Talk:LaTeX/Archive 1

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Archive 1

Use of <math> to print "[[LaTeX]]"

There has been a bunch of reverts to the word "LaTeX" lately. I don't get the semantic argument. If using <math> is the best way to beatify the word LaTeX then does it really matter in which way it is internally represented? Most users will never edit the article so it is appropriate to have the word LaTeX in the most beautiful form as seen by the casual user. --Hq3473 07:04, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

I understand the point about using semantic markup tags to modify appearence, but I think in this case it's appropriate. LaTeX is after all a markup language.
Another point, is the <math> tag really semantic markup when used in Wikipedia? It looks to me like it just generates the other string of tags so that it's acting more as an alias. At the same time, the result of both markups should look the same:
In Wikipedia, typing this: <math>L^AT_EX</math>
Generates this: <i>L</i><sup><i>A</i></sup><i>T</i><sub><i>E</i></sub><i>X</i>
in html.
If has to be one or the other, I would prefer the <math> tags.
I just have to remember to close whatever tags I use:)
--Tom harrison 11:51, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

Ok, this is ridiculous, MediaWiki generated LaTeX looks UGLY(the A is out of whack). Psychonaut is not happy with either math or html markup. can he answer WHY? or rest in peace.--Hq3473 06:31, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

LaTeX wiki

A question: wouldn't it be a good idea to have a wiki especially devoted to (La)TeX. It could become some sort of dynamic TeX FAQ. Especially the fact that wikipedia can show actual TeX-generated formulas makes it a very interesting platform, in my opinion. An important decision then is whether to setup an entirely new wiki, or just do it under some existing wiki, like wikipedia.

  • What you described already exists as the UK TeX FAQ. I added a link to the UK TeX FAQ in the external links section. --Matt 23:16, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • It's worth mentioning that the UK TeX FAQ, whilst excellent, is not a wiki. It's the work of essentially one man. I think a wiki would be a great idea, although I'm not volunteering to set it up or host it :) Lupin 23:30, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)
      • Actually, the last paragraph of the introduction in the UK TeX FAQ names, in addition to the members of the UK TUG committee, at least 40 people who contributed to the FAQ. But I guess this still doesn't count as a wiki since public contributions are not possible? –Matt 09:52, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
        • OK, more than one person :) but all contributions are channeled through Robin Fairbairns AIUI, so it's far from wikidom. Lupin 10:47, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • PS could possibly be expanded into this given sufficient energy. Or another more suitable location on Lupin 23:46, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Depends if you think lAtEk is the new Kool-Aid. Not many do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Roots (talkcontribs)


this is a prime example of how "custom" phonetics are no good.

LAY-tekh or LAH-tekh, rhyming with "tack"
  • What does the 'h' do -- what would be the difference between 'tekh' and 'tek'?
  • I can't make 'tek' rhyme with 'tack' -- Tarquin 20:08 Oct 18, 2002 (UTC)
  • see TeX: where "kh" represents the sound at the end of Scotish "loch" (the X is meant to be the Greek letter χ) --rbrwr
The article now says "LaTeX is usually pronounced "LAY-tech" (where ch represents the sound of ch in German mich or German Technik, but not Scottish loch ...", which confuses me. I always thought the ch in the Scottish loch is the same as the ch in the German mich, represented by x in IPA. Note that the TeX article still says "The name TeX is intended to be pronounced "tekh", where "kh" represents the sound at the end of Scottish "loch" (but not English "loch")", which is equally confusing: what do they mean with English "loch"? -- Jitse Niesen 17:30, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
They are not the same, loch [x], mich [ç] (i.e., an unvoiced palatal fricative). However, I seriously doubt that LaTeX should be pronounced with [ç] as the article indicates. At least, Knuth's own words on the pronunciation of TeX in the TeXbook clearly describe [x], not [ç].
And speaking about confusion: WTF is intended by "See the International Phonetic Alphabet article for more information" ??? There is nothing related to IPA in the whole section. (Unfortunately.) -- EJ 14:17, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
And you are not correct. You can't be. How many Scottish and German dialects are you familiar with? Hannover Deutsch is not the same as Frankfurter Deutsch and the same holds true in Scotland. The original point holds well. But above and beyond that: this is an article about a text system - not about how the bloody name is supposed to be pronounced according to some people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Roots (talkcontribs)
As explained on Talk:TeX, I came to the conclusion that even in Greek, τεχ would be pronounced as [tεx], not [tεç]. Since this removes the last (already weak) reason for pronouncing LaTeX with [ç], I changed the article accordingly. -- EJ 15:51, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I never noticed that the final consonants in Dach and ich are pronounced differently. -- Jitse Niesen 16:02, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC). PS for EJ: Since you list logic as your interest, perhaps you could take a look at Ebbinghaus Flum Thomas and tell us what to do?
Someone edited in a plain [k] sound and even attributed this to Knuth, which I reverted. Knuth clearly says: it's the 'ch' sound in scottish words like loch or german words like ach (texbook, chapter "The name of the game"). Anyone still think it should be [k]?-- 13:10, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, maybe, yes. My issue is with the phrase 'usually pronounced'. I fully accept that Knuth favours a pronunciation with [x]; in my experience, however, most English speakers call it [ˈleɪ.tɛk]. This is hardly surprising: the majority of English speakers don't have the sound in their phonological inventory, even as an allophone. Perhaps this is a reflection of my limited experience, but I have my doubts. If [k] is the more common pronunciation, this should be noted in the article. I would add that appeals to Greek are not as convincing as they may seem. First, no one pronounces any other Greek loan with [x] (think 'technique', 'chronological' etc). Second, [x] is modern Greek. One might equally appeal to Ancient Greek, where χ was pronounced [kh]. In other words, the only reason for pronouncing the word as [ˈleɪ.tɛx] is the personal preference of Knuth. garik 19:28, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I've changed it to reflect what I've said above. garik 13:08, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

