Chapter 2. Introduction

Table of Contents

Basic facts
About Kile
What is LATEX
How do you pronounce it? Why that strange typesetting?
LATEX 101
Kile's Main Features
QuickStart Wizard
Predefined Templates
Syntax Highlighting
Auto-Completion of Environments
Jump to Structure Element
Inverse Search
Forward Search
The Toolbar

Basic facts

About Kile

Kile is an integrated LATEX environment for the KDE desktop. Kile gives you the ability to use all the functionalities of LATEX in a graphical interface, giving you easy, immediate, and customized access to all programs for LATEX codecompletion, compiling, postprocessing, debugging, conversion and viewing tools; you also get very handy wizards, a LATEX reference and a powerful project management.

What is LATEX

LATEX is a text-processing system derived from TEX, a program developed originally in 1977 by Donald Knuth to help him layout his work professionally, obtaining a work similar to a typesetter's; the typesetter is the professional that styles a document's look according to specifications for the type of document. LATEX was created by Leslie Lamport to give authors an automatic typesetter, especially when it came to the expensive and painstaking typesetting of mathematical formulas and expressions, that by no chance are enclosed in dollar signs in LATEX. Today, word-processing programs let any user be the typesetter; but what you often want is a document that looks good, not one that you spent hours on to make it look good. LATEX takes that burden, and lets you think of the document, not of the layout. And yes, it will look good!

How do you pronounce it? Why that strange typesetting?

There is a funny traditions of TEX-related packages to have the strangest pronunciation and typesetting possible. TEX was supposed to be brought in from the Greek τεχ, in Latin letters tech. There are a lot of explanations why, but most likely it is because TEX was originally conceived for technical reports, and indeed its foremost ability was the correct and easy typesetting of mathematical formulae, then an extremely expensive, time-consuming and frustrating business.

The pronunciation is supposed to be as follows: T as you would expect, E as in get, and X as in the German ich. If you do not know what ch sounds like, it is more or less as an hissing cat; the IPA symbol is /ç/. Many people report the different pronunciation of ach (IPA symbol /x/), but I have personally asked some Greeks, and can confirm the first version. You should be aware that a lot of people mispronounce /teks/ or /tek/.

Last, in LATEX the first LA is pronounced as lay: the idea is that, while raw TEX is difficult, even a layman can use LATEX macros. A less inspiring, but more realistic explanation is that it stems from the surname of Leslie Lamport, the creator of LATEX. Now you know!