Introducing LaTeX For Humans…

Hi, I’m a PhD student at the University of Cambridge and have been using LaTeX for the past few years. My work is on early Baghdadi Sufism and more recently on scientific learning in Islamic Spain.

I’m writing this blog because there aren’t many good resources for beginners and non-scientists who are working with LaTeX – I’d like to change that.

If you don’t know already, LaTeX, at its simplest, is a tool for creating documents; but I’m not your typical LaTeX user…

English and Arabic in a LaTeX document
English and Arabic in a LaTeX document

I’m using LaTeX for displaying non-latin (e.g Arabic and Persian) alphabets, different transliteration styles, and its elegant, professional-quality output.

Ultimately, I use LaTeX because it’s so efficient compared with Microsoft Word – you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever tried to enter a paragraph of Arabic in an English document or manage hundreds of references in a document that’s 600 pages long.

LaTeX is largely used by the scientific community, so much of the support and documentation is for them – it can be difficult to track down information for the humantities.

I hope the information here saves you time and helps you get to grips with LaTeX and the package I use for working with Arabic script – ArabTeX.

5 thoughts on “Introducing LaTeX For Humans…”

  1. Thank you so much for starting this blog! I’m trying to format an annotated manuscript in LaTeX, and find that most guides are probably perfect for someone who wants to write equations, but nothing really addresses the issues of indexing, footnote formatting, and typefaces I’m dealing with.

    I’m looking forward to following your writing!

  2. Thanks for your comments – I hope you will find the information and links here helpful. I am by no means an expert on LaTeX, but this blog is a good way to exchange information with other people in a similar situation.

    For general information on index generation, marginal notes, fonts and more advanced formatting, I’d recommend The LaTeX Companion by Frank Mittelbach et al. See for details.

    I’m not sure what type of annotation you require for your transcribed manuscripts, but I did come across a LaTeX package for typesetting critical editions – ledmac, ledpar and ledarab. See

    I haven’t tried it. But there are some posts about it on The feedback seems to be largely positive.

  3. Dear all,

    I am a university student. I am looking for writing Quran (or verses) in Latex. I have tried Lyx to see if that works as mentioned on the following website:

    Unfortunately, the fonts appearing in dvi viewer are not even close to the script. I am a beginner in Tex/Latex and need your help in this invaluable task to write script in Latex. The package Alqalam was developed for this purpose, but I couldn’t find help “how to use it” in a simple way or by an example.

    My question is, If I have an arabic script written in unicode, how can I process it through Latex/Miktex? Which editor I need to begin with on the Windows platform? I have used Winedt but it has no bidirectional supporting.

    I will appreciate your help in this regard and looking forward for your kind reply.

  4. I really like the latex and use for my ebooks, including writing Arabic and Quran. One example can be found at

    Latex produced an excellent document.

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