What is LaTeX?
LaTeX (pronounced lay-tech or lah-tekh) is a markup language for typesetting documents similar to how HTML is one for web sites.
LaTeX has advantages over What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editors such as Microsoft Word because with LaTeX you provide the content, and LaTeX takes care of the layout. Separation of content from typesetting results in documents that are consistently and beautifully formatted. Furthermore, because LaTeX markup is of plain text format (unlike more complex file formats produced by WYSIWYG editors, like
.docx), LaTeX files are lightweight and can be easily kept under version control.
LaTeX documents are typically compiled to PDF files so that consistency in layout is retained across different viewers, and for printing.
LaTeX is especially popular in academic writing due to its rich support for typesetting equations, cross-referencing figures and tables, and citations and bibliographies.