LaTeX for Luddites

An Ancient Philosopher's Guide

I write all my papers in LaTeX. If you would like to start writing all your papers in LaTeX, I've written up some guides to assist you with that, specifically geared toward people working in ancient philosophy, which LaTeX is actually very helpful for. (If you're not already convinced that you should be writing your papers in LaTeX, here are some of the many reasons I think you should write your papers in LaTeX.) Here are a couple of different options to get you on your way...

If you have any questions, issues, or confusions with these documents, please please please let me know. That's the only way they'll get better! Just shoot me an email at williecostello AT gmail DOT com.

If you're a complete newcomer to LaTeX... should download my Complete LaTeX Setup, Installation, and Usage package. Simply download and unzip the linked file, open the "README" PDF contained therein, and follow the instructions there!

If you've already got LaTeX installed... may want to jump ahead and go directly to my LaTeX for Luddites guide. The source code for this document, which you may also want to reference from time to time while you're reading it, can be downloaded here. (Note that this guide is already included in the above package, and assumes that you have installed not only LaTeX but also XeLaTeX, BibDesk, and certain font packages, as outlined in the package's installation guide.)

If you just want to know how to get LaTeX installed... can click here to view my Setup & Installation Guide directly. (Note that this guide references certain files that are included in the complete package.)

If you're looking for a mock document to work with... can click here to download something like that (also included in the complete package). This file includes a LaTeX document free of all content, but with all the necessary preamble code I generally use. Also included are a blank bibliography database and my preferred .bst file, just so the bibliography code will run properly.

If you're looking for a pretty bibliography style file... here to download the .bst file I created. Its formatting is a bit idiosyncratic, but I like it.

1. Beauty

LaTeX makes your papers beautiful, and without you even trying. You may not care about proper kerning, ligatures, hyphenation, or the distinction between em and en dashes just yet, but believe me: you should.

2. Greek

LaTeX makes incorporating Greek text (or any other weird alphabet) in your documents a breeze, unlike most other word processors, where it's a headache and still ends up looking ugly.

3. Bibliographies

LaTeX makes bibliographies hassle-free, compiling them for you automatically as you write.

4. Community

LaTeX is a free, open-source, non-proprietary platform, available to all and supported by a strong worldwide community of computer nerds, so you're never alone when you run into problems.

5. Performance

Standard word processing software (like Word) can be slow, buggy, and aggravating; LaTeX runs smoothly, allowing you to focus your attention on writing.