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Michigan State University


A basic introduction to writing and managing citations in LaTex.

Introduction to LaTeX


LaTex logo

LaTeX is a typesetting system commonly used in the communication and publication of scientific, mathematical, and technical information.

In contrast to word processors, LaTeX allows users to easily to write mathematical expressions, cross-reference figures and tables, and structure their document section through markup. However, because the LaTeX environment requires users to write their documents in plain text, there can be a steep learning curve to getting started. This guide covers how to get started creating documents and managing citations in LaTeX. 

Getting Started with Overleaf

LaTeX can be run locally on your computer or through an online editor. Both Overleaf and Authorea allow you create LaTeX files through their online editors. Both services allow you to link your account to an ORCID profile or you can create an independent account. This guide and the LaTeX workshop were created with Overleaf environment in mind. However, any environment can be used.

Once you are logged into Overleaf, you be able to create, edit, and organize your LaTex documents through the home page. When you are editing a document, it should look like the image below. The left panel allows you to edit you LaTex code. The right side will display what that compiled code will look like in as a PDF file. To recompile and view your updates at any time, you can either click the "Recompile" button or hit "Command + Enter."