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How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX (Part 1): Basic Structure

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Author: Josh Cassidy (August 2013)

This five-part series of articles uses a combination of video and textual descriptions to teach the basics of writing a thesis using LaTeX. These tutorials were first published on the original ShareLateX blog site during August 2013; consequently, today's editor interface (Overleaf) has changed considerably due to the development of ShareLaTeX and the subsequent merger of ShareLaTeX and Overleaf. However, much of the content is still relevant and teaches you some basic LaTeX—skills and expertise that will apply across all platforms.

Your thesis could be the longest and most complicated document you'll ever write, which is why it's such a good idea to use L a T e X instead of a common word processor. L a T e X makes tasks that are difficult and awkward in word processors, far simpler.

When writing something like a thesis its worth splitting up the document into multiple .tex files. It's also wise to organise the project using folders; therefore, we'll create two new folders, one for all the images used in the project and one for all the .tex files making up the main body of the thesis.

Files a.png

  • 1 The preamble
  • 2 The frontmatter
  • 3 The main body
  • 4 The endmatter
  • 5 All articles in this series

The preamble

In this example, the main.tex file is the root document and is the .tex file that will draw the whole document together. The first thing we need to choose is a document class. The article class isn't designed for writing long documents (such as a thesis) so we'll choose the report class, but we could also choose the book class.

We can also change the font size by adding square brackets into the \documentclass command and specifying the size—we'll choose 12pt. Let's also prepare the document for images by loading the graphicx package. We'll also need to tell L a T e X where to look for the images using the \graphicspath command, as we're storing them in a separate folder.

The start of our preamble now looks like this:

Now we can finish off the preamble by filling in the title, author and date information. To create the simplest title page we can add the thesis title, institution name and institution logo all into the \title command; for example:

This isn't the best way to alter the title page so we'll look at more elaborate ways of customising title pages later on in the series, but this will suffice for now.

This is what the \maketitle command now produces for us:

Title.png

The frontmatter

After the title page we need to add in an abstract, dedication, declaration and acknowledgements section. We can add each of these in on separate pages using unnumbered chapters. To do this we use the \chapter command and add an asterisk. After these sections we'll add a table of contents using the \tableofcontents command:

The main body

Now for the main body of the document. In this example we will add-in five chapters, one of which will be an introduction and another will be a conclusion. However, instead of just composing these chapters in the main .tex file, we'll create a separate .tex file for each chapter in the chapters folder. We can then fill in these chapters with text remembering to split them up into sections and subsections.

Thesisfiles.png

Then to add these chapters into the document, we use the \input command in the root document. Remember to add in chapters/ before the file name so that L a T e X knows where to find it.

The endmatter

We will now add in an appendix at the end of the document. To do this we use the \appendix command to tell L a T e X that what follows are appendices. Again We'll write the appendix in a separate file and then input it.

If we now compile the document, all our chapters will be added to the document and the table of contents will be automatically generated.

Thesiscontents.png

Now we have a basic structure for a thesis set up. In the next post I will show you how to change the page layout and add headers.

All articles in this series

  • Part 1: Basic Structure ;
  • Part 2: Page Layout ;
  • Part 3: Figures, Subfigures and Tables ;
  • Part 4: Bibliographies with BibLaTeX ;
  • Part 5: Customising Your Title Page and Abstract .
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Writing a thesis in latex.

Writing a thesis is a time-intensive endeavor. Fortunately, using LaTeX, you can focus on the content rather than the formatting of your thesis. The following article summarizes the most important aspects of writing a thesis in LaTeX, providing you with a document skeleton (at the end) and lots of additional tips and tricks.

Document class

The first choice in most cases will be the report document class:

See here for a complete list of options. Personally, I use draft a lot. It replaces figures with a box of the size of the figure. It saves you time generating the document. Furthermore, it will highlight justification and hyphenation errors ( Overfull \hbox ).

Check with your college or university. They may have an official or unofficial template/class-file to be used for writing a thesis.

Again, follow the instructions of your institution if there are any. Otherwise, LaTeX provides a few basic command for the creation of a title page.

maketitle

Use \today as \date argument to automatically generate the current date. Leave it empty in case you don’t want the date to be printed. As shown in the example, the author command can be extended to print several lines.

For a more sophisticated title page, the titlespages package has a nice collection of pre-formatted front pages. For different affiliations use the authblk package, see here for some examples.

Contents (toc/lof/lot)

Nothing special here.

