L-X: \(\LaTeX\) \({}^E\!\!XT\!{\tiny RA}S\)

Up to this point, we have been focusing on the article document class in LaTeX; however, LaTeX extends further beyond just this class.  Unfortunately, these topics are beyond the scope of this course, but we provide a very brief description of some of the ways you can expand on the LaTeX you already know.

  • An unrelated short point. We talked about the hyperref package at several points but never discussed it alone. It makes all of your \ref, \cite, and \url commands clickable links. If you want to get rid of the ugly borders around the links, you can use the colorlinks option, i.e. \usepackage[colorlinks]{hyperref}, or the other solutions mentioned here.

Presentations with LaTeX

How can you use LaTeX in a presentation? In general, you can always just use LaTeX as you normally would and then take a screenshot, clipping it to show whatever part of the equation that you want. However, there are also specific plugins to “build in” LaTeX to your normal presentation software. With the exception of beamer, these require that you already have LaTeX installed on your machine (i.e., MikTeX or MacTeX).

  • On Windows, there are plugins for Powerpoint, however different versions are compatible with different versions of PowerPoint.
    • We had the most success with IguanaTex. Note that even after the installer runs, you may have to manually “add-on” the feature to PowerPoint. Follow the directions in readme64.rtf (in c:\Program Files (x86?)\IguanaTex). IguanaTex claims to be compatible with PowerPoint 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2010.
    • Other older free plugins include tex4ppt, PowerPointLaTeX, and myTexPoint, although we did not test these sucessfully on PowerPoint 2010
  • On a Mac, there is a specific plugin for Keynote to add LaTeX editing capabilities
  • Or, you can write the whole presentation in LaTeX itself…

The beamer Document Class

The beamer document class is designed to produce presentation style slides in a PDF format.  Content is still typeset using the commands you already know, but frame environments are used to organize the data into the slides of your presentation.  Additionally, the beamer class allows you hide and reveal information within a particular frame with relative ease.

There is a built in layout and colour scheme which is used, but there are many style files that can be found which allow you to customize the appearance of your presentation (for example, \usepackage{beamerthemesplit} is used in some of the lectures for the MMT program).

The beamer website is here. (But, since beamer is just another package, you don’t need to actually install new software. This is therefore different from the Keynote/PowerPoint plugins mentioned above.) Check out the paper Beamer by Example by Andrew Mertz and William Slough. Here is a link to the complete manual.

The a0poster Document Class

You can use LaTeX to help make a poster. Naturally, you can do this using a straightforward method such as copy-and-pasting formula images, or by using the PowerPoint plugin mentioned above. However, you can create a poster entirely in LaTeX using the a0poster document class. Again, this only requires installing a package, not a new piece of software.


MathJax is a JavaScript* display engine for mathematics. What does that mean? If you are designing a webpage, you can place a script in your code that will allow you typeset math in your document just as you would typeset math in LaTeX (the engine also has support for MathML).  You can use this service remotely where an internet connection is available, or even download the engine if you needed to have it stored locally.

*Caveat: JavaScript has nothing to do with Java.

The Math 600 website uses three methods: MathJax, copy-and-pasting of images, and generated-on-the-fly images created with the help of a WordPress plugin. (WordPress is the software we use to manage the content.)

These are course notes for the University of Waterloo's course Math 600: Mathematical Software.
© 2012—. Written and developed by David Pritchard and Stephen Tosh. Contact (goes to the CEMC)