTeX to read the document. After LaTeX is done, LaTeX makes a file that can be printed. The command \textbf{This text is bold} would print as This text is bold.

LaTeX was first made in the early 1980s by Leslie Lamport at SRI International, who published its first manual in 1986.[1] The current version is LaTeX2e (styled \LaTeXe), which has been active since 1994.[2]

LaTeX project logo bird
LaTeX project logo bird

Example[change | change source]

The example below shows the LaTeX input and its corresponding output:

  \LaTeX{} is a document preparation system for the \TeX{}
  typesetting program. It offers programmable desktop publishing
  features and extensive facilities for automating most aspects of
  typesetting and desktop publishing, including numbering and
  cross-referencing, tables and figures, page layout, bibliographies,
  and much more. \LaTeX{} was originally written in 1984 by Leslie
  Lamport and has become the dominant method for using \TeX; few
  people write in plain \TeX{} anymore. The current version  is

  % This is a comment; it will not be shown in the final output.
  % The following shows a little of the typesetting power of LaTeX:
    E &= mc^2                              \\
    m &= \frac{m_0}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}
LaTeX output

Academic contributions to LaTeX[change | change source]

In order to support mathematical typesetting, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) has made the AMS-LaTeX package.[3] AMS also founded MathJax, a Javascript extension to display mathematical formulas on web browsers, with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.[4]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Leslie Lamport (April 23, 2007). "The Writings of Leslie Lamport: LaTeX: A Document Preparation System". Leslie Lamport's Home Page. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
  2. "The Definitive, Non-Technical Introduction to LaTeX, Professional Typesetting and Scientific Publishing". Math Vault. 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2020-08-07.
  3. Grätzer, G. (2013). Math into LATEX: An introduction to LATEX and AMS-LATEX. Springer Science & Business Media.
  4. "MathJax: About Us". MathJax. 2020-08-07. Retrieved 2020-08-07.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Van Dongen, M. R. (2012). LATEX and Friends. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Grätzer, G. (2014). Practical LaTeX. Springer.
  • Datta, D. (2017). LaTeX in 24 Hours: A Practical Guide for Scientific Writing. Springer.