In the good ol' days TeX was pronounced 'TEKS' ... When did this new-fangled pronunciation take 'bout some history here folks?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

I would strongly support the idea to remove the phonetics section. The pronunciation of LaTeX would of course be language dependent. I speak Swedish so I would preferrably pronunce it [ˡlɑːtəks], but I don't expect e.g. a Chinese person to have this pronunciation. // Jens Persson ( 15:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC))

The remark "with a voiceless velar fricative as in Modern Greek" might lead to the conclusion, that it is pronounced how a modern greek would pronounce τέχνη. Which isn't the point. I suggest a less misleading formulation. --Timo Recke ( (talk) 21:00, 22 May 2008 (UTC))

Death to improvised phonetic script! All hail IPA and standards! — Chameleon 04:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Unbelievable this much time, energy, and real estate can be devoted to such a subject. And given tacit approval by a supposed computer scientist. 'Only in america'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Roots (talkcontribs)

It would be nice to have the latex that created the logo in the intro as its caption. —Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason 22:47, 2005 Apr 16 (UTC)

The code to produce that is: \LaTeX (note the caps) Onco p53 03:01, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Oh and if you want the version number type: \LaTeXe Onco p53 03:06, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)</nowiki>

Would it be possible to describe how the logo was made into an svg file? I'm tried numerous methods and I'm having trouble with this, particularly for math markup. I realize this might not be the right place for this question but I feel like I've exhausted other methods.

You might check out dvisvg

According to the image’s source code, it was “Created with Inkscape (”. Try that. —Frungi 22:46, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Here's what I'd do:
  • Create the following LaTeX document foo.tex:
  • Produce PostScript output:
$ latex foo.tex
$ dvips foo.dvi
  • Convert the PostScript file to SVG using your favourite conversion tool. I don't know of any command-line tool, but I'm pretty sure that the Inkscape SVG editor can import PostScript files.
If anyone knows of an easier way, let me know. —Psychonaut 23:36, 29 September 2006 (UTC)


I've added LaTeX to the Wikipedia:Babel project. Feel free to put it in your babelbox! -- Smjg 12:36, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

File generation

There doesnt appear to be anything about file generation in LaTeX, .tex.dvi.eps (and .log files etc e.g. with BibteX files). There doesnt appear to be information about usage of pdfLaTeX either compiling a pdf file directly, .tex.pdf.

