Hussein Esmail

Is LaTeX Better?

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is an open-source typesetting format/language, where each .tex file can be compiled into a PDF (or even HTML or other formats if you figure it out). It is commonly used in the Sciences and Engineering departments as the document standard.

Why is LaTeX Better?

  1. If there are no other assets (images, videos, etc) in the LaTeX document, it is guaranteed to have a smaller file size than a Word document or a PowerPoint document (for example). The good thing about this is that if you're low on storage space, you can delete the compiled document and recompile it whenever you need it (as long as you have the .tex document it came from).
  2. It does not require any licenses because it is open-source and anyone is free to use it however much they like.
  3. There's no 'one' application that you need to use to make a LaTeX file. In some installations of LaTeX on Windows or macOS, there may be an included application but you don't have to use that. You could use Visual Studio Code with the LaTeX Workshop extension, vim, or even any text editor like TextEdit on macOS or Notepad on Windows. The only thing you need to do in that case is compile the document yourself in Terminal/Command prompt (if the editor you're using doesn't have that support).
  4. It's platform-agnostic. What is "platform-agnostic"? It means it doesn't care what operating system you have, LaTeX just needs the packages you call inside of it, and the language itself installed on your computer. It even works on Linux (take that, Microsoft Office)!
  5. Got a lot of sections that need to be numbered? LaTeX numbers them for you! Even if you add a section in the middle and need to renumber everything, LaTeX does all of it when it's compiled so you don't even see any section numbers as you're typing the document.
  6. Equations in LaTeX are SO much easier. In LaTeX, this is what the quadratic formula looks like: $x=\frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2 -4ac}}{2a}$. If course, it may be troubling to understand at first while you're writing it, but I can guarantee once you know how to use Math Mode, it will be much faster than making an equation in Microsoft Word's Equation Mode.
  7. BibTeX can cite your references for you! You just have to make sure it has access to your .bib file and you tell it which citation format to use (MLA, APA, IEEE, etc.).

Hey Hussein, Where Can I Learn LaTeX?