This page is no longer maintained! The information is (mostly) still correct
as far as it goes, but there are new versions and new editions of
everything, and most importantly, there is no discussion here
of XeTeX and other new developments and macros that are important
This document tries to provide some information useful to linguists using
LaTeX at the University of Pennsylvania. Much of it is applicable to other
circumstances as well, of course! The following information is divided into general
LaTeX documentation and resources, and linguist-specific information,
documentation and resources.
1. Getting started
Take a look at these Quick-Start Directions
if you've never used LaTeX before, and plan to use it on a unix machine.
Especially useful if you will be using it on babel, unagi, or linc.
If you want to install latex on your own computer, chances are you'll have to
install it yourself. The good news is that TeX/LaTeX is easy to install, it is
available on any hardware and OS in common use today, and is free and easy to
obtain. Dig around on the internet, or take a look at my
short note on
Buying a book
My recommendation: If you're thinking of buying a LaTeX book, don't buy
Leslie Lamport's book!! (It's called LaTeX: A Document Preparation
System. User's Guide and Reference Manual). Yes, he's the author of LaTeX,
but the book is sadly incomplete and disorganized. Buy
- A Guide to Latex2e:
Document Preparation for Beginners & Advanced Users, by H. Kopka
and P. Daly (now in its 4th edition), or perhaps
- The LaTeX Companion by
Goossens, Mittelbach, and Samarin. (This one's a bit more technical).
If you're not ready to invest in a book (oh, but they're worth it!), check
out the following on-line documentation (especially The Not
So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e), available in PDF, DVI and PostScript
format. (If you're on an X terminal, Netscape on babel knows how to display all
of them, in a separate window). Sorry, no HTML. . .
Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX 2e [PDF] [DVI]
A good first introduction and a nice reference resource. If you're
just getting started, it will take you a while to outgrow it. By Tobias
Oetiker and a bunch of other folks. Last time I checked it had grown to 131
long, so think before you print!
If you look on the web you might find an HTML version too, but the automatic
conversion is pretty rough. Browsing the DVI or PDF documents isn't too bad.
[HTML] [DVI] [PostScript]
The definitive guide to BibTeX, the amazing LaTeX bibliography support
system. It’s more of a reference than an introduction, so be patient. By the time you’ve read to the
end, you’ll be ready to understand what it’s been trying to say
at the beginning. By Oren Patashnik,
one of the original developers of BibTeX. 16pp.
to Including Graphics [PostScript] [PDF]
Read this document if you need to include external graphics files. It will
tell you all you need to know.
By D.P. Carlisle.
Esoteric Documentation (General)
for Class and Package Writers [HTML]
Should you have occasion to write a style file, this will tell you about
all the nifty features you can use to wrap it.
BibTeX Styles [HTML] [PostScript]
Making even trivial modifications to a BibTeX style is no small task. This
document will get you started. It’s by Oren Patashnik, who wrote most of
the original BibTeX styles, so he ought to know. Then you'll need to spend some time studying an existing
style, and puzzle out the games it plays with the output routines--but
that's another story. . . 10pp.
- LaTeX 2e for Authors
[HTML] [DVI] [PostScript]
For authors of LaTeX style packages, that is. It is supposed to be of
general interest, but you won't be interested unless you're writing your
own LaTeX style, and maybe not even then. 27pp.
You should start with this documentation, followed by your friends
and neighbors, of course. There are also numerous newsgroups, email lists and even organized User Groups that deal with TeX and LaTeX.
- Of particular interest is the Ling-TeX list, an
email list for linguists who use (La)TeX. The list tends to be very
low volume (no traffic for a while, then a query and a bunch of
discussion), so it's a good one to be on. Be warned that the members are
mostly linguists, not TeX hackers, so you're not always guaranteed expert
advice-but if your problem is typical of linguistics work, chances are
it's been solved before. To subscribe, send email to email@example.com.
(You can then post to the list by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Finding Software, Styles, and Other Resources
This page is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of LaTeX
resources; there are other places out there that try. To help you get started,
here is a page of
There is an enormous amount of LaTeX software out there, most of it freely
available. If you're looking for a TeX or LaTeX package, style, font, etc, you'll
probably need to look no further than
- The Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN),
the authoritative depository of TeX/LaTeX software, styles, etc. It is
accessible through many “mirror” sites (the above link will let you select
one). The availability of many a package is given simply as “available on
CTAN”; you can search for particular packages or browse for what you need.
4. Information for Linguists
What does it take to write linguistics using LaTeX? That depends on your
topic, of course, but here are some suggestions for add-ons to plain LaTeX that
could meet your needs. They may take some setting up, but the good news is that
in terms of capabilities and convenience, each of the following packages has
Word beat by a long shot.
Note that there are zillions of other packages out there that do the same
jobs; these are just suggestions. (See below for links to some lists of
linguistics-related packages). All packages mentioned are available on CTAN (see above), unless otherwise stated.
Don't neglect to download the documentation!
- Numbered example
sentences, linguistics-style: I recommend gb4e.sty(widely
used, but rather verbose in the commands you need to type), or linguex.sty
(created “for the lazy linguist”; unfortunately some of its optimizations
create problems for other LaTeX features and packages).
- Sentences with word-to-word “glosses” lined up below
them: All the good packages that do this are minor modifications of M. van
Goot's “Midnight” gloss macros. Try cgloss4e.sty, which is distributed
with the gb4e.sty
macros (but can be used on its own). I think a version is also included with linguex.sty.
- Linguistics-style bibliography and in-text
citations: (If you don't know about how bibliographies work with LaTeX,
read the documentation on “BibTeXing” above).
The default LaTeX styles refer to cited articles by a number, not author
name and year, so an additional package is needed to remedy things. You must
understand that you will need two additional files: a .bst file that
tells BibTeX how to format your references, and an associated .sty file
which tells LaTeX how to handle the formatted references generated by BibTeX
(e.g., how to construct name-year citations). Here are three options, depending
on your needs:
Quick results: Download linquiry2.bst
(not on CTAN; generated with custom-bib, see below), which will
give you an LI-style bibliography, and natbib.sty
(available on CTAN) for citations in the
form Name (year).
Some more flexibility: Use the harvard
package, which allows for a variety of styles.
Customizability: If you are trying to match a
particular style (e.g., for a proceedings paper), your best bet is to generate
a customized bibliographic style with the excellent custom-bib
package. You'll need to use it with a citation style file; I recommend natbib.sty.
- Including diagrams and pictures:
Convert your picture to PostScript or use the xfig program on
unix to create one. It lets you save your drawings in PostScript format, or
even in native LaTeX picture format (But save your xfig file in case
you need to modify it later). Then see the Guide to Including Graphics
to find out how to include your picture. (The only thing xfig lacks is
a freehand drawing mode, unfortunately...)
- Dissertation style: If you’re writing a
dissertation at U. Penn, you can use my dissertation
style class, upenndiss.cls.
It’s not the only one floating around (don’t confuse it with
penndiss.sty), but I wrote it because I was not quite satisfied with any of the
alternatives, so it’s hopefully better, simpler, and more flexible. It comes with a sample
document, SampleDiss.tex, that you can just customize.
following packages are already installed on babel and the CIS machines;
if you only need to use them there, just check out the documentation links
below. In case you need to set something up on another machine, we also provide
links to downloading locations.
Getting Started With LaTeX | TeX/LaTeX
on your PC | Linguistics Home Page