Zven 18:35, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Would that be encyclopedic? I could add something about using latex, xdvi, dvips, ggv, ps2pdf, etc for *nix systems but I get the feeling that such information is a bit too "how to" and platform specific for this kind of article. Thoughts? DukeEGR93 02:24, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

The current "name" used in the article, the bold, sans serif thing, is fugly as hell

The logo used to look nice. it used the proper serifed font, which the word LaTeX should always be typeset in. The current one is a piece of crap IMO. We should either remove the complicated and unnecessary markup, leaving it as "LaTeX", or revert to the one that looked decent. --jacobolus (t) 21:30, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Amen to that, IMHO the the san-serif font looks exceptionally ugly. Opposition? — Mobius 02:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Tools section

IMO, the tools section is useless, and should be deleted. It's a random collection of relatively unimportant software. A lot of it seems pretty spammish. I'm going to go ahead and delete it, but feel free to revert me if you think I'm out of line.-- 00:45, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Add-on packages

I think the same things I said about the tools section also apply to the add-on packages section: low in value, and spammish. Feel free to revert my deletion if you disagree.-- 00:56, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

LaTeX2RTF and Beamer (LaTeX) are obviously both notable and relevant, so I've started a new list with only these tools. --Karnesky 04:16, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

article tagged as lacking sources and references --- why?

can somebody point out the reason for this tagging? I noticed a couple of smaller errors in the text but I have difficulties to understand why somebody thinks important sources concerning its statements are missing. If so what is being looked for?

As one of the LaTeX maintainers I would not like to see its reference in wikipedia being removed. Though I normally wouldn't like to get involved in this space (as I'm too close too the sources :-) ) I guess I could provide references for most of the statements made. 22:10, 26 April 2007 (UTC)frank mittelbach

Welcome to Wikipedia (and thanks for your work on LaTeX). I hope you would consider correcting the errors you've spotted.
There is very little chance that this article would be deleted--it is relatively solid.
The cleanup tag was added to encourage article improvement, not to propose deletion. It was added in this edit by User:AlistairMcMillan & it might be best to ask him directly on User_talk:AlistairMcMillan. Some editors prefer inline sources & this article has few. I'm not sure it really needs many more, as there are few controversial statements in the text. I usually ask the editor who added templates like this (or others who follow the talk page) to mark a few passages that deserve references, as this is much more constructive than a blanket tag for the article. If they find passages, great--the article could be improved by others with specific citations. If they don't, that's great too--it means that the template was applied over zealously & should be removed. --Karnesky 23:18, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't tag this article as "unreferenced" thinking that it should be deleted, so don't worry about that. I tagged it as unreferenced because Wikipedia:Verifiability is one of our official policies here. Personally, I'm a big fan of referencing because it makes it easier to root out vandalism. AlistairMcMillan 03:06, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Using LaTeX

Hello. This may not be the best place for such a question but how could I use LaTeX on a personal website like it is used here in Wikipedia? Thanks. 15:57, 18 August 2007 (UTC)


I think there should be a section dealing with LaTex's weaknesses.

Why people in academia insists on using LaTex when we have got OpenOffice??! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I am a great fan of LaTex but its shortcomings also drive me up the wall. Specifically two things come to mind. Firstly, inserting figures with text wrapping: it is extremely ugly, and all kinds of hacks must be used to fix problems that arise. Secondly, if you are creating slightly more complex tables, it quickly gets very messy: LaTex can't wrap text in table cells, which means you have to do it manualy by trial and error. (talk) 17:44, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Of course LaTeX can wrap text in table columns: use p-columns.--Oneiros (talk) 17:49, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Exactly my point: use p-columns. The work flow is like this: guess which width might work. Compile. Take a look. Adjust. Repeat. Not exactly elegant and hardly -- if ever -- mentioned. (talk) 12:02, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


The article begins with a complicated expression inside <math> tags.

<math>\mathrm{L\!\!^{{}_{\scriptstyle \Alpha}} \!\!\!\!\!\;\; \Tau\!_{\displaystyle \Epsilon} \! \Chi}</math>

If it's rendered as PNG the alt tag contains the same expression. How are text browsers supposed to interpret that? This is horrible from the accessibility point of view. Imagine a blind person trying to comprehend that string of garbage. It's needlessly fancy to use LaTeX to write a web page like this. Besides, the official logo is clearly on display anyway and Wikipedia articles don't use, e.g., company logos in-text. It isn't a valid point to argue that the developers of LaTeX want the name rendered like that; articles are not written from the point of view of their subjects. Wipe (talk) 13:41, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I restored the opening to how it was before anonymous's edits. Wipe (talk) 13:58, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I second that. Moreover, (1) the LaTeX developers do not want the name to be rendered in any fancy way, even the LaTeX homepage is happily writing it as "LaTeX" in HTML, (2) the god-awful <math> expression is not even the real logo, but only a rather imprecise approximation, which makes the whole idea pointless. -- EJ (talk) 14:27, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

LaTeX editors

As someone who started using LaTeX recently, and knowing several other people in the same boat, one of the most confusing things to getting started is the distinction between the language and the editor. I added a short section trying to make that more clear, but if anyone thinks it should be different that's good. Also, if there could be a link to the wikipedia list of TeX editors, at, that would probably be helpful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

You mean the part which reads like this?

