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My favorite LaTeX links


For me, Leslie Lamport's book on LaTeX 2e is still the best introduction and basic reference. Some people like The LaTeX Companion because it is more complete, but I tend to use the web to learn about add-on packages. If you really don't want to buy a book, just Google LaTeX tutorial.

I find myself mucking around with margins and spacing a fair amount, and the IMAGE group at the University of Florida has a couple good pages describing your options here:


I find it incredibly useful to be able to generate tables of results for my papers without any human intervention. This makes it impossible for me to make a mistake copying/pasting/typing numbers and if I need to re-run my analysis late in the game, it's still just a press of a button to rebuild my tables.

Lamport's book (see above) explains well how tables are defined in LaTeX. Once you understand this, the first part of the automation process is to generate each table in its own .tex file. If the analysis is implemented in C, I just open up the .tex file, write out the appropriate LaTeX table commands, and close it up. If it's Stata, the estout package can generate very pretty LaTeX tables. Then, in your LaTeX document, you just use \input to include these files.


LaTeX (in combination with BibTeX) lets you keep all your references in a .bib file with a simple human-readable format. Each reference has a name (e.g., becker1993) and when you need to cite something in a particular paper that you're working on, you refer to it by that name. Then you add a couple lines to your document where you want the bibliography to appear that specify the name of your .bib file and the bibliography style. Again, Lamport's book does a good job explaining the basics.

Patrick W. Daly has extended the LaTeX handling of citations and bibliographies in his widely used natbib package. The documentation is definitely worth reading.

Many (but not all) journals have bibliography style files that make it trivial for authors to follow the necessary and sometimes arcane submission guidelines. The LaTeX Bibligraphy Styles Database has more than 2,000 journal styles, and CTAN keeps a list of style files just for economics journals. I wrote the one for the International Economic Review, so if you use it and have suggestions, please email me!

If you're submitting to a journal that doesn't have a style file, Ki-Joo Kim has written a terrific guide to building your own BibTeX style file with Patrick W. Daly's custom-bib package. Ki-Joo even has some tips on how to modify the style files that custom-bib generates. You can download Ki-Joo's "BibTeX Guide Through Examples" from his web page.


If you have a paper written in LaTeX and want to turn it into a presentation without retyping a whole bunch of math into PowerPoint, then I recommend the beamer package. The user's manual that comes with the package is good, but there are some good tutorials out there too.