LaTeX and big writing projects

Michael Whapples mwhapples at
Fri Mar 2 03:35:58 EST 2012

The wikibook on LaTeX is quite good, I tend to use that as a reference book, 
although it does have sections which would be good for beginners as well.

I have to agree with Liz though, you may come across times where the 
expected format means using LaTeX is not possible (eg. I am studying with 
the Open University and I must submit my project report as a word document 
or RTF).

Michael Whapples

-----Original Message----- 
From: Robert cole
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 4:09 AM
To: speakup at
Subject: Re: LaTeX and big writing projects

Thanks for the replies, Liz and Justin.

I came across a free LaTeX book [1] at Wikibooks [2]. The book is
evidently a featured book there due to its good content and formatting.
It is downloadable as a PDF as well as it is readable online. I have not
read through it yet, but it looks to be a 295 page book. Here is a brief
description of the book from its main Wikibooks page:

This is a guide to the *LaTeX* markup language. It is intended that this
can serve as a useful resource for everyone from new users who wish to
learn, to old hands who need a quick reference.

I am going to search for tutorials as well, and hopefully I can just
print them to PDF. My Internet connection, though fast as it is, can be
slightly flaky sometimes, so I like to have materials on-hand.

I plan to possibly start reading this book after I finish the current
book which I am reading. I actually have a book which I began writing
while I was still using windows (it was a fictional novel), and I may
just port it over and redo it using LaTeX. I stopped writing it sometime
back in 2004...I hope to pick it up and finish it one day.

Once again, thanks for the replies.

Take care, everyone.


On 03/01/2012 06:51 PM, Justin Harford wrote:
> I learned LaTeX back in 2006 by reading on the internet. I also took a 
> semester class in 2007, but I mostly learned from the online tutorials.
> On 01-03-2012, at 16:12, Liz Hare wrote:
>> Hi Robert,
>> I'm not Jason, but I wrote my dissertation in LaTex 14 years ago. Back 
>> then, I had someone read me the print books that had been written on the 
>> subject. I'm not sure what resources are out there now, but I bet there 
>> is a lot of online documentation. It's also helpful to look at the .tex 
>> files for documents others have written that have similar features to 
>> those you want.
>> It was great. I had way more control of the formatting and tables than I 
>> ever could have had with a word processor. I think if you are taking on a 
>> project like writing a thesis or a book, it's definitely worthwhile.
>> The disappointing part was that once I finished the degree and made it 
>> out into the real world (working in the life sciences), I couldn't use it 
>> much. Journal articles had to be submitted in Word. I didn't have any 
>> coworkers who knew LaTeX and so many documents, like grant applications, 
>> had to be in word processing files. If I had the opportunity to work on a 
>> large writing project now, I'd have a lot to re-learn, and things have 
>> probably also changed a lot since then. But I still use the notation from 
>> LaTeX to communicate with sighted people about equations.
>> Liz
>> Liz Hare PhD
>> Dog Genetics LLC
>> doggene at
>> On 3/1/2012 6:47 PM, Robert cole wrote:
>>> Jason,
>>> Sorry to divert this, but I have read about you writing your thesis
>>> using LaTeX on the Orca list in the past. I was always curious and
>>> wanted to ask you what resources you used to learn LaTeX. I've been
>>> working to learn both vi and Emacs, and I think I would rather use LaTeX
>>> than a GUI word processor for different projects.
>>> As far as the Raspberry Pi goes, I am definitely planning on getting one
>>> (or more, if possible) when they are offered with cases. It is so
>>> wonderful to see all of these nice flashy Linux systems coming out.
>>> Although the price is out of range for me right now, I'd like to get my
>>> hands on a KDE Plasma Active powered Spark tablet [1] one of these days.
>>> this looks like a very promising device, especially as KDE is seeming to
>>> become more accessible thanks to QT-AT-SPI, Orca, and all of the other
>>> projects which are being developed. This is definitely getting exciting!
>>> Take care, and my apologies for my diversion from the original topic.
>>> [1]
>>> On 03/01/2012 03:17 PM, Jason White wrote:
>>>> Littlefield, Tyler<speakup at>  wrote:
>>>>> emacs. I love it, especially with emacspeak.
>>>> And to be more specific, AucTeX mode for anything complicated and
>>>> Org-mode for
>>>> notes and other simple documents.
>>>> I wrote my thesis in Emacs, with BRLTTY operating the braille display 
>>>> and
>>>> emacspeak for speech output, and, of course, Git for revision control
>>>> of the
>>>> files. TeX gives better typeset output, reputedly, than popular word
>>>> processors and you can use a good text editor such as Emacs for input.
>>>> I've
>>>> been using LaTeX instead of a word processor since 1998, so there was
>>>> no doubt
>>>> as to what tool to use when it came to writing my thesis.
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