Brief notes and links on

Writing Math with LaTex

  1. LaTex is a version of Tex, created originally by Donald Knuth in 1978 to typeset mathematics on any machine. It is now a popular -- and free -- typesetting package that is the professional standard for writing mathematics.  It is widely used in the sciences, especially in math and physics.  There are free versions for every operating system.  Collecting suggestions from faculty and students, here are a variety of helpful links for beginning LaTex users:

  2. I write all my mathematical notes, exercises, exams, solutions, most correspondence using LaTex.  I use TexShop on my Mac.

  3. If you use Windows, install MikTex.  After installing MikTex, a good free LaTex editor is TexnicCenter.

  4. There is a very nice 12-part video on youtube on using and setting up LaTex using TexWorks.

  5. This LaTex cheatsheet for beginners (pdf) has a summary of the major commands.

  6. There are many guides to mathematical symbols; here (pdf) is one.

  7. Or you can draw your own symbols at Detextify to see what commands might reproduce that symbol.

  8. For graphs and diagrams, I use TikZ.   Check out the beautiful examples here and links to tutorials.

  9. One can also create presentation files similar to powerpoint using the LaTex package "beamer". 

  10. Here is a beamer user’s guide (pdf) and information about developing a poster using beamer.

  11. Questions about use of LaTex can be posted at the LaTex stackexchange.

Other LaTeX Links

  1. A nice reference:

  2. One more general reference:

  3. A thorough introduction to amslatex:

  4. On importing graphics:

  5. Guides for creating tables in Latex:

  1. A pdf guide to creating complex tables.

Bibliography and Bibliographic Styles with BibTeX

     One way to create a reference file is via BibTex.  Once you have a database of references, LaTex will format your references and citations.



     You need to create a database of paper references to use bibtex. This is supported by the fantastic MATHSCINET service of the American Mathematical Society. Go to Sam Houston’s Newton Gresham Library webpage from a computer on campus. Search for MathSciNet and click on the link to the web service. (Or you may be able to just click here:

     Typeset some of the information of the paper you want to cite, click on search and once you find the reference you were searching for, open the little menu above the reference "Select alternative format" and click on Bibtex. Copy/paste the information from the browser into your bib file -- and live happily ever after!

Writing a master’s thesis with LaTex

     The standard for writing theses in the MS-Mathematics program at Sam Houston involves AMS-LaTex.  See the AMS guide and consult with your thesis advisor.

(Dr. Luis Garcia-Puente, Dr. Martin Malandro and a number of Sam Houston students contributed to this webpage.  Send suggestions for improvement to Ken Smith via email.)

Back to Ken’s home page

(Last updated on April 6, 2012)