LATEX Typesetting in UCC

Computer Centre
Electronic Publishing Unit

August 2017


The TEX typesetting system and the LATEX document preparation system have been in use in UCC since the mid-1980s. The majority of users are still in the natural sciences, especially mathematics, physics, and engineering; but the biggest growth area in recent years has been in the Humanities. This page identifies some of the most frequently-requested resources for LATEX users in UCC. There is a large repository of other downloadables (packages, document classes, and fonts) at


1  Introduction
1.1  What does it do?
1.2  Where do I get it?
1.3  Getting started
1.4  Getting equipped
1.5  Support
1.6  Updates
2  Resources
2.1  Documentation
2.2  Editors
2.3  Typefaces
2.4  UCC document classes
2.5  GMIT Thesis document class
2.6  The Comprehensive TEX Archive Network (CTAN)
2.7  TEX Users Group
3  Bibliography
3.1  Selection of books we have typeset
3.2  References

1  Introduction

1.1  What does it do?

LATEX can automate most of the chores of formatting long, complex, or repetitively formatted documents (eg articles, books, reports, letters, essays, theses, manuals, etc). It can produce publication-quality output in PDF or PostScript, and it has extensions for handling most types of formatting for academic, research, and business documents. These include changes to layout and style; bibliographies, citations, and references; tables and figures; indexes, glossaries, and cross-references; mathematics and other notations; and multilingual and bidirectional typesetting.

1.2  Where do I get it?

LATEX runs on almost any type of computer system from phones and handheld PDAs to the largest mainframes and supercomputers, including your desktop PC or Mac, laptop, and office server. The software is free and can be copied without restrictions: contact the Academic and Coolaborative Technologies Unit (3.27 Kane Building, ×2609, or for the installation DVD, or use the links at

The Unit also provides support within UCC, and there are local experts in some departments. Commercial versions of TEX at an academic discount are also available if commercial levels of support are required. Full installation details are in chapter 1 of Formatting Information.

1.3  Getting started

The Computer Training Centre runs 1–day courses for newcomers to LATEX: contact them for details of the next available date or check the timetables.

The online book, Formatting Information, is used as a basis for the course, but can also be used for self-study.

1.4  Getting equipped

You may also need some of the following, depending on what kind of documents you plan to write:

Bibliographic database

For any document which contains bibliographic citations and references, LATEX provides the biblatex package (the old BIBTEX system still works, but is being superseded by biblatex). To manage your references, you need to have them in BIBTEX format. Programs like JabRef are recommended for this, but there are several others (see the list maintained by the LYX community).

To capture entries from the web, and thus avoid retyping them, the Firefox plugin Zotero is recommended (there is also a standalone version). The standalone program Mendeley is similar to the Apple Mac program Papers and can store the PDFs of articles as well as handle references. Both of these programs can cooperate to store and export your collection of references in BIBTEX format. If you are already using ProCite, EndNote, or ReferenceManager, you can export your collection of references in RIS format, which JabRef can read and convert to BIBTEX.

Graphics editors

If you need to tidy up your photographs, scans, or screenshots before including them in a document, you will need a bitmap graphics editor like GIMP, which will let you colorise, crop, rotate, enlarge, shrink, and generally manipulate your images. Bitmap images for pdflatex can be in PDF, JPG, or PNG format. Bitmap images for original (DVI) LATEX must be in EPS format only.

If you are including diagrams, you should draw them using a vector graphics editor like InkScape, so that your drawings are smoothly scalable and easily edited and updated. Do not under any circumstances use bitmap graphics for diagrams. Vector diagram images for pdflatex must be in PDF vector format only. Vector diagram images for original (DVI) LATEX must be in EPS vector format only.

Simple diagrams can also be drawn directly in LATEX, using the picture environment; more complex diagrams can be drawn using the pstricks/pdftricks packages, and the tikz package provides the PGF drawing language (LATEX also has specialist packages for diagrams in many disciplines). These methods can avoid the need for a separate graphics editor.

You may also be using specialist software in your discipline which can generate its own diagrams. Just ensure they are in one of the suitable formats mentioned above. Be aware that some of these utility graphing programs create very poor quality EPS and PDF files, which you may need to tidy up before using them in your documents.

Conversion software

Software to convert PDF images to EPS images and vice versa is included with most TEX distributions: look on your computer for the programs pdf2ps and ps2pdf. The GIMP program can convert between different bitmap formats. If you need bulk conversion (many images of the same type), install ImageMagick and use the convert command in a Command or Terminal window.