The tocloft package offers great flexibility in formatting contents. See here for a selection of possibilities.

Often, the page numbers are changed to roman for this introductory part of the document and only later, for the actual content, arabic page numbering is used. This can be done by placing the following commands before and after the contents commands respectively.

LaTeX provides the abstract environment which will print “Abstract” centered as a title.

abstract

The actual content

The most important and extensive part is the content. I strongly suggest to split up every chapter into an individual file and load them in the main tex-file.

In thesis.tex:

In chapter1.tex:

This way, you can typeset single chapters or parts of the whole thesis only, by commenting out what you want to exclude. Remember, the document can only be generated from the main file (thesis.tex), since the individual chapters are missing a proper LaTeX document structure.

See here for a discussion on whether to use \input or \include .

Bibliography

The most convenient way is to use a bib-tex file that contains all your references. You can download bibtex items for articles, books, etc. from Google scholar or often directly from the journal websites.

Two packages are commonly used to personalize bibliographies, the newer biblatex and the natbib package, which has been around for many years. These packages offer great flexibility in customizing the look of a bibliography, depending on the preference in the field or the author.

Other commonly used packages

  • graphicx : Indispensable when working with figures/graphs.
  • subfig : Controlling arrangement of several figures (e.g. 2×2 matrix)
  • minitoc : Adds mini table of contents to every chapter
  • nomencl : Generate and format a nomenclature
  • listings : Source code printer for LaTeX
  • babel : Multilingual package for standard document classes
  • fancyhdr : Controlling header and footer
  • hyperref : Hypertext links for LaTeX
  • And many more

Minimal example code

I’m aware that this short post on writing a thesis only covers the very basics of a vast topic. However, it will help you getting started and focussing on the content of your thesis rather than the formatting of the document.

Share this:

16 comments.

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8. June 2012 at 7:09

I would rather recommend a documentclass like memoir or scrreprt (from KOMA-Script), since they are much more flexible than report.

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8. June 2012 at 8:12

I agree, my experience with them is limited though. Thanks for the addendum. Here is the documentation: memoir , scrreprt (KOMA script)

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8. June 2012 at 8:02

Nice post Tom. I’m actually writing a two-part (or three) on Writing the PhD thesis: the tools . Feel free to comment, I hope to update it as I write my thesis, so any suggestions are welcome.

8. June 2012 at 8:05

Thanks for the link. I just saw your post and thought I should really check out git sometimes :-). Best, Tom.

8. June 2012 at 8:10

Yes, git is awesome. It can be a bit overwhelming with all the options and commands, but if you’re just working alone, and probably on several machines, then you can do everything effortlessly with few commands.

11. June 2012 at 2:15

That’s what has kept me so far. But I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks!

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8. June 2012 at 8:08

What a great overview. Thank you, this will come handy… when I finally get myself to start writing that thesis 🙂

8. June 2012 at 14:12

Thanks and good luck with your thesis! Tom.

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9. June 2012 at 4:08

Hi, I can recommend two important packages: lineno.sty to insert linenumbers (really helpful in the debugging phase) and todonotes (allows you to insert todo-notes for things you still have to do.)

11. June 2012 at 0:48

Thanks Uwe! I wrote an article on both, lineno and todonotes . Here is the documentation: lineno and todonotes for more details.

' src=

12. June 2012 at 15:51

Thanks for the post, i’m currently writing my master thesis 🙂

A small note: it seems that subfig is deprecated for the subcaption package: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/Floats,_Figures_and_Captions#Subfloats

12. June 2012 at 16:05

Hey, thanks for the tip. Too bad they don’t say anything in the documentation apart from the fact that the packages are not compatible.

' src=

1. August 2012 at 21:11

good thesis template can be also found here (free): http://enjobs.org/index.php/downloads2

including living headers, empty pages, two-sided with front and main matter as well as a complete structure

2. August 2012 at 11:03

Thanks for the link to the thesis template!

' src=

15. November 2012 at 22:21

Hi Tom, I’m writing a report on spanish in LaTex, using emacs, auctex, aspell (~170pags. ~70 files included by now) and this blog is my savior every time because I’m quite new with all these.

The question: Is there anyway (other than \- in every occurrence) to define the correct hyphenation for accented words (non english characters like é)? I have three o four accented words, about the subject of my report, that occur near 100 times each, across several files, and the \hyphenation{} command can’t handle these.

20. November 2012 at 3:47

I was wondering what packages you load in your preamble. For a better hyphenation (and easier typing), you should use these packages:

See here for more details.

