LaTeX Help Forums

Many of us have a love/hate relationship with LaTeX. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

So where can you go when you need help?

Online forums are a great place to find answers. I rely on them a lot since few of my departmental colleagues use LaTeX. Here are some of the best English language ones.

LaTeX Community

Self-styled as ‘the world’s LaTeX knowledge,’ the LaTeX Community forum comes pretty close. The topics covered are comprehensive, the forum has thousands of users, and, most importantly of all, questions get answered quickly.

LaTeX Community was founded by the developer of TeXnicCenter in 2007 and has forged links with other specialist sites such as , and a number of German-language forums.

According to Stefan Kottwitz, maintainer of the site,

The goal is to provide the best support for LaTeX friends in every possible way. Because we love LaTeX.

I have posted several questions here over the years and have always found a solution to my problem.

TeX – LaTeX

TeX – LaTeX is a ‘question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt and related typesetting systems.’

This question and answer site grew out of the Stack Overflow forum and the LaTeX-related content was migrated to the dedicated TeX – LaTeX page from 2011.

Thanks to the forum’s reputation model, users who post a question can get a sense of whether or not the people who answer know what they’re talking about.


The TeX Users Group (TUG) maintains a large number of email discussion lists that are open to the public:

For general questions about LaTeX, the texhax group would be the best place to start. This particular list has been going since the 1980s in one form or another.

And we’re back!

After a long hiatus, the LaTeX for Humans blog is back!

Based on your feedback, it appears that the greatest need is for an updated list of thesis, dissertation and related templates. So I will get on this right away.

I also plan to review the best LaTeX help forums so that you know where to go when you have a specific problem to solve.

Oh yeah. And I’m going to revamp the site design as it’s a bit 2008, non?

Any questions? Ask away…

Drop me a line in the comments with your questions and suggestions.

LaTeX Training Course in Cambridge

The UK TeX Users Group is organising another introductory LaTeX course on April 15th, 2011 in Cambridge.

Using LaTeX to Write a Thesis

This course is aimed at beginners and will cover a range of topics connected with writing a dissertation in LaTeX, including:

  • Installing LaTeX for the first time
  • Creating a document
  • Document structure
  • Graphics
  • Managing a bibliography with BibTeX


The course only costs £10, so I imagine places will be taken very quickly.

To register, e-mail Joseph Wright <> and include:

  • Your completed UK-TUG membership form as an attachment (a year’s membership is included in the course fee)
  • Details of your LaTeX experience (if any), including which operating system you use
  • What your general subject area is (to help plan the course content)

Useful Links

Full details of the course and more information about booking conditions are posted here:

LaTeX Training Course at Oxford University

For those of you who missed the UK TeX Users Group and University of East Anglia course back in July, there’s another LaTeX training session happening at Oxford this October.

An Introduction to LaTeX

The Department for Continuing Education at Oxford University is organising a full-day course on October 16th.

It is aimed at beginners and will cover creating documents (including letters), graphics and bibliography.


The course costs £50 and enrolment is either online or by downloading an application form – both available on the course webpage:

LaTeX Training Course – Update

I’ve just discovered that the LaTeX course organised by the UK TeX Users Group and the University of East Anglia is now fully booked.

There’s clearly a need for introductory courses like these!

Future Courses

It sounds like the UK TeX Users Group will repeat this course later in the year if there’s sufficient demand. Joseph Wright writes:

We are starting a list of interested people in case anyone drops out, and will be looking at holding another course later in the year if there is the interest. So do consider sending a registration e-mail: the more people we know are interested the more likely it is that another course can be organised.

Who to Contact

As before, please email Joseph Wright <> with details of your experience with LaTeX and your academic subject area.

LaTeX Training Course

In London on July 30th the UK TeX Users Group and the University of East Anglia will be running a course on how to use LaTeX to write a thesis.

Course Content

You don’t need to be an expert to take part – the course is aimed at people new to LaTeX. The topics covered include:

  • Creating a document
  • Document structure
  • Graphics
  • Managing a bibliography with BibTeX


The course only costs £10, so I imagine places will be taken very quickly.

To register, e-mail Joseph Wright <> and include:

  • Details of your LaTeX experience (if any)
  • If you’re bringing a laptop  with you to the course
  • What your general subject area is (to help plan the course content)
  • Any special requirements (diet, access, etc.)

Useful Links

Full details of the course (including the programme) are posted here:

Arabic Transliteration Systems

For a student starting out in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, the different transliterations systems for Arabic can be bewildering.

Academics in different countries follow special conventions to represent Arabic letters in the Latin alphabet, so it can take a while to get used to all these systems.

To be honest, they can still be confusing to a graduate student or a seasoned researcher.

Like when you’re submitting an article to a journal with a different system to your usual one. Or when you’re searching for Arabic titles on a Turkish cataloguing system for the first time (what a nightmare!).

Summary of Systems by Country

Here’s a quick overview of some of the main transliteration systems for Arabic arranged by country.


The DIN 31635 is the standard used for Arabic transliteration in German (and French, I think) scholarship. It is based on the system originally devised for the Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (German Oriental Society) by Carl Brockelmann and Hans Wehr.

It differs from the North American and British systems in that each Arabic letter is represented by a single Latin letter. This is the reason why I prefer it.

  • A version of this standard is available here (courtesy of Thomas T. Pedersen):
    This PDF file is extremely useful as it also includes the following standards: ISO 233 (1984), ISO/R 233 (1961), UN (1972), ALA-LC (1997) and EI (1960).


I’m not familiar with any official standards in Spain, but the conventions of the journal al-Qantara are available online.

United Kingdom

The Journal of Islamic Studies (published by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies) uses a system that is broadly representative of British conventions. Their transliteration system is based on that of the Encyclopaedia of Islam with some modifications.

The editors also state:

“Foreign words accepted in English usage should be spelled in accordance with the New Oxford Dictionary of English or the Concise Oxford Dictionary.”

United States

The American Library Association and Library of Congress romanization table for Arabic clearly explains the system they use.

Using LaTeX to Display Arabic Transliteration

LaTeX offers an excellent way to display any of these transliteration systems. For more information on this topic, check out my post on symbols here:

Please add any more information you have (especially for Spain and Turkey) by adding a comment to this post.

Useful Links

For those of you not using LaTeX, I can recommend the following fonts for displaying the symbols used for these transliteration systems:


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