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Digital tools for research

Find information on digital tools to analyse and visualise data and text.

What is LaTeX and BibTeX?


LaTeX (pronounced "Lah-tech" or "Lay-tech") is based on the typesetting system TeX, and is a document preparation language mainly used by scientists, engineers and other technical writers to typeset mathematical equations, formulae, data and images. To create LaTeX documents, a backend system or TeX distribution is required to compile the LaTeX code (.tex file), and a text editor is also needed to create and publish the final document (usually a .pdf file).

See The LaTeX Project site for more information about getting started with LaTeX. 

LaTeX Tutorial pt 1 (4:29 mins) by ShareLaTeX (YouTube)


BibTeX (pronounced "Bib-tech") is the reference management tool for LaTeX, and by storing references in plain text .bib files and associating each with a unique key, BibTeX simplifies citations in the main LaTeX document. BibTeX files can also be exported from library databases and reference managers such as EndNote, Zotero and Mendeley.

See the BibTeX site and The quick BibTeX guide for more information about getting started with BibTeX. 

Referencing with BibTeX (35:03 mins) by University of Manitoba Libraries (YouTube)

LaTeX editors and distributions


An editing tool and/or TeX distribution system is required to write and render the LaTeX content of a document ready for publication. There are a wide variety of LaTeX editors and distributions available, some free and some fee based. For an extensive list of editors, see the LaTeX Wikibook Editors page.  

See the following tabs for some examples of distributions, desktop editors and online editors. 


There are a number of programs that assist with compiling LaTeX code called TeX distributions, and these vary according to your operating system. Distribution systems enable the compiling of .tex files into readable documents. 

Note: If you use a desktop editor, you may also need to download and install a distribution system. See the Desktop editors tab for more information. 

The recommended distributions for each of the major operating systems are:

Desktop editors

LaTeX desktop editors are often used (along with a distribution system) to create the .tex file itself. Desktop editors often include help menus, wizards for creating LaTeX objects, drop-down menus for inserting symbols or altering text, and many other features that will support both new and experienced LaTeX users. 

Note: If you use a desktop editor, you may also need to download and install a distribution system. See the Distributions tab for more information. 

Online editors

Online editors tend to have an "all-in-one" functionality, and enable the writing, editing and publishing of scientific papers. Some online editors offer collaborative writing and publishing, as well as the ability to view the formatted version as you work in the editor interface.


Overleaf is a cloud-based LaTeX editor and compiler which allows for collaboration. Overleaf offers both free (limited) and subscription-based plans for individual users.


Authorea is a cloud-based platform for collaborative academic writing which includes LaTeX as an option. A limited free version, or subscription version is available to individuals.

LaTeX and BibTeX training resources and support

LaTeX training resources

BibTeX training resources