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Overview of LaTeX and Local Guide

The LaTeX command typesets a file of text using the TeX program and the LaTeX Macro package for TeX. To be more specific, it processes an input file containing the text of a document with interspersed commands that describe how the text should be formatted. It produces at least three files as output:

  1. A "Device Independent", or `.dvi' file. This contains commands that can be translated into commands for a variety of output devices. You can view the output of LaTeX by using a program such as xdvi, which actually uses the `.dvi' file.
  2. A "transcript" or `.log' file that contains summary information and diagnostic messages for any errors discovered in the input file.
  3. An "auxiliary" or `.aux' file. This is used by LaTeX itself, for things such as sectioning.

For a description of what goes on inside TeX, you should consult The TeXbook by Donald E. Knuth, ISBN 0-201-13448-9, published jointly by the American Mathematical Society and Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

For a description of LaTeX, you should consult:

LaTeX: A Document Preparation System, by Leslie Lamport, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 2nd edition, 1994.

The LaTeX Companion, by Michel Goossens, Frank Mittelbach, and Alexander Samarin, Addison-Wesley, 1994.

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