LaTeX is a markup language and is the standard way for writing papers in astronomy. While most journals will accept a Word document, LaTeX is generally used because of its abilities for representing math and formulas, figure placement, tables, and cross-referencing. There are a variety of TeX distributions and ways to work when writing a paper using LaTeX. Some of these are described below.


  • TeX, LaTeX, and Friends - A collaboratively edited question and answer site for people who love TeX, LaTeX and other related typesetting systems.
  • Detexify - find the LaTeX command for symbols by drawing it in your web browser. 

LaTeX Editors

  • How and Why to Use TextMate for LaTeX - detailed instructions for setting up the TextMate's LaTeX bundle.
  • TeXShop

    • a free TeX editor and Previewer for Macs (see Wikipedia for details).
    • uses pdftex and pdflatex which goes straight to PDF output rather than dvi output
    • You can also use a "Tex & Ghostscript" typeset option to handle EPS figures (PDFTex requires PDF figures.)
    • You can optionally download an entire latex package, or use with an existing install
  • BibDesk - app to edit and manage your bibliography. It will keep track of both the bibliographic information and the associated files or web links for you. BibDesk instead of Papers

Installation Options



Related useful packages include:

  • Install TeX emulateapj:

    1. Download emulateapj (just save on home directory for now). Then execute the following:

      					cd /sw/share/texmf-dist/tex/latex
      sudo mkdir emulateapj
      sudo mkdir apjfonts
      sudo cp ~/emulateapj.cls emulateapj/
      sudo cp ~/apjfonts.sty apjfonts/


LaTeX/BibTeX Tools

  • Manuscript preparation (blog post)

  • Bibliography

    • aux2bib, bibtool: create a smaller bib file, generate bikeys, ...
    • ADS to BibDesk: add reference (along with the PDF) from web browser to BibDesk. Also keeps astro-ph articles up-to-date with their refereed versions.
    • adsbib: create a bibliography directly from ADS (no local database needed)
    • yahapj.bst: modernized ApJ style file with DOI hyperlinks and better treatment of ArXiv papers
    • Papers2: keeps papers in PDF format along with metadata that can be exported to bibtex format
    • Making a LaTeX-readable list of publications for your CV (from Julianne Dalcanton via Alyson Brooks):

      1. Search on your name using the "refereed papers" flag (example).
      2. Press "Select All" at the bottom of the results page (and deselect any chaff like errata).
      3. Under "Retrieve the above records", select "Custom format" in the listing for "Return", and "date" for the listing under "Sort by".
      4. In the custom format box, type: %\zn. %\l %\Y, ``%\t'', {\\it %\J}, %\V, %\p. %\c citations\n
      5. Press "Retrieve selected records", and you'll get a list of your papers in a CV-friendly latex format, with current citation counts.

Possible tweaks:

  • You can substitute "%\j" for "{\\it %\J}" in the above string if you'd rather have AASTeX journal macros instead of full journal names in italic format.
  • Remove "%\zn." if you don't want your papers enumerated.
  • Change "%\l" to "%\8l" if you want all papers with more than 8 authors to appear as "First Author, et al.", or to "%\8L" if you want all papers with more than 8 authors to appear as "First Author and # colleagues".
Page last modified on Monday 23 of September, 2013 15:06:29 EDT