Setting up LaTeX for Microsoft Windows

All software listed here is "free".

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Files you need to download ...

  1. Download LaTeX compiler MikTeX (23 to 64MB). (setup-version.exe setup wizard ~425KB)

  2. Download ghostscript and ghostview for printing, converting and viewing postscript files (gs???w32.exe ~5.2 MB and gsv??w32.exe ~1.2 MB).

Files you may also want to check out ...

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The LaTeX text editor/environment

  1. The LaTeX editor GNU/Emacs + AucTeX, Ispell ...

    A good working environment for MikTeX is GNU/Emacs. Here is an excellent description: on how-to set it up! Includes syntax highlighting, macros, on-the-fly spelling, ... (everything!).

    (A quick reference card for Emacs: EmacsRefcard.pdf.)

  2. Texmaker

    Texmaker: Free cross-platform LaTeX editor that integrates many tools needed to develop documents with LaTeX, in just one application.

  3. A good WYSIWYG style editor is LyX (

    This open source document processor is good for those who don't want to learn LaTeX: see (simple to install, around 8MB)

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Installing the software

  1. Gs???w32.exe and Gsv??w32.exe are self-extracting zip files, they automatically run setup, just follow the instructions on the screen.

  2. You have downloaded one file called setup.exe run it and follow the instructions on the screen (I strongly recommend you setup MikTeX on the root of the hard disk).

  3. Reboot the computer (if needed), and that's it!

    To compile your LaTeX documents in a "DOS" window (cmd or command), use the line: latex myfile.tex (and dvips myfile.dvi, bibtex mybib.bib, etc.). Or compile directly from your IDE, for example in GNU/Emacs use <ctrl>-C-C to compile.

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Online help on LaTeX

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Macros and style files

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Creating a PDF document

Creating PDF files using dvipdfm (command: dvipdfm myfile.dvi)

Take a look at the "config" file for dvipdfm located under \texmf\dvipdfm\config. Make sure that for the "D" options the complete path is set for gswin32c, i.e.

% The following line works with GhostScript

D "c:/progra~1/gs/gs8.00/bin/gswin32c -q -sPAPERSIZE=a0 -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.2 -dUseFlateCompression=true -dNOPAUSE -sOutputFile=\"%o\" \"%i\" -c quit"

This is one line!

For those using different font encodings like: \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}. The PDF document may not display crisp fonts. To solve this try using different fonts, i.e. \usepackage{palatino} (take a look in the directory \texmf\tex\latex\psnfss\*.sty for additional fonts), OR simply install the font package cm-super.

You may have some troubles generating PDF files with dvipdfm when using PSFRAG. The workaround is to create the PDF directly from the PS file, i.e. Open file in "gsview", then choose file-convert (gsview-convert-snapshot.jpg) followed by device-pdfwrite (600 pt) (gsview-pdfwrite-snapshot.jpg). The command line version ps2pdf can also be used.

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Adding images to a LaTeX document

The most common way of adding figures to LaTeX is by including postscript files (see the demo file above for an example). You can create figures using the Ipe program mentioned above. Here is also a MATLAB m-file that converts most image formats to encapsulated postscript (better to use EPS because the bounding box is then as small as possible). The file may be downloaded here: im2eps (the file includes instructions of usage). Note you must have the image processing toolbox to use this file.

Changing MATLAB figures to native LaTeX using PSFRAG

You need to download the PSFRAG macro package (it also includes a demo). Install this package in the folder: \texmf\tex\latex\psfrag. Installation is completed by running latex psfrag.ins in this folder and by copying the created file to the folder \texmf\dvips\base\. Now take a look at this demo file (you will also need this encapsulated postscript file, the MATLAB figure, to compile the document). You should also definitely take a look at laprint.m by Linnemann for printing MATLAB figures (also based on PSFRAG but does all the work for you!).

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Icelandic dictionary

There is a dictionary for ispell (or here) available and one compiled for aspell-is by Elías.

Icelandic language (using Babel with MikTeX or teTeX)

These files and procedures are now part of the MikTeX package, as of version 2.0. MikTeX now includes an "options dialog box" enabling you to select the language of your choice, just don't forget to hit the "update format files" button!

Add to your LaTeX document header:

(install the font package cm-super)

If you want to change between hyphens, say for example icelandic and english, then use
and then when switching between hyphens use
\selectlanguage{icelandic} or \selectlanguage{english}.

If you have an older version on MikTeX or teTeX (for Linux or MacOS), then you must do the following:

  1. Copy files icelandic.ldf and icelandic.sty to the directory \texmf\tex\generic\babel\.
  2. Add the line \DeclareOption{icelandic}{\input{icelandic.ldf}} to the file \texmf\tex\generic\babel\babel.sty.
  3. Copy the file ishyph.tex to the directory \texmf\tex\generic\hyphen\
  4. Add the line: icelandic ishyph.tex to the file \texmf\tex\generic\config\language.dat (you will see where when you open the file, you may want to comment out other languages such as french, etc.).
  5. Run MikTeX -> Maintainer -> Reconfigure (close all tex related software first!).

If you are using teTeX for Linux or MacOS then the above instructions are the same (perhaps steps 1 and 2 have been done). You will find the texmf directory under /usr/share/texmf. Run fmtutil --all (but before doing so, run texhash first so it knows about the new files you added to the directories) to remake the formats (as root). If you have any trouble with teTeX try this hyphen file.

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Related links

Search CTAN files for:

last update 9.11.2010