Jamie Monogan

Using LaTeX

Here are the notes for my LaTeX short course.

Installing LaTeX

  • There are several ways to install a workable LaTeX build. Below are what I consider the easiest means of doing this in Windows and Mac, respectively.
  • Windows machines: Download the latest implementation of MiKTeX at http://www.MiKTeX.org. Installing "Basic MiKTeX" is perfectly suitable for getting started, as some of the other downloads are are particularly time-consuming. After installation, you can open a program named TeXworks, which serves as the front end for your LaTeX build.
  • Mac machines: Download the latest implementation of MacTeX at https://tug.org/mactex/. Running the file MacTeX.pkg will install your LaTeX build. After installation, you can open a program named TeXShop, which serves as the front end for your LaTeX build.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Setting-Up an Automatic Bibliography

  • Feel free to download my master bibliography for your own uses. My own file is, in turn, based on Jim Stimson's bibliography file. At present, this file contains 1859 bibliography entries.
    • On my old PC, I placed this file under the following path directory: C:\Program Files\texmf\bibtex\bib\my_bibs\master.bib. I believe the "texmf" folder is now named "MikTeX."
    • On my Mac, I placed this file under the following path directory: /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/bibtex/bib/local/master.bib.
    • Note to Mac users: Whenever you save a file in a LaTeX source directory like this, you will want to open a Terminal and type two commands. "sudo texhash" followed by "sudo updmap-sys" remembering that the first call will prompt you for your password.
  • APSR style bibliographies will require the file apsr.bst. If you use the harvard package (instead of natbib) you will also need the file BIB.STY.
    • On my old PC, I placed these files under the following path directory: C:\Program Files\texmf\tex\latex\my_styles\. Again, the "texmf" folder has been renamed in more recent installations.
    • On my Mac, I placed these files under the following path directory: /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/tex/latex/local/.
  • An alternative to harvard is natbib, which automatically downloads on the fly if it is not installed. More information about natbib is available at this link.
  • To see how the file syntax works for harvard and natbib, consult this document for two simple examples, first of using the Chicago format with natbib, then of using the APSR format with harvard. Most LaTeX builds contain the Chicago style sheet (or download it on the fly), but I also have posted it here.
  • Google Scholar will generate BibTeX-ready references based on your searches. Under "Settings" simply choose "Show links to import citations into (BibTeX)" and save these preferences. Every article resulting from a search will now show a link stating "Import into BibTeX" that will offer BibTeX code that you can copy-and-paste. Just be sure to check that all fields are correctly filled-out and all necessary information is there--the code is not always perfect.

Creating Scientific Slideshows

  • The beamer class is a great way to make scientific slideshows in LaTeX. The beamer webpage is located at this link.
  • Here is some some example beamer code I wrote to create these slides that introduce R and LaTeX.
  • To convert PowerPoint slides to beamer in Windows, download the "RTFBeamer" program by Jim Stimson. If you would like to make revisions to the C++ code, please send them to me or Jim Stimson, so we can revise the public version.

Creating a Poster in LaTeX

  • Consult my article with Mark D. Ramirez in The Political Methodologist.
  • To follow my instructions for creating a poster in the scrartcl document class, you will need the style file scrpos.sty. In Windows, I placed this under the path C:\Program Files\texmf\tex\latex\my_styles\, and in Mac I placed it under the path /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/tex/latex/local/.
  • As an example, I was able to create this file with the following code by including the aforementioned style file in the directory and the UNC seal in the same folder as the TeX file.