If this doesn’t help, please provide a minimal working example to illustrate the problem.

Thanks, Tom.

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Tips and tools for writing your LaTeX thesis or dissertation in Overleaf, including templates, managing references , and getting started guides.

Managing References

BibTeX is a file format used for lists of references for LaTeX documents. Many citation management tools support the ability to export and import lists of references in .bib format. Some reference management tools can generate BibTeX files of your library or folders for use in your LaTeX documents.

LaTeX on Wikibooks has a Bibliography Management page.

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View a video tutorial on how to include a bibliography using BibTeX  here

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How to get started writing your thesis in LaTeX

Writing a thesis or dissertation in LaTeX can be challenging, but the end result is well worth it - nothing looks as good as a LaTeX-produced pdf, and for large documents it's a lot easier than fighting with formatting and cross-referencing in MS Word. Review this video from Overleaf to help you get started writing your thesis in LaTeX, using a standard thesis template from the Overleaf Gallery .

You can upload your own thesis template to the Overleaf Gallery if your university provides a set of LaTeX template files or you may find your university's thesis template already in the Overleaf Gallery.

This video assumes you've used LaTeX before and are familiar with the standard commands (see our other tutorial videos  if not), and focuses on how to work with a large project split over multiple files.

Add Institutional Library contact info here.

Contact Overleaf   or email [email protected]

5-part Guide on How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX

5-part LaTeX Thesis Writing Guide

Part 1: Basic Structure corresponding  video

Part 2: Page Layout corresponding  video

Part 3: Figures, Subfigures and Tables   corresponding video

Part 4: Bibliographies with Biblatex corresponding video

Part 5: Customizing Your Title Page and Abstract corresponding video

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Tips and tools for writing your LaTeX thesis or dissertation in  Overleaf, including templates, managing references , and getting started guides.

Managing References

BibTeX  is a file format used for lists of references for  LaTeX  documents. Many citation management tools support the ability to export and import lists of references in .bib format. Some reference management tools can generate  BibTeX  files of your library or folders for use in your  LaTeX  documents.

LaTeX on Wikibooks   has a  Bibliography Management  page.

Find list of BibTeX styles available on Overleaf   here

View a video tutorial on how to include a bibliography using BibTeX  here

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Getting Started with Your Thesis or Dissertation

How to get started writing your thesis in LaTeX

Writing a thesis or dissertation in LaTeX can be challenging, but the end result is well worth it - nothing looks as good as a LaTeX-produced pdf, and for large documents it's a lot easier than fighting with formatting and cross-referencing in MS Word. Review this video from Overleaf to help you get started writing your thesis in LaTeX, using a standard thesis template from the  Overleaf Gallery .

You can  upload your own thesis template to the Overleaf Gallery   if your university provides a set of LaTeX template files or you may find your university's thesis template already in the Overleaf Gallery.

This video assumes you've used LaTeX before and are familiar with the standard commands (see our other  tutorial videos   if not), and focuses on how to work with a large project split over multiple files.

How to Write your Thesis/Dissertation in LaTeX: A Five-Part Guide

Five-Part LaTeX Thesis/Dissertation  Writing Guide

Part 1: Basic Structure   corresponding  video

Part 2: Page Layout   corresponding  video

Part 3: Figures, Subfigures and Tables   corresponding  video

Part 4: Bibliographies with Biblatex  corresponding  video

Part 5: Customizing Your Title Page and Abstract   corresponding  video

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For formatting instructions and requirements see the Formatting section of the School of Graduate Studies website. The thesis style template for LaTeX ( ut-thesis ) implements these requirements. You are not required to use the template, but using it will make most of the formatting requirements easier to meet.

►► Thesis template for LaTeX .

Below are some general formatting tips for drafting your thesis in LaTeX.  In addition, there are other supports available:

  • Regular LaTeX workshops are offered via the library, watch the library workshop calendar at https://libcal.library.utoronto.ca/
  • With questions about LaTeX formatting, contact Map and Data Library (MDL) using this form
  • There are also great resources for learning LaTeX available via Overleaf

Many common problems have been solved on the TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange Q & A Forum

LaTeX Template

To use the LaTeX and ut-thesis , you need two things: a LaTeX distribution (compiles your code), and an editor (where you write your code). Two main approaches are:

  • Overleaf : is a web-based platform that combines a distribution (TeX Live) and an editor. It is beginner-friendly (minimal set-up) and some people prefer a cloud-based platform. However, manually uploading graphics and managing a bibliographic database can be tedious, especially for large projects like a thesis.
  • A LaTeX distribution can be installed as described here . ut-thesis can then be installed either: a) initially, with the distribution; b) automatically when you try to compile a document using \usepackage{ut-thesis} ; or manually via graphical or terminal-based package manager for the distribution.
  • The LaTeX distribution allows you to compile code, but provides no tools for writing (e.g. syntax highlighting, hotkeys, command completion, etc.). There are many editor options that provide these features. TeXstudio is one popular option.

