LaTeX – The Ulyssis Workshop (part 1)

Because I wanted to try a different approach to learning LaTeX, I went to a workshop organised by Ulyssis, a group of KU Leuven students offering workshops to other students. They explained the basics of LaTeX in about two hours, creating a template for a paper in the first hour and explaining BibTex in the second hour of the workshop. During the workshop they helped install an easy LaTeX editor and a team of students was at hand all the time to answer individual questions. So in this blogpost, I would like to share my newly acquired knowledge!

The structure of a LaTeX document always has the same basic elements, opening the document with the preambula, containing all metadata (the hidden specifics of the document itself). First, we specified the \documentclass adding the size of our font [11pt] and the type of document, namely {article}. If we need to import packages to do the fancy stuff dreams are made of, we need to \usepackage{awesomeness} to add some more functionalities and funky features -for your information, there is no package awesomeness for all I know, but please feel free to make one. Of course you can add the \title{Anything you like}, as well as the \author{me!} and the \date{\today} or any other day you like. No one needs to know you started your paper the day of the deadline.

Alright, we have our metadata, now we can \begin{document} by \maketitle and starting a \newpage for your magical automatically created \tableofcontents on a \newpage. Most papers contain an \abstract, but since LaTeX needs some help understanding what you want exactly, you should still \begin{abstract} and after writing your brilliant summary of everything you are about to write, you need to \end{abstract} for LaTeX to know you are done.

Now you need to start providing your table of contents some content. In an article you can divide your text into \part{one, two, three} and add \section{one, two, three} which can exist of \subsection{one, two, three}. You can add \paragraph{With a lot of witty, smart, funny, intelligent text} and even \textbf{bold text} and \textit{italics}. Furthermore you can also create different types of lists, starting with a bullet list by \begin{itemize} containing several \item items untill you decide to \end{itemize}. Sometimes you need to specify the order of your list \begin{enumerate} again containing \item one and ending your \end{enumerate}. Finally, if you want to provide descriptions to your awesome concepts, you \begin{description} adding \item[awesome concept] with your clear explination before adding another \item[greatness] adding your own brilliant definition and bringing an \end{description} to your awesomeness.

Before you go, don’t forget to \end{document} and feel like a professional programmer while you let LaTeX do the work (press run!), typesetting the best paper you ever wrote. Catch up next time for some more on tables and figures sprucing up your text!

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