Professor Norm Matloff
Dept. of Computer Science
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616
matloff@cs.ucdavis.edu
L^{A}T_{E}X is a typesetting system which is very popular with computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists etc. It is especially good for mathematical work, but is also used by many nonscientists. It offers far more flexibility and beauty than you get in something like MS Word.
In fact, Prof. Donald Knuth of Stanford University, who is the developer of T_{E}X the package at the core of L^{A}T_{E}X (the latter being a set of T_{E}X macros), reportedly once came close to convincing Newsweek magazine to use L^{A}T_{E}X (actually, TeX, the foundation of L^{A}T_{E}X ) for its typesetting operations. Wikipedia uses L^{A}T_{E}X for its math typesetting (to see it, go to a math topic in Wikipedia and then ask your browser to display the Page Source).
Another advantage of L^{A}T_{E}X is that you can easily convert your L^{A}T_{E}X documents to slide presentation format, rather than retyping the former material for the latter.
L^{A}T_{E}X is available both in free, public-domain versions, as well as in commercial products, and is available for most platforms (Unix/Linux, Windows, Macs).
L^{A}T_{E}X can be learned very quickly! You can pick up enough knowledge to work at a basic level in literally just 5 minutes. See "5-minute L^{A}T_{E}X tutorial" below.
There are many L^{A}T_{E}X tutorials on the Web. Here are just a few of them:
Books that I like (though I primarily use the Web):
L^{A}T_{E}X can be used to produce slide shows, complete with overlays, animations and so on. One big advantage that it has over Powerpoint is that you can reuse your material in your L^{A}T_{E}X document for use in a presentation. In other words, suppose you've written a report, and now want to make a slide presentation from it. You can simply copy your report's .tex file to a new one, then edit the latter according to what you want to retain for your slides. Why type in the same stuff twice? And again, if you do any math, Powerpoint just isn't very effective.
I have tutorials on my Web page for the two most popular presentation packages for L^{A}T_{E}X today:
Here is a partial list:
If you download an .sty file, see installation instructions here.
ACM and IEEE require a certain format, for which they have made available sets of L^{A}T_{E}X macros.
For ACM, go to http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/LaTeX/FTP/ to see an actual example (a paper of mine) in which you can see how the macros are used. You'll need to copy all of the files in that directory.
Similarly, for an IEEE example, go to http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/LaTeX/SimSym/.