The term LaTeX refers only to the language in which documents are written, not to the text editor itself. In order to create a document in LaTeX, a .tex file must be created using some form of text editor. While many text editors work, many people prefer to use one of several editors designed specifically for working with LaTeX.

It's not accurate (contradicts a document markup language and document preparation system above) and it's in the wrong place in the article. Also, I doubt very many people use dedicated LaTeX editors. Still, you have a point: the way you use text-based languages should be explained (or linked) somewhere in the article. I'm not changing anything right now.

JöG (talk) 16:29, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

I always come to wikipedia looking for a list of free software for whatever purpose so was a bit surprised to not find LaTeX editors very easily, so I just put a link to "Category:Free_TeX_editors" in the "See Also" section at the bottom, which has links to Tex/LaTeX distrobutions as well as 'editing suites'. I doubt that'll confuse anyone too much as each software page in the category will explain what it's for etc. Just seemed a bit hard to find otherwise. Cremac (talk) 13:30, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

LaTeX Programming for Wikis

I have recently become an administrator of a rather small Wiki for the Missouri Academy, the AcadaWiki, which is a school dedicated to upper-level Math and Science for high schoolers in the state of Missouri. I am eager to learn how to write scripts so that the AcadaWiki has LaTeX rendering, so it can properly interpret commands. Although it has the button in the editing toolbar, it won't render the <math></math> tags as LaTeX tags. I've looked into some textbooks on TeX and LaTeX commands, but they don't really reveal what is necessary to construct Wiki-based rendering. Could anybody provide links to how Wikipedia did it? Un Piton (talk) 06:06, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe WP:VP/T might be a better place. Please don't get mad if that's the wrong place. --Kjoonlee 18:02, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
This talk page is to discuss the article. Lee's suggestion is to discuss Wikipedia concerns. You have a question about MediaWiki & should refer directly to them, such as their page on texvc. --Karnesky (talk) 20:44, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


Info on accents might me helpful for international users.

You can input "é" with "\'{e}". It is also possible to input accents directly into the source code, though I don't know how. — Chameleon 05:01, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

I oppose inserting this in this article, this belongs in user tutorials, which is not the same as an encyclopedic article on LaTeX. --Berland (talk) 08:06, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that a detailed description of how to insert accented characters into LaTeX documents does not belong in an encyclopediac article. However, the article should at least mention the capability to have accented characters in LaTeX documents as this is an important and very basic feature. —Tobias Bergemann (talk) 10:10, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Or we could just link to XeTeX (which we do). --Kjoonlee 10:12, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Raster graphics?

From an image caption: "LaTeX can also be used to produce raster graphics." The image's summary makes no mention of raster graphics, and the source code used to create it includes bezier curves. Sounds like vector graphics rendered as raster graphics, so I'm changing it. Nialsh (talk) 04:34, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Incidentally, I find the image pretty ugly, compared to what can be done with LaTeX. Why don't we find something more appropriate for the article? --DarTar (talk) 10:56, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

POV LaTeX v. TeX


It has become the dominant method for using TeX—few people write in plain TeX anymore.

is very likely false, not to mention unsourced. On my tex group, people are constantly coding between TeX and LaTeX. There are many TeX'ers out there.

Anyone care to source this, or defend it, lest I delete it? Llamabr (talk) 17:11, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Not an irrefutable article by any means, but PracTeX claimed that 85% of survey respondents preferred LaTeX over alternatives & only 2% preferred plain TeX:
My anecdotal evidence runs contrary to your anecdotal evidence--a survey of publishers reveals very few that accept plain TeX. Both your "gut feeling" and mine are pretty poor WP:OR, but some third party has probably surveyed formats accepted by publishers (I think that I've seen LaTeX vs. Word stats in the past, for example).
Bottom line: the passage you highlight is almost certainly true & belongs in the article in some form, but it could be strengthened. --Karnesky (talk) 17:51, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
It shouldn't be hard to find references saying that most of (TeX or LaTeX) users are LaTeX users; I recall reading similar statements in various (La)TeX manuals and the like. What should probably be changed, though, is the "few people write in plain TeX anymore", because "few" is subjective and surely "a lot of people write in plain TeX" is also a true statement. Shreevatsa (talk) 00:09, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
I'd be happy to see it returned, if it can be sourced. I myself would be unable to code one piece of plain TeX. Perhaps it should be reworded -- even if most people prefer LaTeX, it doesn't follow that *few* people code regular TeX. I was probably rash, reword, rather than delete. How about something along 'a far greater percent of users prefer LaTeX to plain TeX? Llamabr (talk) 21:57, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see someone took the initiative, and already put it back. I added a 'relatively', which I think avoids the problem. Agreed? Llamabr (talk) 21:59, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

