TeX/LaTeX Information

This page is no longer maintained!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 for linguists.

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

2. Documentation

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

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).

Introductory/General Documentation

Online help

Esoteric Documentation (General)

Have questions?

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.

3. Finding Software, Styles, and Other Resources

This page is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of LaTeX resources; it's not hard to find other pages that try.

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

4. Information for Linguists

Essential packages

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!

  1. 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).

  2. Some more flexibility: Use the harvard package, which allows for a variety of styles.

  3. 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.

 The 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.

Linguistics-specific links

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