[pdftex] pdfLaTeX - pdfTeX - ConTeX.....

James Haefner James.Haefner at usu.edu
Wed Jan 20 18:16:40 CET 2010

Jan Öhman wrote:
> Hello!
> When I search for help for pdflatex, I come across lots of different systems
> (pdfLaTeX - pdfTeX - ConTeX.....and so on)
> What's the diferent?
> Is it possible to have multiple "packages" at the same time?
> Is this system the easiest for beginners?
> //Jan

Obviously there is a learning curve. Some of your problems concern tex 
and latex (not the pdf-oriented application of the same formatting 
code).  So, you need basic reference materials.  Others have cited the 
pdftex manual.  I also strongly recommend you consult some of the many 
books written as introductions; here are the 2 I used when learning and 
still refer to:

(1) Kopka, Helmut; and Daly, Patrick W. 2004. Guide to LaTeX. 4th Ed. 
Addison-Wesly.  -- a readable introduction that covers latex basics and 
some add-on packages.

(2) Mittelbach, Frank and Goossens, Michel. 2004. The LaTeX Companion. 
2nd Ed. Addison-Wesley.  -- *relatively* brief intro to basic latex (but 
it is covered), but most notable for excellent coverage of many add-on 

I consider both to must-reads and kept close to hand.  They are both 
well-worth the purchase price.


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