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LaTeX is a computer typesetting language for mathematical markup. It was designed and developed by Leslie Lamport[1] as an extension of TeX, an existing typesetting language developed by Donald Knuth. LaTeX is used nearly universally by mathematicians, physicists, engineers, computer scientists and other scientists in need of technical formatting in their publications.


\documentclass[12pt]{article}        %Specifies the font size and the document style
\begin{document}                     %Begins the document
$$\sqrt{\frac{1}{4}} = \frac{1}{2}$$ %Dollar sign ($) delimits math expressions; $$ delimits math expressions displayed centered on their own line
\end{document}                       %Document closing tag

This LaTeX code would output:

Highly complex mathematical expressions are also possible; for example, the following code:[2]

 \operatorname{erfc}(x) =
 \frac{2}{\sqrt{\pi}} \int_x^{\infty} e^{-t^2}\,dt =
 \frac{e^{-x^2}}{x\sqrt{\pi}}\sum_{n=0}^\infty (-1)^n \frac{(2n)!}{n!(2x)^{2n}}

would output:

The style declaration, beginning and closing end tags are omitted for brevity.


  1. Gratzer, G. First Steps in LaTeX. Birkhauser, Boston; p. xiv (1999) [1]
  2. Mediawiki Help:Displaying a Formula

External links