Using LaTeX For The First Time

LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. Unlike Word Processors, LaTeX allows you to focus on the content while formatting in a “language” similar to XML. Once the document is complete you compile it similar to many programming languages.

While most linux distros bundle a version of LaTeX, Mac and Windows users will have to download and install the software that will compile the document.

Mac: MacTeX

Windows: proTeXt

After you install the needed software you can take one of two routes. You can either learn the language from scratch using guides or use templates to get a head start.

In our case we are going to use templates located at to create a resume.

On the site above there are many templates to choose from. No matter which one you choose you will need to download the res.cls file to the same directory as your .tex file. res.cls is a class file needed for formatting resumes.

When you choose and download a .tex file you can edit it in any text editor. Such as Notepad++, emacs, or vim. (not Microsoft Word)

Once you finish editing your files you can open the terminal and use the command

$ pdflatex yourfile.tex

A pdf will be created with the same name as your .tex file in that directory.

This is just one of the many uses for LaTeX.