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Friday, September 3, 2010

LaTeX success!

Today, I successfully typeset my first paper using LaTeX and BibTeX.

I know that no-one else cares, but nonetheless, I feel much better about my life.

LaTex, for those of you who don't know, is an open source typesetting program which allows you to create all kinds of text documents through the use of simple scripting commands and output the results in a variety of files (I tend to use PDF).

LaTeX can also be used with the open source software R, to embed the results of analyses neatly in one file, which then creates your paper (I haven't made this work yet, but tomorrow is another day). 

The major advantages (as I see it) are that you can update analyses and the finished paper much more easily, and LaTeX draws all the tables for you (which is good, because R is not good at producing pretty tables).

LaTex was originally invented to produce mathematical documents, so equations et al are very easy to do.

LaTeX is awesome and the future of science and reproducible research.

R is also awesome, but I've talked about that before.

With these tools, I shall be a publication machine! (if i can collect enough useable data).

Another advatange is that the three tools are available on all formats, and so soon (perhaps next month) I shall delete Windows and go completely free software. You should too.


  1. Hi there. I stumbled across your blog while looking into the placebo effect - fascinating stuff - and by way of thanks I thought I'd point you in the direction of LyX, on the off-chance that you haven't come across it. It's the best LaTeX-friendly document processor I've ever used and if you haven't tried it yet you're in for a treat.

  2. That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing! (Now I have another thing in my to-do list...)

  3. Thanks Strayling, I am aware of Lyx. I hear that it can be set up to export in ODF, which I would like. That being said, I don't like the WYSIWYG interface, i prefer seeing the latex code so i can fiddle with it easier.

    I reckon its all a matter of personal taste though.