I'll give you a quick example of a latex file that will explain the basic ideas of latex. (If you already know amstex, latex will be easy.)

Create a file called dad.tex containing the following lines.

\pagestyle{empty}      %this line makes NO PAGE NUMBERS
\noindent Dear Dad,


I am happy to report that I have become one hell of an
excellent teacher since starting graduate school at Purdue
in math, as evidenced by the following little quiz that I
gave my recitation section this morning.



\item Compute $\int_0^1 e^{-x^2}\,dx$
\item Compute $\int_0^1 \sin x^2\,dx$
\item Compute $\sum_{n=1}^\infty \frac{1}{n\ln n}\,dx$
\item Prove that the set of numbers satisfying a polynomial
equation with integer coefficients is a countable dense subset
of the real line.  Is $\sqrt{e\pi}$ in this set?


After class, I heard one of my students exclaim

\emph{Voil\`a le commencement de la fin.}


Imagine that!




sutdent number 999-31-0000

After you have created this file exactly as shown, you can type

latex dad
to "LaTeX" the file. This command will create a file called dad.dvi and you can take a look at it by typing

xdvi dad &

in an xterm. (You cannot do this from a telnet session. If you try it from a telnet window, you will get "Unable to open display" and you can push RETURN to get a prompt back.)

Here is a list of handy one keystroke commands that you will want to use in xdvi instead of trying to mess around with the scroll bars.

u     Moves the page UP
d     Moves the page DOWN
n     Moves to the NEXT page
p     Moves to the PREVIOUS page
q     QUITS xdvi and makes the window go away
x     (for EXPERT) makes the buttons on the right
      side of the xdvi window go away and come back
8g    Moves to page 8
1g    Moves to page 1, etc.

If you like what you see, you can print it on the printer lpub6 by typing

dvips -Plpub6 dad

Note: Here are some printers and their locations:

Printers:       lpub    Computer room, Rm 839
                lpub7   Room 741
                lpub6   Room 635

If your xterm is on, you can print to the printer in LAEB B-286 by typing this:

dvips -f dad | lpr

Here as an example of a MATH 262 Final Exam in latex. Take a look at it and then study the latex source file at,


(You can download this latex source file by starting Netscape in a math xterm and then going to this URL and SHIFT-left mouse clicking on the link above. Then you can modify the file to fit your own needs.)

Here is the latex source file for a paper of mine paper.tex in AMS-LaTeX.

Here as an example of a TA Office Hour table in latex. Here is the latex source file, office.tex. To print it sideways on the paper, use the command

dvips -t landscape office.dvi

Here as an example of a PhD Plan of Study form in latex that was created by the Web page at and here is the latex source file, plan.tex.

Next, go to Professor Harold Boas' latex website at Texas A & M

for a latex tuturial.

Another very useful site for graduate students is Using LaTeX for your Purdue Thesis, a site maintained by Mark Senn. You'll find a nice latex tutorial and information for Purdue graduate students on how to use latex to create a PhD thesis that conforms to the excrutiating demands of the official Purdue Thesis Style Guide, complete with the latest version of a latex PU-thesis style file puthesis.cls that you can download to your TeX file directory.

An older LaTeX Math Dept Thesis style file is available on our system in the directory


An example of how to use it can be found in the directory:


WARNING: The LaTeX Math Dept Thesis style file was written for an old version of LaTeX. Mark Senn's puthesis.cls style file was written for LaTeX 2e, which is the default version of LaTeX that runs on the Math Dept SUNs.

Similar files exist for the AMS-TeX package. See




If you want to use AMS-TeX, TeX, or LaTeX at home on your own PC, check out MikTeX to download a free version of TeX for Windows. (It even has a dvi previewer called yap that is quite nice.)

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