This book covers all the basics of LaTeX and then some in thirteen chapters totaling about three hundred pages. Each chapter contains a Quiz with solutions given in the Appendix. Its starts with the usual Installation chapter with the installation detailed for Windows, not other environments. It then goes on in a logical sequence starting with formatting words, lines, paragraphs, and pages. Next are lists, tables, tabbings, and pictures (bizarrely in the same chapter as tables), cross-references, lists of references, indexes, bibliographies, maths, fonts (but not much on Unicode), long documents, hyperlinks and bookmarks to finish with a nice and useful chapter on troubleshooting, followed by online resources, answers to quizzes and an index.
The book is for beginners in LaTeX, but not for computers novices. You will need some fluency in computer lingo since many terms are not defined nor explained. But then, most people who would be aware of the existence of LaTeX and consider using it are probably somewhat computer savvy. The advantage is that the book can cover quite some ground and still remain within a reasonable number of pages. Overall I found the book to be a good introduction to LaTeX. It packs up quite a good deal of information in a relative small amount of pages and is easy to follow and well organized.
I do have a few caveats though. The book was made using InDesign CS4, not LaTeX. It would have been nice to see LaTeX in action. Furthermore, the book has very little on Unicode. The book is about LaTeX, it does not deal at all with XeTeX. It's still useful, but you need to know it. The author uses TeXWorks on Windows. As a result, if you use a Mac and/or another editor, some pages will be useless. But then, I guess you can't really expect a book dedicated to your particular environment. On the negative side, the making of the book could be improved. The reproductions of the compiled results of the code are obviously screen captures pasted in the text. But they are of a poor quality. There is also the annoying repetition of section titles like "Time For Action" or "Have a go hero." Furthermore the book oftentimes reads like a translation (the author is German).
Overall, despite these negatives, this is a good book to have in a LaTeX beginner's library and a good addition to the classics on LaTeX or to all the on line resources.
As a disclosure, I need to say that Packt asked me if I would review the book on my site (this is an excerpt of the review). I did not get paid and Packt had no say in the review. The only perk I got was a pdf copy of the book for the review.
6 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?