LaTeX is the default standard for formatting documents in astronomy. Journals now generally also accept Microsoft Word as well as LaTeX, but the use of LaTeX is extremely widespread. Note that LaTeX differs from Word in that it is not WYSIWYG; it gets processed from an input file into an output format (usually PDF). Note that LaTeX is an extension of the more fundamental TeX, but it is rare to see pure TeX used these days.

Basic LaTeX: source file with extension .tex, that includes:

AASTeX: documentclass for astronomical publications, e.g., aastex, emulateapj. deluxetable environment for tables (including multi-page). See authors guide .

Labels for numbered objects

To allow for arbitrary moving/addition/deletion of figures, tables, sections, etc., do not build in numbering into the text. Instead use the \label{labelname} command to label each entity, and automatically reference the correct numerical identification using \ref{labelname}. Note that using these will require two passes through latex, to register the labels correctly. Note that, in the figure environment, the label command must come after the caption command!

References in LaTeX

Instead of building in explicit references in text, perhaps repeating multiple times, and then adding full reference in reference section, use bibitems: create the reference once, give it an identifier, and reference it in the text by the identifier using \citep, \citet, \citealt (the natbib package provides an extension beyond the standard LaTeX commands). You can create the bibitem manually (\bibitem{identifier} reference), or, better yet, use BiBTeX reference information (available from ADS!) and automatically create the bibitems.

Refer to an article inline (with year in parenthesis) using \citet{id}. Refer to an article where author and year are both in parenthees using \citep{id}.

\bibliography{ref} % at end of document

Reference for putting it all together

For examples of everything, see the AASTEX authors guide .

``Compiling" LaTeX

Convert a .tex file into PDF:
pdflatex file
Using bibtex, sequence is: prepare a doc.text file with the document and a ref.bib file with a bunch of BibTeX entries (e.g., from ADS), then:

pdflatex doc
bibtex doc
pdflatex doc
pdflatex doc
Can use a Makefile to simplify!

latex editors/environment: kile. On line resources for sharing/editing/viewing LaTeX: sharelatex / overleaf , authorea , etc.

spell checking: aspell, hunspell. ALWAYS SPELL CHECK YOUR DOCUMENTS

Practice: create a LaTeX document. Add tables, figures, references, etc.!