Amin Mesbah

Primer for an Ancient Typesetting Language

Posted on 2019-06-29

Slides in PDF format are available here.

Back when I was a student, I found myself gazing into the abyss of Microsoft Word with alarming frequency. A multi-hour session with that program could erode anyone's mental stability. So, in an effort to retain my sanity, I learned the LaTeX typesetting language.

Those of you who use LaTeX may be laughing at that last sentence. Indeed, LaTeX can be fairly described as abstruse, arcane, and archaic. Yet it's also the tool I now reach for whenever I need to write printed work. It has advantages that I haven't found anywhere else.

In 2016 I prepared materials for an introductory workshop on LaTeX. That workshop ended up never happening, but the slides and examples might still be useful to someone getting started with LaTeX.

You can find the slides here. If you want, you can download the whole repository, which includes some example documents. Those examples are also online in an editable form:

Until something better comes along, LaTeX is what I will continue to use for any amount of serious printed writing.