Installing and learning LaTeX

Long on my to-do list has been to use LaTeX, mainly for its BibTeX features. I’ve avoided it for so long because I’m pretty adept at MSWord. However, with Office2010 and that blasted ribbon, they broke all my keyboard shortcuts for menu items (imagine grumpy old professor shaking hand at the gods and yelling).

As a first step, I emailed Chris (not to be confused with this CL) to ask for suggestions, which he graciously provided. Then, having narrowed things to Emacs+AUCTex (Chris’s strategy) and WinEdt, I turned to FB, which yielded additional suggestions including Sublime Text and LyX. The latter is apparently a good GUI tool, but the exported raw .tex can be clunky according to those who have used it. (I imagine it’s not unlike creating a webpage in Word, which you can do, but I wouldn’t recommend.)

I decided to install Emacs, LyX, and WinEdt, but I think I’m going to start with Emacs and try LyX and WinEdt when I inevitably get stuck.

Figuring out which version and how to install Emacs also took a bit of effort, particularly because a lot of the how-tos, which may include links to packages, aren’t necessarily always linking to the latest stable version. I found these instructions to be the clearest. However, I went to the original source for the install files. It seems that AUCTeX isn’t compatible with the most recent version of Emacs, so I had to go back and re-install Emacs. Typical (for me at least).

Here are the (abbreviated) steps I went through:
.5. Read several introductions to LaTeX, including some recommended by Chris.
1. Install MiKTeX.
2. Install WinEdt.
3. Install LyX. Since I already installed MiKTeX, I had to navigate to the tex.exe file in the miktex\bin\x64 folder during LyX install. It seemed to find and get all the missing packages and automatically install them in the correct MiKTeX directory (thank goodness).
4. Install latest version of Emacs.
5. Set HOME property.
6. Install version of Emacs that works with AUCTeX.

Next step(s): Check on spellchecking features, setup preferences, etc.

Edited to add: Here’s my first document. 😉

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