I am a new LaTeX learner, with what I have read and heard about it, I know its going to be a great tool for researchers in time saving and more, I have also discover that TeX, stack-exchange etc. has a lot of questions and answers (about LaTeX setting-up ie. its different accessories, parts such as version control and also document preparation) that are great and if well organised and placed together can make one's learning very easy and fast; but as a 'child' in LaTeX or TeX world one do not know which to know and practice first, although TeX is used for different purposes by different users, but still there should be a general sequence of learning that will enhance swift understanding of how LaTeX works from the vast arrays of intelligent questions and answers. My question still remain : can there be any orderly or sequential arrangement of question and answer that can help me and other new 'children of LaTeX'?


1 Answer 1


Short answer no. Long answer no due to the structure of the website. The main problem is our format is for specific questions receiving specific answers. Actually the more specific the better it is. Hence, at the very best it can replace A TeX cookbook. Otherwise you really need the traditional book that takes you from Hello World to more complicated stuff.

Having said that, there is a big gap between two levels of questions:

  • OK, I can handle the common document formats and create my basic documents. What next?

.... some miracle happens ....

  • How do I program TeX to achieve this regular expression, header adjustment, font autokerning etc.

It is a major problem that everything in between these two questions is found online with varying authority. Many sources are archaic and sometimes flat out wrong. Hence once you are at the first question level regardless of how you got there join us and fire away all your questions.

But to get to the first question you might need some help from a well-known book that are listed in What are good learning resources for a LaTeX beginner?

I would strongly recommend that you read these in order extremely slowly which will make your life much much easier:

TeX Distribution and Engine

The differences between TeX engines

What is the difference between TeX and LaTeX?

We also have a tiny glossary from some time ago (needs a few updates though):

Glossary of TeX and LaTeX terms

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    While this answer is probably true, it does not have to have to be the end of it. The community could compile a "guided tour from \documentclass{article} to uploading to CTAN" (or a subset) on Meta. We have something similar on cs.SE; it's more a list ordered by topic, not a linear guide, though.
    – Raphael
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 11:23
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    @Raphael For my taste, that text on cs.se is quite an uncomfortable and bossy read. Is it trying to be mathoverflow instead of mse? Besides nobody expects the definitions of those things to change. In TeX based stuff things get deprecated or new things come in or some people just like to work esoteric stuff so both personal preferences matter and also maintaining such a list is a big deal for us in my opinion.
    – percusse
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 1:04
  • Our collection is less a tutorial but a "read this and try for yourself" collection (which is what we use it for: pointing exercise problem dumpers to reference material). You can choose whichever tone you like. The point is, you can create a "tex.SE reading guide" if you so desire, the issues you point out notwithstanding. (No, Computer Science is for basic questions; there is just no use in having the same questions over and over again. But that's beside the point here.)
    – Raphael
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 7:05
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    @Raphael I don't think we can. First of all, it would become a yet another classicthesis disaster. TeX is not conclusive but instead pretty personal. Some still like even plain TeX pretty much like Assembly lovers. Hence that's a lost cause. And regarding the last part of your post, the link talks about we all the time. That's a big fat no in my book. Answerers do not own anything regarding the site. They have zero rights over the questioners. None. So that authoritative tone is unfounded. I'm pretty sure that it is not a user wantsto read but indeed that's besides the point
    – percusse
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 0:42
  • I guess every tutorial is an "IMHO"; that's implicitly clear. Nevertheless, there can be (for every writer) a "how to start writing LaTeX documents, plus some warnings and best practices" document. No single such document will cover all tastes, but that's irrelevant for beginners. Give them enough so they can catch the next fish for themselves (using TeX - LaTeX). Anyway, I've made my point. I think it can be done; whether anyone wants to remains to be seen.
    – Raphael
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 5:44

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