Using latex to write reports

A useful text formatting program, called LATEX, is available for writing detailed reports containing equations, graphs, images, tables, as well as text. There are numerous books available on LATEX, for example the one by Leslie Lamport, and many internet sites which will help format your report. There are many advantages to LATEX.

- Equations can be written directly into the body of the text in a simple manner.
- Equation numbering  can be automatically set up so that the author does not need to remember the equation numbers.
- Figures and images are automatically numbered and figure numbers need not be remembered by the author.
- Tables can be readily included and automatically numbered.
- References to the bibliography entries are easy to include.
- Almost all the journal articles in the physics literature and physics books are written using LATEX.
- Several document formats are available, such as reports, articles, books. This is very useful when writing a thesis since chapter headings and section headings can be numbered properly. LATEX generates a table of contents.

An example of a report containing all the above features is here.

This example uses the png format for images. The entire report will be converted into pdf format using the command

pdflatex simulations.tex

If there are no errors a file called simulations.pdf is created.

Latex also uses other image formats, such as ps, eps, etc. In that case a typical sequence of commands  to convert a file called file.tex is

latex file.tex
dvipdf file.dvi file.pdf

In the first step the file.tex is converted into a file called file.dvi.
In the second step file.dvi is converted into file.pdf

LATEX can run on linux, MAC, or unix operating systems. You should check to see if it can be installed on Microsoft's operating systems if this is your only choice.

I can help you with some initial setups but this is a learning experience for you. I won't be able to help with extensive debugging of your files.

K. Aniol