General LaTeX links to get started

I learned LaTeX as an undergrad using the instructive sample files available at:

For astronomy, the AASTeX macro is something you will need:

For finding latex symbol code, I like this page that matches your scribbles to similar latex symbols:


"How'd they do that?"

If you're wondering how to do something in LaTex (like how to make an equation, table or caption appear a certain way), look up a paper on arXiv that does it. Then, click on "other" for the view options and download the source file. This will get you the latex codes the authors used to produce the preprint, and save you a lot of time in figuring out (or a fellow student in showing you how to do) certain formatting tricks.


Useful Bits of Code

To continue a figure to a second page with a second file, but have it be part of the original figure (same figure number) use \Continuedfloat after the \begin{figure} command.

To have no page numbering use \pagestyle{empty} before \begin{document}


You can write your latex code in pieces. All you have to do is created a .tex file (with NO headers or the \begin{document} call), such as foo.tex. Then, in your main document, use \input{foo.tex} and the contents of foo.tex will be used in your document.

This is also convenient for making tables. In IDL (or your software of choice), just print your variables to a file table.tex using the proper syntax. Then create a table in your main document, with \input{table.tex} where the numbers would be. If you change some parameters in your calculation, you can make a new table in seconds instead of retyping the data into your document!!

- Lia -

natbib and bibtex

Learn to use bibtex for your references. The first paper I wrote from beginning to end, I entered all references manually, and it's probably one of the single dumbest things I've ever done professionally (right up there with submitting a paper -- and going through the entire editorial process to acceptance -- to the wrong jounal).

~ Taka

Using the natbib package, \citep{Kreckel2010} gives you the citation with parenthesis already: (Kreckel et al. 2010). \citealt{Kreckel2010} gives you the citation as if it were in parenthesis but without the parenthesis: Kreckel et al. 2010. See for more useful citation commands.

NASA ADS ( abstract search provides BibTeX info for each abstract, which can be easily incorporated into your tex files:

Some more info on using the natbib citation package:



Kicks ass and lets you see things that you can do with LaTeX in a WYSIWYG mode. Also, you can import the TeX into your documents by "viewing source". This is especially useful for table formatting, mathematical symbology, and float handling.