Getting Started and Productive with LaTeX (BasicTeX) on OS X (Terminal)

LaTeX is old. That’s good because its output is second to none. However, it’s also bad as it’s less intuitive and more “clunky” than most modern technologies.

Once you get going, though, things will come along smoothly and you’ll love the results. I recently used it to create a research proposal, so I’ll share some things which made my work with LaTeX less frustrating and more efficient.

We’ll be looking at installing and getting on the road with BasicTeX; a slimmed down version of the 2+GB MacTeX. Installation of additional packages will be covered as that’s very necessary. All work will be done in the Terminal as opposed to with a GUI.

Note that this isn’t a guide on how to write LaTeX documents, so that need won’t be addressed. Rather, this will regard the experience of working with LaTeX more comfortably: with simplified; clutter-free; and change-aware/automatic compilation.

I’d recommend that after reading this you then find a writing guide to skim through (if you need to), and acquaint yourself with some of the online TeX communities and the amazing support they offer. With all this, you’ll quickly scale the learning curve and become proficient in working with LaTeX.

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