Getting Started


By the end of this chapter you will:

  • understand that LaTeX is a language and not a program
  • have a Tex distribution installed
  • have installed TeXmaker

Getting Started

LaTeX is the coding language that you will learn on this course.

It is not a single program.

To compile LaTeX code you will need a Tex distribution which contains many seperate packages (more on this in Chapter 3), a text editor and a PDF viewer.


Tex Distribution

Which distribution you download depends on your operating system.

Windows MiKTeX
Mac MacTeX
Linux TeX Live

Text Editor

LaTeX code can be written in any text editor (even Notepad++) but not a word processor like Microsoft Word. MiKTeX and TeX Live come with an editor called TeXworks. However, we are all going to use TeXmaker as it is easy to use, available on all platforms and it has an embedded PDF viewer.

PDF Viewer

Any PDF viewer is acceptable. If you do not already have a PDF Viewer Adobe Reader is free and works on all operating systems.

Installing Tex Distributions

Activity - Download the Tex distribution for your operating system.

Windows - MiKTeX

Check whether you are using a 32bit or 64bit system (I do not know if I have a 32bit or 64bit system). Download the appropriate basic installer. This will install packages as they are required instead of a full LaTeX system. This means that the first time you compile your code it will take a while to download all the packages that you have called. This is therefore only suitable for systems that are connected to the internet while you are working. If you prefer to work offline, then install the complete system now and not the basic one.

MAC - MacTeX

Download the MacTeX.pkg file. This is a large file and may take some time to download, depending on your download speed.

Linux - TeX Live

Download install-tl-unx.tar.gz and follow the quick installation instructions. Be sure to read these instructions carefully.

Installing TeXmaker

Activity - Download and install TeXmaker.

Ensure that you have installed your Tex distribution before installing TeXmaker.

Download the appropriate file for your operating system from TeXmaker and follow the installation wizard.