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(La)TeX offers a very large number of choices, and the beginner has
to navigate through that set before even taking his first steps. The
aim here is to guide the beginner through a set of answers that may
help the process. We assume the beginner ‘knows’ that (La)TeX is
for them; if not, the discussion “what is TeX
To start at the very beginning, then, the beginner may wish to know
what all those
“things with TeX in their name are
Armed with that knowledge, the beginner needs to decide what macro
format she needs (always assuming someone hasn’t already told her she
needs to use “fooTeX”. Learn about the alternatives in answers
discussing common formats: look at
writing Plain TeX
If no system has been provided, the beginner needs to acquire a TeX
distribution appropriate to their machine. Available options are
available via the answer
“(La)TeX for various machines
”; we assume
here that the beginner can install things for herself, or has access
to someone who can.
Finally, the beginner needs to get started in the chosen format. For
Plain TeX, see “Online introductions: TeX
for LaTeX, see
“Online introductions: LaTeX
”; and for
ConTeXt, the place to start is the
ConTeXt garden wiki
(which is so good the present FAQs don’t even try to compete).
This answer was added: 2011-03-04
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URL for this question: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=startup
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This is FAQ version 3.26, released on 2013-02-25.