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More Math into LaTeX

George Grätzer
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
xxx + 609
[Reviewed by
Allen Stenger
, on

This is one of my two go-to books for LaTeX, the other being Kopka & Daly’s Guide To LaTeX (4th ed., Addison-Wesley, 2004). The present book is organized as a reference (including a thorough index), although it does start out with a 30-page tutorial for those with no previous knowledge. The first third of the book contains the “local” knowledge (how to typeset particular expressions), and contains most of the things you would need to know day-by-day. This includes a large number of tips and discussions of fine points of typesetting that you should be aware of, even if they won’t be used frequently. The next third deals with “global” issues such as document and book structure and some production issues; these are things you would not need every day and many authors would not need at all. The last third is a diverse collection of appendices and tables.

The book omits or is skimpy on a number of topics that some authors need. For example, it has a short chapter on creating figures (illustrations) using TikZ, very little coverage of packages, and no discussion of the original TeX commands. Appendix H summarizes what was left out, and refers to several more advanced books where these topics are presented in detail.

This 5th edition is not drastically different from the 2007 4th edition. LaTeX continues to evolve (someday LaTeX 3 will come out), and the book has been revised to cover the latest features. It has an added Chapter 2 that covers some miscellaneous background and advice that doesn’t fit into the narrative. The publisher provides for free download a set of about 40 sample documents, both in LaTeX and PDF format, along with some reference tables.

The same author’s earlier work Practical LaTeX (which appeared in 2014, beween the 4th and 5th editions of the present work) is a stripped-down version of the present work, that omits the more obscure portions and includes only the parts that you really do need every day. The parts that remain appear to be almost identical to what is in the present work, and it has the same beginning tutorial.

Kopka & Daly’s book is still valuable, despite its age, although it doesn’t cover the latest packages (and in particular does not cover Beamer for presentations). Looking up things about LaTeX is often difficult, especially if you don’t know the name of the command (this is also true for web searches), and sometimes it’s easier to find things in one book than the other. In addition to these two books, the most valuable resource for my use of LaTeX is the Detexify web page. You use the mouse to draw the symbol you want to use, and it guesses which LaTeX symbol that is.

Allen Stenger is a math hobbyist and retired software developer. He is an editor of the Missouri Journal of Mathematical Sciences. His mathematical interests are number theory and classical analysis.