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LaTeX: A Document Preparation System (2nd Edition) Paperback – July 10, 1994

ISBN-13: 078-5342529838 ISBN-10: 0201529831 Edition: 2nd

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LaTeX: A Document Preparation System (2nd Edition) + The LaTeX Companion (Tools and Techniques for Computer Typesetting) + Guide to LaTeX (4th Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (July 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201529831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201529838
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This authoritative user's guide and reference manual for the LATEX computer typesetting system has been revised to document features now available in the new standard software release - LATEX2e. The new edition features additional styles and functions, improved font handling, and enhanced graphics capabilities. Other parts of the book have been revised to reflect user comments and suggestions. Selected sections have been rewritten to explain challenging concepts or functions, and the descriptions of both MakeIndex and BibTEX have been updated. New LATEX users will want to start with this book, and current users, particularly as they upgrade to the LATEX2e software, will be eager to obtain the most up-to-date version of its associated manual.

Features
  • Revised version of the authoritative user's guide and reference manual for the LATEX computer typesetting system.
  • Features the new standard software release - LATEX2e.
  • Sections rewritten to explain difficult concepts or functions.


0201529831B04062001

About the Author

Leslie Lamport, a computer scientist, is well known for his contributions to concurrent computing and distributed systems. His "Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System" paper has been honored for its enduring influence on the field. Lamport is also known for creating the LaTeX typesetting system and the best-selling book, LaTeX, Second Edition, which documents it (Addison-Wesley, 1994). Now at Microsoft Research in Mountain View, California, he began his work on TLA+ at the Digital (later Compaq) Systems Research Center in Palo Alto. Lamport, who earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Brandeis University, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.



0201529831AB06262002


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Customer Reviews

It seems one book is not enough for LaTeX.
Jaime Silvela
There is one very important missing piece from this book - there aren't any key-by-key instructions.
Fletcher Dunn
If you are going to use LaTeX, you will want a copy of this book.
David B. Thompson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Joseph C. Varilly on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Leslie Lamport's second edition of the Latex manual is helpful, concise, and puts ideas first; it's a great book for the TeX beginner. All essentially topics are covered quickly, in an engaging style.
However, it has two drawbacks. First, the reference section is cryptic and confusing; I recommend keeping the Latex Companion handy for detailed explanations and examples.
Second, too many useful things are left unsaid. For instance, nowhere in this book is it stated that \to is a built-in abbreviation for the clumsy command \rightarrow (the arrow in A -> B); most users waste time making their own abbreviation, such as \ra. But \to is right there in the Latex source, it's simply not documented in this manual. The MakeIndex appendix explains the \index command in detail, but omits to mention the \glossary command (you'll find it in paragraph C.11.5 of the reference section, if you're desperate). The all-important business of add-on "packages", which allow endless customizations of the standard Latex styles, is dealt with in only one or two pages. And so on...
The manual doesn't tell the reader that its style conventions are not obligatory. Thus, curly brackets are pervasive: to type a subscripted list of variables, the book suggests $x_{1},\ldots,x_{n}$. It takes quite a while for the beginner to realize that $x_1,\dots,x_n$ works just as well (and gives the same result). A simple explanation of what is an "input token" would save users a lot of time and trouble.
Final answer? You'll need this book: it's a good book, and it's authorative, correct and concise. But if you need to know more than the basics, make sure you also have the Latex Companion.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Silvela on January 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
LaTeX is a powerful typesetting program, and you need a book to use it (unlike Word). Lamport's book is not a bad choice, but it's not great either. It's well written and has a very good index, but it deals only with the 'defaults', that is, documents written in English following certain (sometimes stupid) formatting conventions.
For instance, if you want to write in, say, Spanish or French, Lamport tells you to type \'{e} to get an accented 'e'. I later discovered through a friend that by adding \usepackage[latin1]{inputenc} in the preamble, you can type accented letters normally. This is only one example. There are many useful things not covered in the book, and I find this annoying. It seems one book is not enough for LaTeX.
Eventually, you'll want to modify some of the formatting conventions in LaTeX, and for that you'll have to 'hack' TeX macros or write them from scratch. Lamport contains only scant advice on this. I was annoyed to find that you can't imitate the book's style (e.g. horizontal rules in the headers) using the commands described in the book. Even LaTeX 'packages' (extensions such as the 'amsmath' style file) are of limited use.
However, I must say that none of the other LaTeX books I've seen is very good. My advice is this: buy Lamport as a tutorial and reference on 'standard' LaTeX, and look for 'extra' information in the net or on your own LaTeX distribution. Even better is to ask an experienced user. As your experience grows, you'll be able to modify the TeX macros in LaTeX's source code to suit your needs.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Fletcher Dunn on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are a LaTeX beginner and need to learn the basics, this is probably the best way to do it. Please disregard the low scores given to this book by other reviewers who were disappinted by the level of detail. (Since I am an author of an introductory book myself, this sort of thoughtless on the part of those reviewers really irritates me. A book isn't a bad book just because you didn't read the book description and you thought it was going to be about something else.) The book has a specific purpose, as an introduction and a reference for the base LaTeX packages. It's only 288 pages (compare to The LaTeX Companion at 1120 pages, or Guide to LaTeX at 624 pages). The reference section it has is a reference for the base LaTeX software, not all of the hundreds of packages that have been written for it since 1994 when the book was published. I give it a five star rating for the purpose it was written.

If you want an exhaustive reference to all the packages, try The LaTeX Companion (or dig around on the internet). If you want an excellent introduction to basic LaTeX, the numerous tutorials on the Internet are *not* as good as this book.

There is one very important missing piece from this book - there aren't any key-by-key instructions. That's because LaTeX is used on so many different systems. So an absolute beginner might be surprised to find this information missing. Luckily, this is exactly the sort of information that is more easily found on the Internet.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
We TeX-heads (with apologies to Knuth that I didn't say TeXnicians) should all bow to Lamport for his LaTeX package, a masterpiece of macro programming and design. That said, while you'll need a copy of this book with its handy tear-out card as a reference, it is not the best way to learn LaTeX. For that you need "LaTeX Line by Line" by Diller. The problem here is that Lamport created the package, but he hasn't organized the material very well to explain it. I remember back when I first encountered LaTeX (circa 1987) and tried to learn it with only the first edition of this book. That was truly an excercise in futility. It's much easier to come up to speed by NOT using Lamport's book as your primer. But go ahead, buy the book. You'll need the command reference and that little fold-out card... .
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