From the Inside Flap
Four years after the release of LATEX 2E and almost as long since the appearance of the second edition of A Guide to LATEX, the time is ripe to consider a third edition. How has LATEX changed in this interval? What has to be altered in the book?
First of all, LATEX 2E is now well established as the official version of LATEX; for this reason the title of this book reverts to the original form used for the first edition. (The second edition was titled A Guide to LATEX 2E to emphasize that it covered the new LATEX.) Nevertheless, we continue to point out those features that are exclusive to LATEX 2 E and which were not available under version 2.09.
LATEX is upgraded every six months. The first few updates to LATEX 2E saw a number of important changes, but now it has become very stable, at least for standard features at the user level. Improvements and changes occur mostly at deeper levels, or in supporting packages. For example, the number of input encoding tables and graphics drivers has steadily increased. The 256-character DC fonts have now been replaced by their EC equivalents. However, the major change since 1994 is the prevalence of the Internet and World Wide Web; new programs are now available to enable LATEX documents to be 'put online'. These do not reflect changes to LATEX itself but rather to the entire LATEX environment and its applications. This is now dealt with in Section D.4.
A new edition provides an opportunity to reorganize much material, to change emphasis, and to correct mistakes. In this light, we have decided that the importation of graphics files is no longer an extension for advanced users, but a basic part of LATEX application. The usage has become standardized; many problems have been identified and solved. Thus a very detailed explanation of the graphics and color packages is now given in Chapter 6 and the emphasis on the LATEX picture environment has been reduced.
The use of PostScript fonts has also become more relevant, to such an extent that Computer Modern fonts are no longer the hallmark of a LATEX document. Appendix F (TEX Fonts) has been revised to reflect this.
Several example packages in Appendix C (LATEX programming) have been removed, in particular those dealing with language adaptation and author-year citations. These examples contained far too much TEX code to be appropriate as demonstrations, and their usefulness as packages is questionable considering the widespread availability of the babel and natbib packages. As compensation, a new package is offered for redefining the sectioning commands.
It has always been our intention only to describe the standard LATEX features, and not to elaborate on many of the excellent contributed packages available. This is not because we consider them to be inferior; on the contrary, a large number of them are indispensable and should be part of any standard installation. It is simply that we must limit the material in this book somehow, and these packages are dealt with elsewhere, for example in the LATEX Companion (Goosens et al., 1994) and LATEX Graphics Companion (Goosens et al., 1997). We have decided to make two exceptions. Many of the 'tools' packages mentioned in Section D.3.3 are now described in the main text where their application would be most appropriate. Packages like multicol, array, longtable should be used in everyday situations, and are by no means exotic.
The amsmath and amsfonts packages are the other exception. An overview to these important mathematical tools is now provided in Appendix E and tables of the extra AMS symbol fonts are given on pages 5525 54. For mathematical typesetting, these additional commands must also be considered indispensable.
We feel the changes will make this book even more relevant and applicable to the effective production of high-class documents with LATEX. Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly
September 1998 0201398257P04062001
From the Back Cover
If you are a user with little or no experience of computers or text formatting and you want to master LATEX to produce documents of high quality, then this book is essential reading. Fully revised to cover the most up-to-date versions of LATEX this accessible and practical tutorial contains all of the information you will need to get up and running with LATEX, and is an essential reference tool to users at all levels.This book will enable you to:
- Master the basics of LATEX and explore more advanced topics including user-defined extensions
- Get up to speed with the latest LATEX extensions for adaptations to other languages
- Explore numerous practical examples and pick up handy tips for avoiding common problems
- Benefit from detailed appendices including the Command Summary and Summary Tables
- Completely updated to cover the latest releases and upgrades of LATEX
- Covers new features including graphics importation and PostScript font installation
- Section on LATEX and the World Wide Web
- Section on LATEX on Windows & Windows NT
- Section on installations for 32 bit PC
Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly are both scientific staff members at the Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie in Germany.