Occasionally, the version of ut-thesis on GitHub  may be more up-to-date than the popular distributions (especially yearly TeX Live), including small bug fixes. To use the GitHub version, you can download the file ut-thesis.cls (and maybe the documentation ut-thesis .pdf ) and place it in your working directory. This will take priority over any other versions of ut-thesis on your system while in this directory.

LaTeX Formatting Tips

Here are a few tips & tricks for formatting your thesis in LateX.

Document Structure

Using the ut-thesis document class, a minimal example thesis might look like:

\documentclass{ut-thesis} \author {Your Name} \title {Thesis Title} \degree {Doctor of Philosophy} \department {LaTeX} \gradyear {2020} \begin {document}   \frontmatter   \maketitle   \begin {abstract}     % abstract goes here   \end {abstract}   \tableofcontents   \mainmatter   % main chapters go here   % references go here   \appendix   % appendices go here \end {document}

►►  A larger example is available on GitHub here .

You may want to consider splitting your code into multiple files. The contents of each file can then be added using \input{filename} .

The usual commands for document hierarchy are available like \chapter , \section , \subsection , \subsubsection , and \paragraph . To control which appear in the \tableofcontents , you can use \setcounter{tocdepth}{i} , where i = 2 includes up to \subsection , etc. For unnumbered sections, use \section* , etc. No component should be empty, such as \section{...} immediately followed by \subsection{...} .

Note: In the examples below, we denote the preamble vs body like:

preamble code --- body code

Tables & Figures

In LaTeX, tables and figures are environments called “floats”, and they usually don’t appear exactly where you have them in the code. This is to avoid awkward whitespace. Float environments are used like \begin{env} ... \end{env} , where the entire content ... will move with the float. If you really need a float to appear exactly “here”, you can use:

\usepackage{float} --- \begin{ figure}[H] ... \end {figure}

Most other environments (like equation) do not float.

A LaTeX table as a numbered float is distinct from tabular data. So, a typical table might look like:

\usepackage{booktabs} --- \begin {table}   \centering   \caption {The table caption}   \begin {tabular}{crll}     i &   Name & A &  B \\     1 &  First & 1 &  2 \\     2 & Second & 3 &  5 \\     3 &  Third & 8 & 13   \end {tabular} \end {table}

The & separates cells and \\ makes a new row. The {crll} specifies four columns: 1 centred, 1 right-aligned, and 2 left-aligned.

Fancy Tables

Some helpful packages for creating more advanced tabular data:

  • booktabs : provides the commands \toprule , \midrile , and \bottomrule , which add horizontal lines of slightly different weights.
  • multicol : provides the command \multicolumn{2}{r}{...} to “merge” 2 cells horizontally with the content ... , centred.
  • multirow : provides the command \multirow{2}{*}{...} , to “merge” 2 cells vertically with the content ... , having width computed automatically (*).

A LaTeX figure is similarly distinct from graphical content. To include graphics, it’s best to use the command \includegraphics from the graphicx package. Then, a typical figure might look like:

\usepackage{graphicx} --- \begin {figure}   \centering   \includegraphics[width=.6 \textwidth ]{figurename} \end {figure}

Here we use .6\textwidth to make the graphic 60% the width of the main text.

By default, graphicx will look for figurename in the same folder as main.tex ; if you need to add other folders, you can use \graphicspath{{folder1/}{folder2/}...} .

The preferred package for subfigures is subcaption ; you can use it like:

\usepackage{subcaption} --- \begin {figure} % or table, then subtable below   \begin {subfigure}{0.5 \textwidth }     \includegraphics[width= \textwidth ]{figureA}     \caption {First subcaption}   \end {subfigure}   \begin {subfigure}{0.5 \textwidth }     \includegraphics[width= \textwidth ]{figureB}     \caption {Second subcaption}   \end {subfigure}   \caption {Overall figure caption} \end {figure}

This makes two subfigures each 50% of the text width, with respective subcaptions, plus an overall figure caption.

