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2 Overview of LaTeX

LaTeX is a system for typesetting documents. It was originally created by Leslie Lamport and is now maintained by a group of volunteers (http://latex-project.org). It is widely used, particularly for complex and technical documents, such as those involving mathematics.

A LaTeX user writes an input file containing text along with interspersed commands, for instance commands describing how the text should be formatted. It is implemented as a set of related commands that interface with Donald E. Knuth’s TeX typesetting program (the technical term is that LaTeX is a macro package for the TeX engine). The user produces the output document by giving that input file to the TeX engine.

The term LaTeX is also sometimes used to mean the language in which the document is marked up, that is, to mean the set of commands available to a LaTeX user.

The name LaTeX is short for “Lamport TeX”. It is pronounced LAH-teck or LAY-teck, or sometimes LAY-tecks. Inside a document, produce the logo with \LaTeX. Where use of the logo is not sensible, such as in plain text, write it as ‘LaTeX’.


Unofficial LaTeX2e reference manual