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In the first article of this two-part series, you learned about LaTeX's most popular implementations for Mac OS X, and that it's not a word processor, but rather a document preparation and typesetting system. Under Mac OS X, there are many high-quality writing environments that simplify the process of composing LaTeX documents.

Before going any further, let me address some corrections/omissions from the first article. As a few readers pointed out, TeXShop and OzTeX can be setup to use Fink's UNIX TeX package. Saying "X11-based LaTeX implementations" may have mislead readers. TeX and X11 are not coupled in any way. You use X11-based DVI or PDF previewers to view LaTeX output. The file II2.dmg is not from the TeXShop folks, but rather is linked from their page. The program is available from the i-Installer Home Page. Finally, many readers have asked for more complete LaTeX sources. I have included these in the Resources section.

Now, let's see how you can use LaTeX to accomplish some common writing tasks. As you can imagine, LaTeX has many commands and features, and can be somewhat complicated to learn. Today, I'll keep things simple and concentrate on the basics.

This article introduces you to the LaTeX language, the basic structure of a LaTeX document, and shows some common writing tasks and how to accomplish them using LaTeX. Finally, I will demonstrate a few examples of common LaTeX documents and show how to generate these documents in different output formats, including formatting your documents for the web.

For these examples, you can use any LaTeX environment you wish - TeXShop, OzTeX, or the commandline version. At this point it may be helpful to briefly discuss the environment I use. I use TeXShop if I wish to use a Mac OS X Aqua-based program. Other programs have more feature, but I like the simplicity and stability of TeXShop.

For writing, I use GNU Emacs (21.2.1 from Fink) under Apple's X11. I do not rely on document previewing much, but when I need it, I do the following. I use a Perl script that looks at my LaTeX document every few seconds and calls an output generation program when the document changes; when I save the LaTeX document, the preview is automatically generated. I also have the script generate and display the current word count for the document.

Recently, I have been using Enrico Franconi Enhanced Carbon Emacs [ franconi/mac-emacs]. This implementation was pointed out by a reader in the Trackback section. This Emacs implementation is based on the emacs-21.3.50 CVS distribution. Overall, I really like this version, which includes LaTeX tools such as AucTeX and RefTeX. In addition, it has good integration with Aqua-based previewing programs like Acrobat Reader and TeXShop.

The script generates output in PDF. To view the PDF file, I use TeXShop's external editor feature, which permits TeXShop to redisplay the PDF when it has changed.

I also use the Emacs' Flyspell mode to automatically check spelling as I type and suggests corrections.

Another way to generate your output is by using a Makefile.

Take a look at the Perl script and Makefile. These will give you examples of how to process a LaTeX document and generate various output formats.

next up previous contents
Next: LaTeX Preliminaries - Commands, Up: LaTeX, it's not just Previous: Contents   Contents
Kevin O'Malley 2004-03-05