You can convert LATEX documents to other formats such as RTF (for Word) and XML (DocBook, HTML) with the TEX4ht program or by writing an XSLT script of your own. Some post-editing is usually required with any non-trivial conversion. Be aware that wordprocessors do not have many of the facilities available in LATEX, so documents converted to wordprocessor formats will need extra work to convert back again, and some features such as change-recording cannot be preserved. In general, avoid circular conversion.

Converting original wordprocessor documents (Word, OpenOffice) to LATEX can be done with plugins for OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or AbiWord: open the document and pick Save As…LATEX. For Word and OpenOffice documents (both of which are XML), you can also write an XSLT script of your own (see this rudimentary example). Some post-editing is usually required with any non-trivial conversion.

1.5  Support

Questions, comments, requests:

  1. Please first check to see if your question is answered in the TEX FAQ

  2. Ask colleagues on the UCC TEX Users mailing list (if you're not already a member, join now)

  3. Check the comp.text.tex Usenet newsgroup (use Google Groups if you have no newsreader or news-capable email program installed)

  4. Search the lists of questions and answers at StackExchange. This takes a little navigation to get used to, but the answers are ranked by usefulness.

  5. Contact ACTS on ×2609 or email

1.6  Updates

TEX Live and the TEX Collection DVD is issued annually by the TEX Users Group. This contains complete installations for Unix and GNU/Linux, Apple Macintosh OS X, and Microsoft Windows; plus a complete snapshot of the entire CTAN repository. A copy is available from the Academic and Collaborative Technologies Unit.

1.6.1  Package updates

TEX Live (on Unix and GNU/Linux) and MiKTEX on Microsoft Windows are both capable of updating themselves over the network, and in certain circumstances of updating and adding new packages automatically or on demand.

If this is not enabled, or if it is not available, you MUST NOT attempt to update the installed packages by overwriting files in the installation directories. If you need to download and manually install packages, fonts, etc from CTAN or elsewhere, you MUST do so in your personal TEX directory (see section 1.6.2 below). This ensures that your updates don't get wiped out if you install a whole new version of TEX the next year.

Check that your TEX installation really doesn't have the package you want, before downloading and installing it.

1.6.2  Your personal TEX folder (directory)

This is a directory (folder) on single-user systems like desktops and laptops where you put all your local manual modifications, updates, and additions such as classes, packages, and fonts. The name and location are fixed:

Apple Mac OS X ~/Library/texmf
Unix and GNU/Linux ~/texmf
MS-Windows 95/XP C:\texmf
MS-Windows 2007 and above Computer\System\yourname\texmf

Create that folder if it does not already exist. If you are on a shared computer (eg in a lab or terminal room) where you cannot create folders, ask the systems administrator to do it for you. Show them this document and explain that the files are all plain text, not programs or other infectable objects.

If you are a Windows user running MiKTEX

When you create the folder, you MUST add it to MiKTEX's list of supported folders. Run the MiKTEX Maintenance/Settings program, select the Roots tab, and add the folder. You only have to do this once.

Each time you add or remove software in your personal TEX folder, you MUST also click on the Update FNDB button in the General tab.

On Unix-like syatems (Macs and GNU/Linux), users do not need to (indeed, SHOULD NOT) run their filename database indexer (mktexlsr or texhash) for files put into a personal TEX directory, because LATEX will automatically search your personal TEX directory by itself.

1.6.3  Installing packages and classes manually

Most packages and classes are distributed in one of the following forms:

  1. A file (easiest);

  2. A .dtx and .ins pair of files;

  3. A .dtx file alone;

  4. A few come as .sty or .cls files on their own.

  5. A plain .zip file (hardest);

Download the file[s] into a temporary directory (eg /tmp, C:\temp, etc). DO NOT download them into your personal TEX directory.

1.  A file

Unzip into your personal TEX directory. That's it, except for MiKTEX users, who must run the FNDB update as described in the warning panel ‘If you are a Windows user running MiKTEX’ above.

2.  Both .ins and .dtx files

Run LATEX on the .ins file. This will extract the relevant .sty or .cls files.

Run LATEX on the .dtx file twice. This will create the documentation, which tells you what new commands and facilities are available.

Put these files into the correct subdirectory of your personal TEX directory as described in section 1.6.4 below.

3.  Only a .dtx file

Run LATEX on the .dtx file. This will extract the relevant .sty or .cls files.

Put these files into the correct subdirectory of your personal TEX directory as described in section 1.6.4 below.

4.  .sty or .cls files on their own

Put these files into the correct subdirectory of your personal TEX directory as described in section 1.6.4 below.

5.  A plain .zip file

Unzip the file into the temporary directory where you downloaded it.

Put the files into the correct subdirectory of your personal TEX directory as described in section 1.6.4 below.