Math can be added inline with body text like $E = m c^2$ , or as a standalone equation like:

\begin {equation}   E = m c^2 \end {equation}

A complete guide to math is beyond our scope here; again, Overleaf provides a great set of resources to get started.

Cross References

We recommend using the hyperref package to make clickable links within your thesis, such as the table of contents, and references to equations, tables, figures, and other sections.

A cross-reference label can be added to a section or float environment using \label{key} , and referenced elsewhere using \ref{key} . The key will not appear in the final document (unless there is an error), so we recommend a naming convention like fig:diagram , tab:summary , or intro:back for \section{Background} within \chapter{Intro} , for example. We also recommend using a non-breaking space ~ like Figure~\ref{fig:diagram} , so that a linebreak will not separate “Figure” and the number.

You may need to compile multiple times to resolve cross-references (and citations). However, this occurs by default as needed in most editors.

The LaTeX package tikz provides excellent tools for drawing diagrams and even plotting basic math functions. Here is one small example:

\usepackage{tikz} --- \begin {tikzpicture}   \node [red,circle]  (a) at (0,0) {A};   \node [blue,square] (b) at (1,0) {B};   \draw [dotted,->]   (a) -- node[above]{ $ \alpha $ } (b); \end {tikzpicture}

Don’t forget semicolons after every command, or else you will get stuck while compiling.

There are several options for managing references in LaTeX. We recommend the most modern package: biblatex , with the biber backend.  A helpful overview is given here .

Assuming you have a file called references.bib that looks like:

@article{Lastname2020,   title = {The article title},   author = {Lastname, First and Last2, First2 and Last3 and First3},   journal = {Journal Name},   year = {2020},   vol = {99},   no = {1} } ...

then you can cite the reference Lastname2020 using biblatex like:

\usepackage[backend=biber]{biblatex} \addbibresource {references.bib} --- \cite {Lastname2020} ... \printbibliography

Depending on what editor you’re using to compile, this may work straight away. If not, you may need to update your compiling command to:

pdflatex main && biber main && pdflatex main && pdflatex main

Assuming your document is called main.tex . This is because biber is a separate tool from pdflatex . So in the command above, we first identify the cited sources using pdflatex , then collect the reference information using biber , then finish compiling the document using pdflatex , and then we compile once more in case anything got missed.

There are many options when loading biblatex to configure the reference formatting; it’s best to search the CTAN documentation for what you want to do.

Windows users may find that biber.exe or bibtex.exe get silently blocked by some antivirus software. Usually, an exception can be added within the antivirus software to allow these programs to run.

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Writing a thesis in latex.

This article is a guide to constructing a decent parent file for a thesis or dissertation compiled in Latex. The specific details implemented here, and included in the example files, are those set out by the guidelines for submission to the University of Nottingham, but can be easily amended to suit any sensible requirements.

Considerable attention has been paid to presenting the final document as a PDF file, which keeps the file size manageable (compared to postscript) and allows groovy add-ons such as hyperlinks and back-referencing. However, several hacks are required to attain good functionality from your PDF file and these can give the latex code a mysterious (and messy) appearance in places. While I highly recommend the inclusion of the PDF-related commands, they are not strictly necessary and can be ignored especially if you are new to Latex.

Note for Windows users

The code outlined below was designed and implemented on the unix system at Nottingham. For those of you unfortunate enough to be running a Windows box, a number of problems may arise when using the below code:

First off, not all the packages used will be present and will need to be installed. Probably the easiest way to do this is to google the package name with the extension .sty and save this file in the C:\VTEX\l2e\\ directory of your machine. Note that for the natbib package, you will also need to download the relevant .bst file, which in this case is unsrtnat.bst .

Also, many of the packages that are installed locally may need updating. For instance, the computers I have tested on both have old versions of the geometry and caption packages, which cause Latex to return errors. To resolve these problems, either download the latest versions, or remove the includefoot option from the geometry package and set the bottom margin to 1.4in.

Also, the code for compiling to PDF does not work so well in Windows, and so it is recommended that Windows users use the template without PDF code.

Requirements

The guidelines for theses to be submitted to the University of Nottingham specify that:

  • the document should be presented on single-sided a4 paper and typeset in a double-spaced size 10-12 font;
  • the left-hand margin should be at least 1.5 inches (4cm) to allow for binding;
  • the other three margins should be at least 1 inch (2.5cm).

