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LaTeX for Agricultural and Biological Engineers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1110610.(doi:10.13031/2013.38487)
Authors:   Igathinathane Cannayen
Keywords:   ASABE, Article, Document, Education, LaTeX, Thesis, Typesetting

LaTeX is a document preparation typesetting system used by scientists and engineers worldwide for the production of professional quality technical articles, books, and reports. Even though LaTeX system is common disciplines of mathematics, physics, and several engineering (electrical, electronics, computers, mechanical, etc.), it is not infiltrated into our Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) specialization; might be due to the lack of awareness, albeit a free software. This paper introduces the LaTeX system and illustrates how it can be used by ABE students and professionals for thesis and technical article preparation. LaTeX system uses markups codes and text in ASCII, similar to html, when compiled produces consistent documents in several output formats; thus, it allows the author to concentrate on the content while it performs consistent formatting. The source remains usually a very small sized text file. It is the best system known for producing documents with mathematical equations and very large books. LaTeX automates several common tasks of document preparation such as table of contents, list of tables, list of figures, index, linked citations, building references, numbering equations, figures, and tables -- thus making documents error free. LaTeX being structural in coding, it encourages and trains the users on good coding practices. The ABEN students will find it useful while preparing their thesis and subsequently using the codes for submission as journal article. Although there is a learning curve, true with new systems, ABEN students and professional having the basic computer programming knowledge could easily benefit from LaTeX system.

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