1.6.4  Where to put things

The ‘correct subdirectory’ of your personal TEX directory depends on the type of file. The subdirectory is always named after the name of the class or package (symbolised as /name/ in the table below). Create it if it does not already exist.

File Type Directory
Class and package files
.sty Style package texmf/tex/latex/name/
.cls Document class texmf/tex/latex/name/
.pdf Documentation texmf/doc/latex/name/
.tex Example document texmf/doc/latex/name/
.bst BIBTEX style program texmf/bibtex/bst/name/
.bib BIBTEX example texmf/bibtex/bib/name/
.cfg or .cnf Configuration file texmf/tex/latex/name/
Font files
.mf METAFONT (Type 3) font outline texmf/tex/latex/mfnfss/name/
.pk METAFONT (Type 3) font bitmaps Obsolete: DO NOT copy. These will get generated afresh for you when you use the font.
.tfm TEX font metric texmf/fonts/afm/name/
.vf Virtual font texmf/fonts/vf/name/
.pfb or .pfa Postscript (Type 1) font outline texmf/fonts/type1/name/
.afm Adobe font metric texmf/fonts/afm/name/
.fd Font description texmf/tex/latex/name/
.map Font map texmf/fonts/map/dvips/name/

For font installations, after moving the files to the right place, you MUST run the command:

updmap --enable

substituting the name of the map file. The font will not be usable until you do this.

2  Resources

Please contact the Academic and Collabotaive Technologies Unit on ×2609 or email if you have any problems installing or using packages. Be aware that some packages are restricted to UCC and will not appear if you access these pages from outside the UCC network.

2.1  Documentation

2.2  Editors

Everyone ends up with their own preference: one of the nice things about TEX is that you are not tied to any particular editor for your typing.


A large and powerful general-purpose plain-text editor for all platforms, with robust LATEX and BIBTEX modes, and keyclick access to WYSIWYG displays. Steep learning curve, but extensible to many applications.


The editor that comes built into the MacTEX distribution. Simple and effective, but without the extensibility of other editors.


If you want an unrestricted (Open Source) editor for MikTEX or TEXLive, you should look at TEXnicCenter instead. This is the default editor installed with ProTEXt from the annual TEXLive DVD, available from the Electronic Publishing Unit.


The WinEdt editor is a popular shareware editor for LATEX documents. It has been licensed for a limited number of users in UCC, so the UCC licence page is restricted to access by UCC computers only.

2.3  Typefaces

LATEX's default typeface is Computer Modern (a variant of Monotype Series 8) because originally it was the only one with a comprehensive set of mathematical symbols. Nowadays the choice for mathematicians is a little wider (see the packages mathptmx (Times) and mathpazo (Palatino), and the list of free math fonts).

There are many typefaces supplied free with all full TEX distributions (see the section ‘Using fonts’ for a list), including the ubitquitous Adobe ‘35’ (Avant Garde, Bookman, Courier, Helvetica, New Century Schoolbook, Palatino, Symbol, and Times New Roman). The online LATEX Font Catalog lists many more which can be downloaded and installed.

LATEX does not use your existing system fonts by default, although it is possible to make it use Postscript Type 1 and TrueType fonts with a little extra work. The new XETEX processor overcomes this by making all your existing installed system fonts available, but this is not yet the default.

The new UCC branding uses Bodoni and Gotham. These are commercial typefaces and have been bought by UCC for official use in the Office for Media and Communications and the Electronic Publishing Unit. The license is expensive and does not extend to other offices. For drafts, use the default Computer Modern typefaces.

2.4  UCC document classes

There are document classes (templates) under development in several areas.

2.4.1  UCC Thesis document class

This is version 1.19, revised 30 May 2014 (see documentation for details of changes).

2.4.3  UCC Beamer slides (presentations)

There is an experimental and undocumented version of the Beamer slides layout for UCC. This package requires the uccbranding package (below). Please report any errors or problems.

2.4.4  UCC branding

The new UCC layout mandates a specific set of colours. We now have a Branding package which implements these. It is required for the Beamer slides package.

2.4.5  UCC Letter class

The old Letter class is being updated to use the new campus typefaces in the logo, and to follow the redesigned Letter layout. The planned release is November 2012.

2.6  The Comprehensive TEX Archive Network (CTAN)

2.7  TEX Users Group

UCC is an institutional member of the TEX Users Group, which entitles staff and students to discounts on attendance at the annual conferences, books, fonts, and software; access to the current year's TUGboat, the quarterly journal (email us for access to copies); installation DVDs of the TEX Collection (email us for those too); and reciprocal membership arrangements with many other user groups around the world.

3  Bibliography

3.1  Selection of books we have typeset

3.2  References

Peter Flynn