Other settings such as the way chapter headings are formatted, and whether headers are included, are not specified and are up to the user. In this case, we’ll install headers and tinker with the chapter formatting.

Template files

Here are the template files which this page explains:

  • thesis_without_pdfcode.tex
  • thesis_with_pdfcode.tex

The appearance of both these files on the printed page will be identical; however after compilation into PDF (see the section below) and opening in Adobe Acrobat (or a similar PDF reader), the advantages that come with the PDF format will be apparent.

  • thesis_without_pdfcode.pdf
  • thesis_with_pdfcode.pdf

The rest of this page is devoted to explaining the code in these files.

Document structure

The document begins in a standard and entirely self-explanatory manner.

Preamble: essential packages

Next, the essential packages are loaded:

where the geometry package has been loaded to allow the margins to be set in a neat and consistent way. The non-obvious option includefoot ensures that the footer (which only contains the pagenumber) is included in the page and is thus 1 inch above the bottom of the page. Note that this option is only available in recent versions of the package: if you’re using an old version and can’t/won’t upgrade, then remove the offending option and extend the bottom margin to 1.4in. headheight=13.6pt is included due to to ensure compatibility with the fancyhdr package (and is not required if you don’t use the fancyhdr package). Also quite essential is the natbib package:

where the various options ensure that references appear in the document as:

…boiled dog can do maths claims experimenter [10,12,15-18].

Alternative referencing styles are easily implemented, see the natbib help file for more details. In fact, to use the natbib package, you’ll have to read at least a few lines of the help file so you understand the difference between \citet and \citep , and I insist you do that now.

Preamble: custom captions (optional)

We now set the figure captions to be elegant and dignified:

Note that early versions of this package don’t support the margin= and tableposition= options; in this case, these trimmings will have to be ignored.

Preamble: custom fonts (optional)

You can also choose an alternative font for both the text and the mathematical characters. This can be achieved by:

Aside from mathpazo , there are several other fonts available, such as chancery , palatino and times (all loaded in the same way).

Preamble: fancy headers (optional)

Feeling a little devil-may-care? If so, you’ll probably want to install some elegant headers along each page. This is easily achieved through the fancyhdr package:

The final complicated-looking three lines simply ensure that the headings for appendices are formatted correctly. (Without these lines, what should read “Appendix A” is set as “Chapter A”.)

Preamble: customised chapter/section headings (optional)

We now make use of several customisation options that are bundled with the sectsty package.

These alter the appearance of the first page of each chapter to have a centred title, with the word “chapter” set in small capitals immediately above. Feel free to employ your own individual and highly refined tastes here in choosing your own chapter/section settings.

Preamble: pdf options (optional)

If you want to publish your thesis on the internet, or even just to email it to someone, then you’ll want to store it in the ubiquitous PDF format. Doing so offers some neat facilities, such as hyperlinking, which are implemented by the hyperref package:

There are various other options you can pass to your favourite PDF reader via the \hypersetup command, such as pdftitle , pdfauthor and pdfsubject ; however, they’re not really essential. Note that the hyperlink colours have all been set to black for consistent printing. Should you want to distribute your thesis over the web, then it would be advisable to set these colours to red or something similarly vibrant and exciting.

Things get a little messy now as a hack is required to ensure the hyperlinks actually jump to the right place.

No need to worry about this code, let’s just move straight on.

Preamble: page layout

We now set various parameters to alter the general page layout:

The first two of these commands alter the paragraph formatting so that new paragraphs are not indented but separated from the previous one by a small amount of whitespace; the third sets the line spacing. The sharp-eyed among you will notice the discrepancy between our chosen line-spacing and that dictated by the university guidelines. However, no matter how poor your eyesight is, you’ll quickly appreciate that true double line-spacing (set with \renewcommand(\baselinestretch}{2} ) looks rubbish. In addition, Nottingham University are perfectly happy to accept theses set with the above line-spacing, which is more pleasing to the eye.

Some final settings:

Set which chapters to include when Latex is next run. The advantage of this method is that all your cross-references are remembered and Latex does not spit out loads of warnings.

Main matter

We now begin the document in earnest and define a suitable title:

followed by a dedication:

We now construct an abstract:

some acknowledgements:

and a contents page:

Now, we alter the pagenumbering to arabic and point to the relevant chapter files:

All your chapter files should be included here; to save time when editing, use the \includeonly command to specify which chapters to compile.

Finally, we make sure there is a link to the references section in the table of contents and reference the correct bibiography file (which in this case is called bibliography.bib ).

