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. Below, you can find some pros and cons of working with LaTeX:


LaTeX might be interesting if..

  • You use a lot of scientific formulas or mathematical equations in your document.
  • You are already somewhat fluent with markup languages and/or have some notions of coding.
  • You want to control what your document looks like.
  • 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, the overview of the possibilities is easily lost.



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 UGent libraries have several guides on how to use LaTeX for beginners and intermediate users.


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Last modified March 17, 2023, 9:09 a.m.