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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Natural Resource Management Research

Title: LaTeX for Agricultural Extension Professionals

item Cannayen, Igathinathane
item Hellevang, Kenneth
item Backer, Leslie
item Liebig, Mark
item Nichols, Kristine

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2012
Publication Date: 8/27/2012
Citation: Cannayen, I., Hellevang, K., Backer, L., Liebig, M.A., Nichols, K.A. 2012. LaTeX for Agricultural Extension Professionals. Meeting Proceedings. Paper #121337356.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural extension professionals reach their clientele though various forms of printed and online resources. In doing so, they go through all stages of document preparation (e.g., writing, formatting, and layout) while the final product is edited and typeset by production specialists using expensive and highly specialized software with unique format and style guidelines specific to the “Extension Service” of the respective university. By using LATEX, an open source document preparation system, extension professionals can create PDF documents from scratch or by using available templates that match or surpass the professional, typeset quality characteristic of highly specialized software. With experience, extension professionals can create sophisticated outreach documents, automate several aspects of document preparation, and facilitate the creation of supplementary documents through the development of templates. Collectively, LATEX provides extension professionals with a tool to produce professional quality documents in less time, thereby potentially increasing the effectiveness of extension programs.

Technical Abstract: LaTeX is a free open source document preparation system for professional quality documents and presentation materials. Extension professionals, trying to reach their audience though various forms of printed and online resources, can benefit from the vast potential of LaTeX. Using LaTeX empowers the extension professionals to create their own documents from start to finish, with good timing and exceptional qualities. This article describes the typesetting process, obtaining and installing LaTeX, creating and running a simple document, creating a scientific journal paper as an example though a template, and other advanced features suitable for extension publications. Such advanced features as side-by-side and wrapped figures, background figures, minipages, oral presentation slides, conference posters, books, and newsletters that use appropriate LaTeX classes and packages were explained with examples, commands and principles involved. Sections of fully functional LaTeX codes and graphics to reproduce generated outputs were presented. Although there is some learning involved to use LaTeX, the benefits may outweigh the effort. With experience, professionals can create more sophisticated documents, automate several aspects of document preparation, and make it easy for others to use by creating templates. The impact of extension activities through publications might be ensured through the timely and professional quality output of LaTeX, as the role of typesetters can be eliminated and the authors can directly produce high-quality final output.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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