And there we have it: a complete thesis parent file that not only looks good on the printed page, but is fully functional and hyperlinked in PDF format.

Compiling to PDF

Whether you’ve included all the red PDF commands or not, you can convert your TEX file to PDF by running (in unix):

The additional argument to ps2pdf is required as the default paper size is US Letter. Note that you will probably need to bibtex your thesis file before running latex for the final time.

For Windows, first open a command window by going Start->Run and entering cmd . Provided MiKTeX and GhostScript are correctly installed then the necessary commands are:

The syntax for ps2pdf is slightly different in Windows compared to Unix - and note that the output pdf filename MUST be specified, else the ps file is overwritten and corrupted.

Something wrong? Suggest an improvement or add a comment (see article history ) Tagged with: latex Filed in: guides

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Copyright © 2005-2023 David Winterbottom Content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .

The TeX FAQ

Frequently Asked Question List for TeX

Formatting a thesis in LaTeX

Thesis styles are usually very specific to your university, so it’s usually not profitable to ask around for a package outside your own university. Since many universities (in their eccentric way) still require double-spaced thesis text, you may also need separately to set up double spacing .

If you want to write a new thesis class of your own, a good place to start is the University of California style, but remember that it’s often difficult to produce a thesis that both looks good and conforms with the style that your univeristy demands.

FAQ ID: Q-thesis Tags:  classes

University of Rhode Island

  • Future Students
  • Parents and Families

College of Engineering

  • Research and Facilities
  • Departments

Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

Step 3: verify that everything works.

Now that you have LaTeX, an appropriate editor, and the template files, we will now verify that you have a functioning setup. The way we will verify the setup is to have you generate the thesis from the example files included in the template.

You should not go any further in this guide until you confirm that your setup is correct.

Configure the editor to use pdfLaTeX

Throughout this guide, we will assume that you are using pdfLaTeX to generate your thesis. Some editors default to using LaTeX by default, so before continuing, make sure your editor is set to use pdfLaTeX.

Generating the Thesis

Perform the following steps to generate the pdf version of the example thesis.

  • In your editor, open the file thesis.tex and run pdfLaTeX on it.
  • Open the file chapter1.tex and run BibTeX on it.
  • Open the file thesisbib.tex and run BibTeX on it.
  • Select the file thesis.tex and run pdfLaTeX on it twice .
  • View the pdf file thesis.pdf .

If the document generated using the unmodified template files looks like this this , you are done. Check the following list to make sure your generated thesis is correct.

  • The document should contain exactly six pages.
  • There should be no page numbers on the first three pages.
  • The fourth page should be numbered iii.
  • The fifth and sixth pages should be numbered 1 and 2 respectively.
  • The list of references should appear at the end of Chapter 1 on the same page, and contain two entries.
  • The two references at the end of the only sentence in chapter 1 should be [1, 2] and not [?, ?].
  • The bibliography should be the last page of the thesis and contain three entries. It should also be listed in the table of contents as being page 2.

What is Going on

The first time you run pdfLaTeX, it generates .aux files which contain the information needed to create the bibliography and lists of references, as well as information needed to create the table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables. When you run BibTeX on chapter1.tex it uses the file chapter1.aux to generate the list of references for that chapter. When you run BibTeX on thesisbib.tex it uses the file thesisbib.aux to generate the bibliography. The next time you run pdfLaTeX, it will include the list of references and bibliography, but citations will not be resolved, and the table of contents will be incomplete. The final time you run pdfLaTeX, all references will be resolved and the table of contents will be correct.

IMAGES

  1. Basic Latex Template

    thesis in latex

  2. Thesis Template Latex

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  3. How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX (Part 5): Customising Your Title Page

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  4. tcolorbox

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  5. Thesis header size

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  6. LaTeX Templates

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VIDEO

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  2. 1 Let's Get Started

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  4. Latex: Thesis Writing: Explained in urdu

  5. Latex# model#learn latex#latex tutorial#latex full course#latex figures#an introduction to overleaf#

  6. LaTeX Tutorial 3

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX (Part 1): Basic Structure

    How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX (Part 1): Basic Structure Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Author: Josh Cassidy (August 2013) This five-part series of articles uses a combination of video and textual descriptions to teach the basics of writing a thesis using LaTeX.

  2. Writing a thesis in LaTeX

    Writing a thesis in LaTeX 8. June 2012 by tom 16 Comments Writing a thesis is a time-intensive endeavor. Fortunately, using LaTeX, you can focus on the content rather than the formatting of your thesis.

