LaTeX Beginner’s Guide published

A new guide for LaTeX beginners has just been published by Packt Publishing. Written by Stefan Kottwitz (of TeXblog fame), it’s a very hands-on  approach to teaching LaTeX. The book is filled with examples, and makes use of modern packages, editors and so on. Stefan has put a summary of the contents on his blog.

I saw the book before publication, so had an opportunity to make some suggestions. In general, Stefan’s done a great job and it is a very readable and accessible guide The style is very much meant to be like a conversation with a knowledgeable friend, and I think this works really well.

However, there is a problem. The examples of LaTeX output in the book are poor: they’ve come out as low-resolution JPEGs. This really detracts from the a key point of using LaTeX in the first place: good-looking output. That’s a shame, as if you picked up the book not knowing much about LaTeX you’d take one look at the output and think it was awful.

Overall, I can recommend the content book for helping new users, but with the warning ‘the real output from LaTeX looks much better than in the book’. So one to use as a complement to other texts, rather than alone.

6 thoughts on “LaTeX Beginner’s Guide published

  1. The publisher could not be convinced to use PDF files, he required PNG instead. Nevertheless, I provided all images in PDF format. Though the editors were just satisfied with PNG.

    Now I can refer to your review when I speak with the publisher again. 😉

    Btw. examples can be found here: Chapter 5 Examples. That web page contains such PNG images for preview, and you will get the high quality PDF output if you click on the image.

  2. Thanks for the info, Stefan. I’m helping to run a LaTeX course next week, and I’ll be taking the book along. The structure of the book is pretty similar to the course approach, so it will be a good fit.

  3. Thanks for the info. I’ve checked out the book and was surprised to find out that it was typeset in InDesign, not in LaTeX. Thus, the final product isn’t as nice as one would wish for.

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