The graphic to the left of Pronouncing and writing "LaTeX"

The graphic in the section 'Pronouncing and writing "LaTeX"' has nothing to do with that section. I am referring to the graphic which is captioned as "LaTeX can also be used to produce vector graphics." I think it is a good addition, but that it should be placed elsewhere. For? Against? PGScooter (talk) 11:36, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Changed Screenshot

I changed the screenshot showing a LaTeX document in Acrobat on Linux to one showing a document in Preview on OS X for a few reasons:

  • The Acrobat shot doesn't show any actual content but rather just one sentence repeated over and over. The Preview shot shows an actual (linguistic) use of LaTeX.
  • The Acrobat shot does a good job of showing the titling, sectioning, and page numbering features of LaTeX, but nothing more advanced than that. The new shot shows figures, references, formatting, and subscripting, along with trees and numbered examples (through the use of packages).
  • In my opinion, the font rendering on Linux makes the LaTeX output look kind of ugly.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Jopxton (talkcontribs) 01:52, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Real Estate on Pronunciation?

Do we really need an entire graf to explain why Knuth wants to pronounce the name of his baby non-intuitively? Pseudo-factoids such as the derivation of 'tex' - this is special? It's the same derivation for the word 'text' in English! I think a mention Knuth is petulant about pronunciation and perhaps his own reasoning is OK but to give it an entire graf borders on the pathological. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dr Roots (talkcontribs) 23:39, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Give an example!

Hi, I am just a "visitor" from the German Wiki. Have a look at their LaTeX article [1]: They have given a small example of input and output; that might give an idea about the basic concenpt to LaTeX newbies.

I'm on the case, I'll have something ready soon. Onco p53 09:59, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK can you please comment on the following: (is there a way to scale to a percent of the screen?) Onco p53 23:44, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The image below shows an example of a LaTeX input (left) and output (right). LaTeX Input to Output.png

Personally I prefer the approach on the german article where they have the input in html. This means the reader could actually try out the fragment for themselves and also seems cleaner somehow. Lupin 01:49, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK here goes: Onco p53 02:10, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)


\maketitle \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 \LaTeXe.
% This is a comment, it is not 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.png

There are some layout problems that need to be solved; this looks completely different at different resolutions Onco p53 02:14, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Better now, but optimised for a 1024*768 display. background needs some work, feel free someone Onco p53 02:45, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
As a Latex instructor, I have strong opinions on eqnarray, that it should be regarded as deprecated and I therefore object to using eqnarray in any examples. The better solution is to use the amsmath-package, and align instead of eqnarray (and one ampersand less). Would anyone object to this change? --Berland 08:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Not me. —wwoods 18:33, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Can't someone please solve this. Change 'eqnarray' to 'align' and include the 'amsmath' package. (talk) 20:33, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Done. I've also got rid of the horrible \newline, which is even worse style than eqnarray. — Emil J. 16:40, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Is there a difference between \TeX{} and \TeX? You use both in your example. Calvero2 (talk) 17:06, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
The difference is purely syntactic. TeX's tokenizer ignores blank spaces immediately following control words like \TeX, and appending an empty group {} (which by itself has no effect) is one way of persuading TeX to take the next space seriously. — Emil J. 17:19, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Advantages of Latex

Something that isn't mentioned in the article is that beacause the files are just text, an advantage of latex is that it can be used with version control software such as subversion.

This is quite a powerful advantage as it allows documentation to be version controlled (i.e. can't do it with word documents). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:33, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Indeed. We use cvs or git to have a group of people edit the same LaTeX document independently and merge their edits easily. Also, splitting the document into include files minimizes edit conflicts. Jmath666 (talk) 05:26, 26 November 2009 (UTC)