LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting, first developed by Leslie Lamport in 1985 and is now being maintained and developed by the LaTeX3 Project. It actually consists of a set of macros written in the TeX typesetting language by Donald E. Knuth (from this you can infer that LaTeX is more convenient but TeX is more powerful).
LaTeX is particularly suited to the production of long articles and books, since it has facilities for the automatic numbering of chapters, sections, theorems, equations etc., and also has facilities for cross-referencing. It takes a computer file, prepared according to the "rules" of TeX, and converts it to a form that may be printed on a high-quality printer, such as a laser writer, to produce a printed document of publication quality.
How LaTeX works?If you do not yet know how LaTeX works, you might want to have a look at a quick introduction to LaTeX.
Getting started with LaTeXIf you already have an LaTeX input file (.tex) and want simply to produce a DVI or Postscript file, please have a look at these instructions on how to process an input file.
If you need to go a little further, you can take a look at this short tutorial.
You may also want to know how to incorporate postscript figures into LaTeX.
DocumentationWith each release of LaTeX a number of guides for users is distributed as part of the distribution.
There are a number of other on-line guides for writing LaTeX documents, written by people not connected with the LaTeX3 project.
The best source for news on TeX and LaTeX is the TeX Users Group.
Getting LaTeXIf you need to know how and where to get LaTeX, please have a look at these instructions.
Getting helpIf you are in trouble and need to get some help, please read these hints on where you might find help.
Silvia Shimakura November 12, 2001