# Introduction to LaTeX

LaTeX is not a word processor! Instead, LaTeX encourages authors not to worry too much about the appearance of their documents, but to concentrate on getting the right content. For example, consider this document:

To produce this in most typesetting or word-processing systems, the author would have to decide what layout to use, so would select (say) 18pt Times Roman for the title, 12pt Times Roman for the name, and so on.

LaTeX is based on the idea that it is better to leave document design to document designers, and to let authors get on with writing documents. So in LaTeX, you would input this document as:

\documentclass{article}
\title{Producing ordinary text using \LaTeX}
\author{David R. Wilkins}
\date{November 2001}
\begin{document}
\maketitle

If one merely wishes to type in ordinary text, without
complicated mathematical formulae or special effects such
as font changes, then one merely has to type it in as it
is, leaving a completely blank line between successive
paragraphs.

You do not have to worry about paragraph indentation:
all paragraphs will be indented with the exception of
the first paragraph of a new section.

One must take care to distinguish between the left quote'
and the right quote' on the computer terminal.  Also, one
should use either two single quote' characters in succession
if one requires double quotes'' or the double quote'
character on the computer keyboard. One also has to take
care with dashes: a single dash is used for hyphenation,
whereas three dashes in succession are required to produce
a dash of the sort used for punctuation---such as the one
used in this sentence.

\end{document}
Or, in English:
This document is an article.
Its title is Producing ordinary text using LaTeX.
Its author is David R. Wilkins.
It was written in November 2001.
The document consists of a heading followed by a simple text.
LaTeX contains features for:
Typesetting journal articles, technical reports, books, and slide presentations.
Control over large documents containing sectioning, cross-references, tables and figures.
Typesetting of complex mathematical formulae.
Automatic generation of bibliographies and indexes.
Multi-lingual typesetting.
Using PostScript or Metafont fonts.

Some parts extracted from http://www.latex-project.org
November 12, 2001