  3. LibGuides: Overleaf for LaTeX Theses & Dissertations: Home

    How to get started writing your thesis in LaTeX Writing a thesis or dissertation in LaTeX can be challenging, but the end result is well worth it - nothing looks as good as a LaTeX-produced pdf, and for large documents it's a lot easier than fighting with formatting and cross-referencing in MS Word.

  4. How to write a thesis using LaTeX **full tutorial**

    Get started with LaTeX using Overleaf: https://www.overleaf.com/?utm_source=yt&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=im22tb. My thanks to Overleaf for sponsoring t...

  5. LaTeX Theses and Dissertations

    How to get started writing your thesis in LaTeX Writing a thesis or dissertation in LaTeX can be challenging, but the end result is well worth it - nothing looks as good as a LaTeX-produced pdf, and for large documents it's a lot easier than fighting with formatting and cross-referencing in MS Word.

  6. Formatting in LaTeX

    To use the LaTeX and ut-thesis, you need two things: a LaTeX distribution (compiles your code), and an editor (where you write your code). Two main approaches are: Overleaf: is a web-based platform that combines a distribution (TeX Live) and an editor. It is beginner-friendly (minimal set-up) and some people prefer a cloud-based platform.

  7. PDF Writing a thesis with LATEX

    Luckily, when using the right commands, LATEX does a very good job. The very first thing to do is to avoid commands like \clearpage and let LATEX automatically choose the position of the floating objects: while writing the thesis, the author should be focused only on the content and not be concerned with the layout.

  8. Writing a Thesis in LaTeX

    For Windows, first open a command window by going Start->Run and entering cmd. Provided MiKTeX and GhostScript are correctly installed then the necessary commands are: > latex thesis_with_pdfcode.tex > dvips thesis_with_pdfcode.dvi > ps2pdf.bat -sPAPERSIZE#a4 thesis_with_pdfcode.ps thesis_with_pdfcode.pdf.

  9. Formatting a thesis in LaTeX

    Formatting a thesis in LaTeX. Thesis styles are usually very specific to your university, so it's usually not profitable to ask around for a package outside your own university. Since many universities (in their eccentric way) still require double-spaced thesis text, you may also need separately to set up double spacing. If you want to write ...

  10. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

    Start by opening the file thesis.tex in your editor. Setting the Class Options The first line of the file will be: \documentclass {urithesis} This tells LaTeX to use the urithesis document class with all default options. There are many options that that can be given, but for now we will only concern ourselves with one.

  11. LaTeX templates for writing a thesis

    LaTeX templates for writing a thesis Asked 13 years, 7 months ago Modified 2 years, 11 months ago Viewed 78k times 100 Aside from CTAN, what are good resources/repositories for Latex templates? In particular, I'm looking for some pretty Thesis templates (I'm familiar with classicthesis) templates big-list thesis resources repositories Share

  12. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX: FAQ

    3.2 How do I add typed signatures to the electronic copy? Add the options electronic to the documentclass command, as in. \documentclass [electronic] {urithesis} then make sure the \signature {} and \deansignature {} statements are correct in the file thesis.tex. 4. Package information.

  13. How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX pt 1

    In this video series we're going to show you how to create a thesis using LaTeX. In this first video we look at getting the basic document structure right.To...

  14. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

    Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX Step 1: Install LaTeX and a LaTeX Aware Editor LaTeX is not a word processor, it is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is most often used for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents, but it can be used for almost any form of publishing.

  15. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

    Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX The Bibliography and List of References The Graduate School requires a Bibliography which includes all the literature cited for the complete thesis or dissertation. Quoting from the Graduate School's Guidelines for the Format of Theses and Dissertations: "Every thesis in Standard Format must contain a Bibliography which lists […]

  16. Getting Started with LaTeX

    An introduction to the typesetting system LaTeX will be provided using the online editor Overleaf. LaTeX allows advanced document preparation and typesetting of complex mathematical formulas. Overleaf offers advanced functionality like collaborative editing and versioning. Peer consultations and troubleshooting also offered throughout the semest...

  17. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

    Perform the following steps to generate the pdf version of the example thesis. In your editor, open the file thesis.tex and run pdfLaTeX on it. Open the file chapter1.tex and run BibTeX on it. Open the file thesisbib.tex and run BibTeX on it. Select the file thesis.tex and run pdfLaTeX on it twice. View the pdf file thesis.pdf.