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First, check the Tex FAQ for possible answers Then, there is the catalogue that show most useful packages:


  • If you run some flavor of Linux, the latex package should already be included. Do a search through whatever the package management software (e.g., synaptic on Ubuntu).
  • On Windows, you can get MiKTex and WinEdt.
  • On Mac, you can get TexShop
  • For a nice cross-platform editor, I would go for Eclipse, along with this much improved Latex plugin Texlipse


  • Use fancyhdr for adding header and footer information.

  • change figure placement behavior


Customize item label
   \item ...

And now the itemized list will be label with A-1, A-2, A-3 ...etc.

Common packages (using Times as default)
\usepackage[body={6.5in, 9.0in},left=1.0in, nohead]{geometry}
Put watermark text such as draft

you can use draftwatermark, which works well with pdflatex, while the traditional way of using draftcopy does not.


The second line here is to scale down the draft size in half. I think the default size is a bit intrusive on the viewing.

Strike through text
 \sout{will do my best}
Include verbatim text



Doing word count
 detex [filename] | wc -w

Emacs and Latex

This section describes some tips and tricks for using Emacs with Latex. First, AucTeX is a nice package to have. With Ubuntu, it is available from universe; With Mac OS, you can get it here.

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    • generate preview at the point: C-c C-p C-p