LaTeX: what is it?

LaTeX is a markup language (like HTML). It ensures that your text (article, book, thesis) rolls out of the printer with impeccable layout and it's considered the standard for scientific works. Below, you can find some pros and cons of working with LaTeX.


Advantages of working with LaTeX

  • Scientific formulas or mathematical equations will look neat.
  • It's accessible for writers who are already somewhat fluent with markup languages and/or have some notions of coding.
  • You've got more control over the way your document looks.
  • Your document will look consistent: LaTeX will format titles, captions, etc. the same way across the entire text.
  • LaTeX editors are open source (free).
  • LaTeX is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.


Disadvantages of working with LaTeX

  • You'll need some practice to become fluent.
  • Mistakes in your coding can lead to annoying issues to solve.
  • Referencing and compiling a bibliography is a bit more complicated (and not automated) in LaTeX.
  • LaTeX has so many options, it's easy to feel lost in the possibilities.
  • There's some variation possible in LaTeX formatting, but it can get challenging if you want more extensive alterations.



When learning to use LaTeX for scientific papers, you will probably come across the word BibTeX. BibTeX is a tool and file format that allows you to make a list of references or bibliography. The BibTeX version of a reference is widely available with most databases, such as Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus, our library's catalogue, etc.



The University Library has several guides on how to use LaTeX for beginners and intermediate users.

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Last modified March 18, 2024, 4:41 p.m.