- Paperback: 616 pages
- Publisher: Birkhäuser; 3 edition (June 22, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0817641319
- ISBN-13: 978-0817641313
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Math Into LaTeX 3rd Edition
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"To sum up, Grätzer book can be recommended both as a very good introductory text for beginners as well as a handy up-to-date LaTeX reference for experienced users."
―Mathematical Reviews (Review of a previous edition)
"Writing a sufficiently long math text (lecture notes, monographs) by a non-expert TeX writer wanting to produce a text of good typographical quality requires the use of a well-documented package. Grätzer’s book is a solution."
―EMS Newsletter (Review of a previous edition)
"This book is truly unique in its focus on getting started fast yet keeping it simple. It is indispensable for the beginner and a handy reference for the experienced user."
―Bulletin of the Mathematical Association of India (Review of a previous edition)
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The first section, titled A Short Course, is a simple 63-page guide, walking one through the creation of a LaTeX file, from a 22-line simple note, to adding individual math terms, to producing large formulas, to dealing with the inevitable error messages, even through running the LaTeX program. However, it's not really explained how to deal with the dvi file that comes out of the program -- a vague description that a video driver is used to view a dvi file is given in this short course, but the real information is to be found scattered throughout the book. This is a failing shared with =many= TeX and LaTeX books; one gets in lots of trouble for all that is =not= written down.
A quick overview of the remaining sections: in Text and Math one finds the meat of the book -- how to organize text regions, whether in paragraphs or lists; dealing with fonts; how to organize formulas and symbols; how to align equations and their different parts. I use this section as a reference almost constantly in typing up math articles. Section III, Document Structure, does a quick look at the overall skeleton of a LaTeX document, and in particular looks at AMS articles. Customization covers some of the more used customizing options, like changing spacing and counters of list items. The Long Documents section looks at three things: making bibliographies, making indexes, and pulling separate files together for one large document (like books). The last section, Math and the Web, talks about various conversions one can use to put up a version of LaTeX documents on the Internet, and how to deal with some PDF issues, but it's rather a spare section. The appendices, of course, have the standard charts for math symbols and European Accents, lists of fonts, and dealing with conversions. Check out the Bibliography - if you get a hold of some of the other LaTeX tomes, you will see that it's hard to find a better one than this one (though that doesn't mean a better one can't be written).
That said, this has turned out to be one of the most useful LaTeX books I have ever used (the absolutely most useful was a very short book printed by SIAM, and is for people who don't need help with the bare bones). I own three LaTeX books right now (this one, The Latex Companion, and The Latex Graphics Companion). Of the three, this one is the most useful in my day-to-day writing of mathematics in LaTeX. The problem with the Companion books is that they are useful for the esoteric topics they cover, which would be hard to figure out on one's own, but they really don't address nuts & bolts issues like Math Into LaTeX does. If you can only have one LaTeX book, you should get this one; if you have three LaTex books, you should still get it, for there are few other LaTeX books which make things so understandable and covers so many useful topics.
The first objective of the book is to get a complete novice started in the shortest amount of time. This is done in Part 1, which contains all one needs to typeset a simple mathematical text. Part 2 gives a very detailed description of typesetting text and mathematics, pointing out the differences between LaTeX-derived commands and AMS-TeX codes. This is done very carefully and clearly. The structure of all sections is basically the same: overview of the contents, definitions of the commands covered, their scope, examples, typical errors (together with error commands generated by LaTeX when something goes wrong), more advanced topics. This part covers pretty much any scenario you are likely to encounter typesetting a mathematical document.
Part 3 goes into details of LaTeX document structure, including a synopsis of various document classes and how best to use them. Part 4 explains how to customize LaTeX, Part 5 treats long documents and BiBTeX, the bibliographic database. Final part, Part 6, treats LaTeX and the Web, mainly by poiting out various Web sites that can help you if you are serious about posting your work on the Web.
The book is very good at what it sets out to explain. There are, however, certain topics the author decided to leave out. There is no description of the picture environment, which although not exactly user friedly, is useful from time to time. The slide environment for producing transparencies is not described either, and I think this could have been included without too much trouble. To me this is a slightly more serious drawback than the first omission.
I give the book five stars for the following reason. This is a book that teaches you how to produce beautiful scientific manuscripts rather than how to rewrite LaTeX. The book itself is a very nice looking document, and so serves as a very good example of what is possible to achieve with LaTeX, if you follow the author's advice.