Siarhei Khirevich's site

# Tips on Writing a Thesis in LaTeX

## Basic remarks on LaTeX

Most of information presented in this document is targeted to the readers with basic knowledge of LaTeX. I assume that reader is able to install LaTeX and download/install/use LaTeX packages with corresponding package options. If you are LaTeX newbie or never used LaTeX before, here are some useful links:

You may also check for the video tutorials on youtube, for example:

More experienced LaTeX users may be interested in the following documents:

Further I provide a short overview of the installation steps to get the LaTeX setup similar to mine:

2. Install Acrobat Reader (or similar PDF reading program) to open the output PDF files; you may also install Ghostscript and GSview if you wish to work with (E)PS files.
3. Install the editor of LaTeX input files (.tex); for this purpose I used shareware WinEdt.

A few comments on the last installation step. For the input LaTeX takes “plain text” files which contain the original document text with corresponding formatting commands. In principle, such “plain text” files can be created and modified with any text editor (Vim, Notepad :), and etc.), but there are number of editors designed to work with LaTeX files, for example freeware Texmaker, TeXniCenter, LyX, TeXworks. As mentioned, to edit the LaTeX files I used shareware software WinEdt (not WinEdit :), which was chosen based on recommendations of my colleagues when I was just starting to work with LaTeX. Here is a short list of the basic WinEdt features I used heavily during thesis typesetting:

• LaTeX commands syntax highlighting;
• tab windows support, with ctrl+tab switching among tabs similar to windows alt+tab style;
• simple search/replace and using regular expressions within one or multiple tabs;
• support spell checking, dictionaries are available for many languages;
• multiple LaTeX+BibTeX compiler runs available via one click or hot key;
• active strings with pop-up windows, which greatly speed up referencing to figures, tables, equations, and bibliographic entries while typing the main text;
• different symbols (like Greek letters) are available via GUI.

### Hello, world!

Here is an example of a simple LaTeX input file:

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
Hello, world!
\end{document}


which can be compiled with LaTeX in different ways (a good discussion on this can be found here). I have compiled my thesis with pdfTeX-1.40.10 activating the “book” document class using \documentclass[a4paper,11pt]{book}. The limitation of pdfTeX is that figures included into the document must be in JPEG, PNG, or PDF formats. As mentioned, I have exported all thesis figures from Corel DRAW (shareware; freeware alternative — Inkscape) as PDF files and added them to the final document using \includegraphics command:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\begin{document}
\includegraphics{example_fig.pdf}
Hello, world!
\end{document}

In this example the figure file must be placed in the directory with the .tex input file. (Here you can download a slightly modified example in .tex format with the corresponding output result.)

In this web document I intentionally do not provide entire LaTeX preamble (i.e., the set of commands preceding the \begin{document} command) to force the reader to take from this document the only information (commands) he/she really needs, and the commands which do not contradict the document preparation requirements of his/her educational institution. I graduated from the department of chemistry of the university of Marburg, and had no strict requirements regarding the appearance of the thesis document, so I was quite lucky in that respect :).