LaTeX for researchers: an introduction
Duration 0.5 days
Training Units 1.0
Team Researcher Academy

This course is delivered by the Researcher Academy

Researcher Academy courses are very popular and the majority are run in both semesters to give you the opportunity to attend at a time of the year that suits you. Semester 1 courses will be available for booking from the second week of October and Semester 2 courses from the second week of February.

Target Audience: Early stage postgraduate research students and early career researchers.

This course is targeted at any researchers who are using, or think they may benefit from using LaTeX for academic writing. It introduces novices to the basics of LaTeX and assumes no prior knowledge of the software.

LaTeX is a system for computer typesetting: placing text, graphics, equations etc on a page, whether that page is printed on paper or displayed on the screen. It provides solutions to many of the formatting issues created when working with long and complex documents in word and is widely used as the industry standard for technical writing.


To take this course you should have a good basic working knowledge of using PCs. Specifically, you should already know and understand the following very thoroughly:

·        how to use a plain-text editor (e.g Notepad or JOE)

·        how to create, open, save, close, rename, move, and delete files and folders (directories)

·        how to use a Web browser and/or File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program to download and save files from the Internet

A current username and password for the University of Nottingham computer network are necessary. 


A half-day course consisting of presentations and 'hands-on' practical sessions.


During this course you will be introduced to the potential reasons for using LaTex, it’s key functions and how to use them.

What is LaTeX and why use it?

There are some issues when working with long or complex documents in Word. For example have you noticed any of the following?

·        Inserted figures move within your document in unexpected ways

·        Creating equations is limited by the Equation Editor. Before Word 2007 it did not follow the conventions used with other systems (TeX is the de facto standard)

·        Adding numbers to figures, tables and equations can appear illogical (as it depends on the position of the anchor rather than the object)

·        Numbering figures produced with ChemDraw can be difficult, renumbering is even more difficult (There is an article in the Toeholds blog “Writing Chemistry with LaTeX 3/3” that discusses these issues)

·        Blank lines may be numbered automatically

·        Reformatting a document for different uses can be time consuming

Using LaTeX allows you to either resolve these issues or ignore them by providing information about the structure of document. In the course you learn how to do this by including specific instructions in your text file. LaTeX takes your text file, processes it and generates the final version taking care of the appearance of your document.

In the course we give the following reasons why many academic writers use LaTeX:

·        Allows you to think about the content of your document separately from formatting

·        Excellent for typesetting equations/formulae

·        Many automated features – eg. figure placement, section numbering, citation management, tables of contents, lists of figures and many, many more

·        Much better at handling large documents than many alternatives

·        Used widely in academic world

·        Required for some conference or journal submissions

Related Courses

A follow-on course is also available (Further LaTeX for researchers: developing your skills in LaTeX) for those who have attended this course and want to know more, or those with equivalent experience who wish to develop this further.


This course aims to introduce complete novices to using LaTeX for document preparation.


By the end of the session you will be able to:

·        identify sources of support and documentation for LaTeX and LaTeX editors
·        understand the document structure of LaTeX documents
·        understand the format and scope of commands, environments and packages
·        format sections and subsections
·        include labels to facilitate cross referencing
·        add automated title page, table of contents, lists of figures and lists of tables etc
·        create bulleted and numbered lists
·        create mathematical formulae and equations
·        insert special characters
·        insert figures and tables with captions


Booking Conditions

Latecomer policy

Researchers should plan to arrive prior to the advertised course start time. Except for exceptional reasons, there will be no admittance to a Researcher Academy or Faculty Training Programme (FTP) course 15 minutes after the advertised course start time.

Importance of booking commitment

When booking on to a Researcher Academy short course you are entering into a commitment to attend. If you find that you are no longer available to attend you MUST cancel your place (on the system if more than three days before the course) or if at short notice by emailing This will ensure that your place can be offered to another researcher on the waiting list. Failure to cancel a place results in other researchers missing out on places through the waiting list process.

It is unacceptable for researchers to just not attend when booked onto a course. Researcher Academy maintains records of those who repeatedly do not attend courses they have booked. This may affect future eligibility to book onto further Researcher Academy courses and will affect considerations for Researcher Academy funded opportunities.

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