LaTeX Hints and Tips

During my DPhil and MSc I used LaTeX to write up my theses. It was quite a steep learning curve at first but now I'm a true convert.

Most of my LaTeX help came from books, but quite alot of it from googling. So I decided to make my own contribution in return using my website.

Making eps Files

LaTeX likes your images to be input as a .eps file which is a major pain. Geeks who use 'mogrify' in linux manage this quite well, but what about the rest of us who are using Windows?

Once you have made your image preferably as a .bmp or .jpg there are a number of different programs to turn it into an eps (such as paint, Corel Draw and Photoshop).

However if you try to 'Print to file' although the eps will appear to have been created LaTeX will produce an error like this:

! Text line contains an invalid character.
‹read 1› ♦

To avoid this error use Corel Photo Paint, open the .jpg and use Save As then select EPS - Encapsulated Post Script

LaTeX for Mac OS X

I've only ever used LaTeX on Windows and linux so when I came to set up LaTeX on my MacBook recently, I was at a bit of a loss. Searching for "LaTeX for Mac" on google will bring up a lot of complicated advice. The simplest thing to do is to download TeXShop and read its help document. It will tell you everything you need to know to get started.

Problems with COUNTIF in MS Excel

If you use the "countif" function to count the frequency of a word in a number of cells, you might find it doesn't count them all. Try putting asterisks either side of the word you want to count. e.g.

=COUNTIF(A1:A2,"Black")

becomes

=COUNTIF(A1:A2,"*Black*")