A gentle introduction to LaTeX

Short description

LaTeX is a typesetting software that can be used in the preparation of all kinds of high-quality documents, presentations and posters. Since the text processing engine is based on traditional typesetting rules, it delivers superior output when compared to most word processors (e.g. MS Word) and is on par with desktop publishing programs (e.g. InDesign, Scribus). Regarding stability and resource efficiency, it is an attractive alternative to using word processors – in particular when it comes to preparing and formatting longer texts.

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of what LaTeX is, what it is capable of, and what it can be used for. We will then proceed to take a closer look at the functionality and commands that enable participants to use the system on their own.

Target group

The workshop is primarily intended for PhD and postdoctoral researchers at the Hertie School who are interested in using LaTeX for preparing documents. If a sufficient number of places is still available, staff and interested master's students are welcome to join.


Goals and contents

The workshop will provide participants with an overview of the system so that they can decide on an individual basis whether they want to continue to use it. For those who want to pursue integrating LaTeX into their academic workflow, the workshop provides a good basis for getting started and independently exploring further options. Participants will also receive tips and tricks on how to pragmatically organise work with the system, how to learn about the tools for collaboration with non-LaTeX users, as well as how to expand their knowledge and skills.

Participants will have the opportunity to actively train their skills during the workshop. To achieve the best outcome, participants are asked to bring a section or chapter of a text they are currently working on or an article that falls into their field of research. Ideally, the text should contain a bit of everything: text, emphasised text (bold, underlined, italicised etc.), references and bibliography, a table, as well as a figure or an image.

Additional workshops on specific aspects (e.g. designing presentations, posters, illustrations etc.) might be offered in the future according to participants’ demand.



  • Dr. Alexander Haarmann studied at Bielefeld University and the University of Gothenburg and has a background in sociology and psychology. He has specialised in social policy analysis with a focus on healthcare and long-term care and received his PhD on the evolution of formal public and patient involvement in healthcare governance from the University of Bremen. Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Health Governance at the Hertie School. After being fed up with erratic changes that were inadvertently and automatically performed by the main word processor for large documents in particular, he started to get acquaintanced with LaTeX. He used the system to prepare his thesis and has used it in several projects for reports, articles, presentations and posters ever since. Given that LaTeX is not widely used outside of the natural sciences, he would like to share his knowledge and provide an overview for participants of the workshop, allowing them to decide whether LaTeX is something they would like to incorporate into their daily work.

  • Allison Koh is a PhD Researcher at the Centre for International Security. Koh's research focuses on how states engage with online opposition and applications of natural language processing in the analysis of political texts and social media. In their dissertation project, Koh investigates how states leverage social media platforms to engage in harassment campaigns against vocal critics. Koh holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Asian Studies from Tulane University and an MPP from the Hertie School. Previously, Koh worked in the Asia-Pacific Regional Director's office at Open Society Foundations and received a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Malaysia.