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Latex is the computational language designed for representation of scientific results in form of an scientific article, or a book, or a slideshow oo a poster.



In the simplest case, the latex input is ascii–file, while the output file is in the postsctipt or pdf format. Also, at the compilation the log file is generated that describes errors revealed at the compilation; this file is suppose to help at the debugging.

All the high-rank scientific journals accept the Latex format of the articles submitted. Most of journals provide the sample file, so–called latex template with examples of the most of latex commands the authors may need in the preparation of their articles. In such a way, one has no need to learn Latex before to use it.

The distribution of software that supports the latex typing, is free. In particular, the latex installer can be found through the CTAN [1]

Also, such software as texshop may be used to simplify the typing of the latex texts.

There is useful guide at

Typing on various languages

There exist extensions that recognize the extended ascii input and allow to type various languages.

In some countries (that in century 20 were successful fighting against Cybernetics), up to beginning of century 21, several conflicting encoding systems are used. For example, the editorial of the Moscow University Physics Bulletin [2] requires the CP1251! encoding scheme (although theCP1251 is also accepted), white the Uspechi prefer the UTF8; the article should be recoded, over–vice, the editors have problems dealing with it.

In addition, even within the same journal, various sections may require different format of the manuscript representation.

The format o representation of formulas in Latex is very similar to that in TORI, id est, sign of dollar indicates the beginning and the end of the formulas; the commands begin with backslash and in the most of cases, the names of the commands just coincide with the commonly used names of the characters required for the generation,

Russian template

The example below indicates how to type Russian Latex document:

Латиница тоже получается: English
И формулы тоже: $\displaystyle \int_a^b \frac{x}{1+x^2} {\mathrm d x}$

However, for the custom formatting, other accessories (not specific for typing in Russian) should be added to the head.

Japanese template

The example below indicates how to use Japanese characters in a Latex document:

\begin{CJK}{UTF8}{min}未練なく散も桜はさくら哉\end{CJK} \\
without regret they fall and scatter cherry blossoms


For writing of dates in language-invariant form, there is package yyyymmdd. Example:


Advantages of Latex

Latex is very compact language; often, the article in Latex counts only few percent of size the same article would have at any other typesetting.

The examples above can be combined; the constructions are compatible.

Latex allows to type formulas without to look at the screen.

Latex is robust: the documents are easy portable from one computer to another

Latex allow to hide/reveal some part of a text defining few new commands; for example, the same input file can be used for generation of English, Russian of Japanese versions.

Disadvantages of Latex

For complicated formulas or tables, some tools and hints are necessary. For example, it is difficult to guess, that the size of the resulting PDF image (if not default) should be determined with commands \paperwidth and \paperheight at the top.

Yet, there is no regular way to generate the output in a form, different from postscript and PDF. For the web-oriented applications, the MathJax can be used instead, and yet, not all the Latex commands are supported by MathJax.


  2. Javier Bezos. The titlesec and titletoc Packages. June 14, 2000.