The l2h help pages   © Leon van Dommelen 
The latest version of this document is online at or at

Introduction to LaTeX

After you have installed l2h, follow the instructions on how to get started. This will allow you to select an example document "index.tex" and allow you to load it in an editor.

The first thing is to read completely through that example document using the editor window. This is a complete document. It will show you what LaTeX is all about. And how to do every major step in preparing a document.

Do not worry too much about details yet. If you later want to know how to do italics, bold, a figure, a table, etc., just search through the example with your editor's search function. If you already deleted parts of the example, you can find intact copies on web page examples.html. Use your browser's search function on them (try pressing f while holding Ctrl).

After reading through the example, go to the l2h menu window and press the "p" key in it when active. This will create a finished pdf document called "index.pdf". Look at this document and compare what you see there with what you saw in index.tex. (To view index.pdf, either press the "P" key in the l2h menu or, in the example folder, right-click index.pdf and select a suitable viewer.)

After you have a general idea how the contents of index.tex relates to the final document, look at the links below for more in-depth information. The first links are the ones you will probably want to look at first, in my opinion.

  1. Editors. See editors.html for editors suitable to create LaTeX documents.
  2. Basics. See for some basic aspects of LaTeX that you have to know, like the structure of the input document. Much of it you may already recognize from looking at the l2h example.
  3. Errors while running LaTeX. If the build-in l2h help on errors and warnings is not enough, try
  4. Scientific line and contour plots. See plots.html
  5. Images (plots, photographs, etc.) See images.html.
  6. Page (and other) numbers. See pagenos.html.
  7. Adding or removing whitespace: use say "\hspace*{0.5in}" (0.5 inch horizontal) or "\vspace*{1in}" (1 inch vertical). Negative amounts are OK. Single spaces: use "~" for a fixed (no line-break) space, or "\ " for where a space disappears behind a latex command. See the examples.
  8. "Build-in" names. See
  9. Tables. See for more info than is in the example.
  10. Mathematical symbols, including Greek ones. See and the comprehensive symbol list.
  11. Bibliographical references. See
    1. natbib.pdf
    2. citeref/index.html (links to citations.)
    for more info than you can find in the example and the "references.bib" file in its folder.
  12. Look here first for a definite discussion of each aspect of LaTeX. It can be somewhat overwhelming at times, however.
  13. FAQ. Frequently asked questions list. May give you more options than the reference above.
  14. Wenguang Wang's LaTeX Introduction
  15. Getting to Grips with LaTeX.
  16. A Simplified Introduction to LaTeX.
  17. The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e.
  18. Harvard Guide to LaTeX.
 Index   Examples