A fairly new and uncommon system, LaTeX as a format confuses many. However, if you’re an author or a PhD student attempting to dabble in the same and are unsure of what’s going on – take a look at some of the more commonly asked questions and get your answers.

 

What on Earth is LaTeX?

Essentially a document preparation system LaTeX is used by the writer who need to use plain text as opposed to the formatted text found in WYSIWYG word processors like Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer and Apple Pages.

 

Who uses this?

For the most part, this software is used by researchers and professionals who are extremely particular about the structure and formatting of their documents. These documents are usually specialized and require great attention to detail.

Apart from this, LaTeX can also be used for documents that use complex multilingual material; and isn’t based on the Latin alphabet, such as the scripts used in Chinese, Sanskrit and Arabic.

 

I don’t understand… how exactly does this work?

When you use LaTeX, especially as an author, you’ll be able to use markup tagging conventions to establish an overall structure for your writing. Based on the kind of document you’re working on, you will also be able to add references, cross references, and citations accurately and efficiently – along with stylizing your text as required.

What’s so special about it?

When you use regular formats, there is only a certain degree to which you can control your formatting and a limited number of options. When you use LaTeX documents however, you have precise control over how you want your writing to look. So you can be as funky or formal as you want!

Can LaTeX documents be proofread?

No matter how fancy it may look, your document will still require proofreading in order to complement the high standard of presentation. The whole point of these documents is to be able to communicate complex ideas accurately while keeping it visually attractive. This means flawless grammar and punctuation, on point spellings and formal language while maintaining readability.

It is important to note that most of the times people assume editing LaTeX files is the same as regular editing, which is a misconception. While keeping the formatting and structure in mind, it becomes difficult to make changes without affecting the whole document. Some editing and proofreading services also take in LaTeX files, convert them to MS Word, edit and then convert it back to be sent to you. In such a scenario, your structure could be affected, therefore it’s always advisable to take a look at that especially before submission.

So yes, your LaTeX based documents can definitely be proofread, by editors specialized in working with this software. It’s a great system to use once you get the hang of it, and can make your work look much better instantly! But in keeping with the professional nature of it, proofreading becomes even more imperative as an error would stand out quite glaringly in a format such as this.

LaTeX, PaperTrue, and Relax.