Welcome to this tutorial on how to write letters using latex You can see three windows: These correspond to the three distinct phases in typesetting through latex: creation of source file, compilation to produce the pdf file and viewing it through a pdf reader. I am using the free pdf reader “Skim” in Mac OSX because it automatically loads the latest pdf file after every compilation. There are pdf browers in Linux and also in windows that have this capability. Let us go through the source file and see what each command does. The first line says that this belongs to letter document class. 12 point is the text size. The first component of the letter is the ‘from address’. It appears between the braces here The result of this is seen in the top right hand corner of the output file. Two consecutive slashes start a new line. If I remove the double slashes from here – save, compile using pdflatex – you can see that these two lines get merged in one line. Previously with a double slash we asked latex to split the line. Now these reverse slashes are no longer there, so latex does not know that it has to break the line there. Let me put the slashes back. Save, Compile. It is to be understood, that after every change we need to save before compilation. Let us see what happens when we give an empty address. Let me just come here, mark it, go to the end of the line, delete it, save it, compile it. You can see that the from address has disappeared from here. Note that today’s date appears automatically in American style: month, date and then year. This is obtained throught the command slash date slash today. We can prevent the automatic appearance of the date with an empty list, as we do now. Save. Compile. The date has gone. Suppose that we want to put our own date, let us enter it with date first as follows. 9th July 2007, Save, Compile. Got the date. This is the date on which this tutorial was created the first time. On compiling it, we see this Indian format appearing in the output file. Let us put the address back. And the document is back to the previous state by recompiling. The signature commands argument appears at the bottom of the letter. We begin the document and then the letter. The ‘to address’ comes first. It appears in the top left hand corner of the output. I have addressed this to Mr. N. K. Sinha. The command ‘slash opening’ is used to address the recipient. You may have already noticed that all latex commands begin with a reverse slash. The text of the letter comes next. One starts a new paragraph in latex through a blank line as we show now. Let me come here. Right now this sentence starting at ‘we are’ is here. Let’s open. Let’s take this to the next line. I have left a blank line. Let me save this. Compile this. You can see that this has gone to a new paragraph With a new paragraph, the letter has gone to two pages. Let us see if the font size is reduced to 10, we can bring the letter back to one page. Let me do that now Save. Compile. You can see that the whole letter has come to one page. Let me put this back to 12 pt. And let me also remove this paragraph bit. And let me compile this. Okay. I now want to explain the itemize environment which is created with a pair of begin and end itemize commands. Every piece of text that starts with a ‘slash item’ appears in a bulleted form. Can I get numbers in the place of bullets here? You just have to change the itemize into enumerate as I do now. Let me just change this to enumerate. Save it. Of course! It is always a good idea to save as often as possible. Let me compile this again. You can see that the bullets have become numbers now. In closing, I have included, ‘Yours sincerely’, which comes here. We have already talked about the signature. Finally, the command cc helps mark this letter to other recipients. I end the letter with ‘end letter’ command and then the document is completed with the ‘end document’ command. Feel free to modify the content and try them out. Until you become confident, change only one thing at a time and make sure by immediate compilation that whatever you have done is correct. Although I talked about the letter writing process in a Mac, the same source file will work in all Latex systems including those in Linux and Windows operation systems. This brings us to the end of this tutorial. Thanks for listening. This is —————(your name) from ———————(Affiliation and name of the place) signing off. Good bye.