1. Using LaTeX
- LaTeX is the code language which we'll learn you, enabling you to make nice documents with formula's.
- Overleaf is a website where you can write LaTeX and see it as PDF.
- TeXstudio is a program where you can write LaTeX and see it as PDF.
- MiKTeX is a supporting program TeXstudio needs.
Overleaf is a nice site, but unreliable because of its commercial character. We have already seen how gradually more functions have become paid. For this reason we ask you to install TeXstudio (+ MiKTeX). If you work together in groups of two, and you want to write on the same LaTeX file simultaneously, you do however need to divert to Overleaf.
The installation instructions can be found at the end of this page. More details on the differences between Overleaf and TeXstudio (+ MiKTeX):
Advantages of TeXstudio (+ MiKTeX)
- Always and everywhere: no good internet connection required.
- In control of your own documents: have everything save on your own computer, with no chance the security of your files will be breached.
- Non-commercial, what the program can, it will do, no opposed limitations because of a sales model. Instead, it's built by the community (Project page of TeXstudio).
- No account necessary.
- More keyboard shortcuts and other advanced features.
Advantages of Overleaf
- No installation necessary.
- Simultaneous collaboration for two people possible.
- Start directly with something, thanks to templates.
- Your files are automatically saved in the Overleaf cloud, meaning you have them available from every device, and always backed up in case of computer problems.*
2. Installing TeXstudio (+ MiKTeX)
For LaTeX we need two programs:
- A distribution: This provides the mechanics which convert your code into a PDF (compilation). If you are handy with a command line, you can already create PDF's from LaTeX with just the distribution installed, but it is often nicer to work with a specialized editor.
- An editor: The editor shows your code and improves your experience by amongst other things colouring your code, and providing autosuggestions. Every time you press the 'Show' or 'Compile' button, it sends the necessary commands to your distribution, telling it to convert the code into PDF, and the editor can then handily show the PDF to the side of your code.
Because these two tasks are decoupled you have more freedom to choose which editor you use.
Install the distribution first (this way the editor will already see at installation time where the distribution is):
The distributions don't differ too much functionally from each other. MiKTeX on Windows can however automatically install packages you are using in your file for the first time, where TeX Live can't (with the default settings TeX Live will download all packages, which takes a couple of gigabytes of storage). TeX Live is however a bit better on the command line, so it can have the preference of Linux users.
For all three platforms, you can use TeXstudio.
- Once everything has successfully been installed, 'TeXstudio' should be amongst your programs. Open TeXstudio.
Copy+paste or write the following simple document in TeXstudio:
- Press F5 (depending on keyboard you might need to hold Fn while doing so), or press the 'fast-forward' button in the toolbar of TeXstudio (left to the 'play' button).
If all goes well, a moment later, a very plain document should appear to the right of your code (showing a title and date).
All does not go well!
Then probably an error message appears beneath your code. Try each of the following solution attempts:
- Verify your code matches the example above.
- If you use MiKTeX, verify 'MiKTeX Console' exists on your computer.
- Restart your computer and try again.
- Try Robin's exorcism. (Dutch instructions: Robins Exorcisme).
- Close TeXstudio.
- Click on the address bar of Windows Explorer or press Start+R. Paste the following address and press enter:
- Delete the file
- Start TeXstudio, try again and hope for the best!
- Still not working? Ask us for help: Contact
- You might want to make sure MiKTeX has its packages up-to-date. Open the program 'MiKTeX Console' and press
Updates > Check for updates. If updates are being listed, press the 'Update now' button.
- Congratulations! Welcome to the world of LaTeX!