LaTeX

Like oratory, music, dance, calligraphy—like anything that lends its grace to language—typography is an art that can be deliberately misused. It is a craft by which the meanings of a text (or its absence of meaning) can be clarified, honored and shared, or knowingly disguised.
—Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style

LaTeX is a tool for typesetting text, which is particularly well suited for typesetting mathematics. It is widely used in academia and might be a good choice for writing the final year project.

Introduction to LaTeX

Here you can find slides to an introductory lecture on LaTeX, describing the philosophy behind it and showcasing its abilities. They are derived from slides created by Lim Lian Tze.

  • Slides [pdf]
  • Slides with overlays [pdf]
  • Handouts (2 per page) [pdf]

Source files

The LaTeX source files are available on GitHub.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A copy of the licence can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

Lecture recording

The following is a recording of a lecture, delivered to second year students at Brunel University London.

Thesis Template

There are many LaTeX templates available for writing a thesis or the final year project. One such template can be found here. This is a sample file.

The LaTeX source files are available on GitHub.

LaTeX Ressources

A good introduction to LaTeX, covering general typsetting as well as mathematical formulas, is the following.

To answer questions and solve problems that come up in the course of writing, a search engine is usually your best friend. Most likely other people will have encountered the same problem and some of them will have documented the solution. That said, two ressources on the internet stand out:

  • The LaTeX Wikibook is an online book about LaTeX going into more detail than the not so short introduction.
  • TeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site about all things LaTeX. Web searches will often point you here.

LaTeX Editors

To make the write/compile/view cycle as seamless as possible it is recommended to use a writing environment, that was built with LaTeX in mind. The following are some suggestions, although many more options are available.

First there are programs that are installed locally on your computer. The following are open source writing environments available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. They offer similar functionality and differ in details. Any of them is a good choice for all the writing that has to be done during the degree. Note that they are only the editors and that LaTeX has to be installed separately.

My personal setup is the Emacs text editor with the AUCTeX extension for Latex support. As a (mostly) keyboard-based editor it has a considerably steeper learning curve than, for example, TeXstudio.

There are also web-based LaTeX editors. Their advantage is that one does not have to worry about installing LaTeX. The obvious disadvantage is that internet access is necessary to do some writing.

Both services offer free and paid plans and one has to check, whether the free plans are sufficient for all writing needs.