The LaTeX Page

Welcome to the (La)TeX page! Here you will find information about the TeX setup at the Computer Science Department at Brown University, available commands and how to use them, (La)TeX primers and package documentation, and pointers to other useful TeX-related sites on the Web.

Warning: These pages contain no (La)TeX source or distribution packages, only documentation. If you are running (La)TeX on non-departmental machines note that some of the information may not be applicable to your installation.

Our TeX Setup

The currently installed version of TeX is 3.14159 as provided by the Web2C-7.4.5 distribution. The supported version of LaTeX is the 2001 version of LaTeX2e (LaTeX2e is the recommended version of LaTeX, and the older version LaTeX 2.09 is obsolete). Public files are organized in a tree structure that obeys the TDS standard. Our TDS tree is rooted at /usr/share/texmf.

If you have LaTeX input files of your own, you should define the TEXINPUTS environment variable in your startups. This variable contains a colon-separated list of directories with inputs for latex2e. You do not need to include the system directories on this list, just your own directories (the initial colon provides that the system directories are included). In csh you would need something like this:

setenv TEXINPUTS :.:<your latex2e directory 1>:<your latex2e directory 2>...

Collaborative LaTex Editing

The department is working with the library to pilot a test of ShareLaTex (, an online, collaborative LaTex editor. If you are interested in having access to the system, please email and provide your email address.

TeX-related Commands

Local FAQ

Questions that we find ourselves answering often are here.


The canonical documentation for (La)TeX may be found in these books:

The TeXbook, by Donald Knuth
The original book describing the guts of the system, written by the guy who wrote TeX in the first place.
LaTeX: A Document Preparation System, by Leslie Lamport, Addison-Wesley, 2nd ed, 1994.
Leslie Lamport originally wrote LaTeX; this book is the book to buy to learn LaTeX. The second edition documents LaTeX2e.
The LaTeX Companion, by Goossens, Mittelbach and Samarin, Addison-Wesley, 1994.
Written by members of the LaTeX3 project, it describes further how to use LaTeX2e and documents additional classes/packages.
A Guide to LaTeX, by Kopka and Daly, Addison-Wesley, 1999.
This book is a more recent one and offers considerably more information than the earlier books.

Useful on-line primers include:

The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e
A longer (87 pages) more in-depth introduction to LaTeX2e. Also a good starting point.
LaTeX Command Reference Manual
Describes all LaTeX2e commands. Don't expect to learn LaTeX from this.
Symbols in LaTeX
A six page list of available mathematical symbols.
A LaTeX Surivical Guide for Unix Systems
This document describes how to run LaTeX and utilities on a Unix system.
Including Graphics in LaTeX2e Documents
Everything you ever wanted to know about using Postscript graphics in LaTeX documents.
Packages in the graphics bundle
This provides a documentation on the recommended LaTeX2e graphics package, which includes information on how to use colours in the output.
HTML documentation of many LaTeX topics at NASA.


Other TeX-related Resources on the Web

Credit where it's due: These pages were originally created and maintained by Dimitris Michailidis and Manos Renieris.