Formatting Your SULI Paper

By Alexandra Rahlin and Alessondra Springmann (SULI 2006 Students)

For those of you who know LaTeX and would like to make formatting your paper that much easier, read through this documentation before downloading all the files, because there are a few packages that are a little bit quirky (but not quirky enough to do your whole paper from scratch). For those of you who don't know LaTeX but would like to learn, the following is a list of documents to get you started:

Alright, so first things first: download the pertinent files into one directory. Read through the list below to see which ones you need. The first three files are necessary, but the rest are only if you need them.

Once you have all the files you need, update the fields at the top of template.tex to reflect your and your mentor's contact information. These fields will be used to fill in the information on the title page and also to make that header line for the abstract. The fields are currently populated with sample information as an example.

Add the text of your paper in all the right places in the template file, write your bibliography file and cite your sources from there. If you're using floats (figures or tables), you can put them whereever they would be normally in the text, and they will automatically be output at the end of the document. However, there are a few things that need some careful attention for your figures to come out the right way:

Once you've done all of the above, build the template file. If you're using Linux, use the following commands:

latex template
bibtex template
latex template
latex template
dvips -t letter -o template.dvi
ps2pdf template.pdf

Alternatively, you could create an alias in your .cshrc file so that you have a shortcut for all of these commands. Just add the following all on one line to your .cshrc file (a hidden file that you can open for editing by typing emacs ~/.cshrc):

alias buildtex 'latex \!*; bibtex \!*; latex \!*; latex \!*; dvips -t letter -o \!*.ps \!*.dvi; ps2pdf \!*.ps \!*.pdf;'

Once you've saved and closed the .cshrc file, type source ~/.cshrc so that you can use your new alias. From this point on, whenever you want to build your paper, just type buildtex template to create your template.pdf file. NB: this will work on SLAC's system. If your Linux machine uses a different shell, then the alias command will be slightly different, and you'll have to look elsewhere for how to get that working properly. Calling the above alias (or typing in each of the commands) will create a dvi, ps and pdf file of your document. Click here to see what the template file looks like when built. Obviously, if you change the name of the .tex file, you should change the above commands to reflect that. If you get any missing file errors that obviously aren't any of the above files, go to to download them.

If you're using Windows or Mac, make sure you build your project using latex, not pdflatex. If you want to deal with installing GUI latex editors on your personal computer, TeXnicCenter or WinEdt for Windows, TeXShop for Mac, and Kile for Linux are what's in these days.

So that's about it. If you have comments or suggestions, please let us -- sanya17[at]mit[dot]edu or axs[at]mit[dot]edu -- know!