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Academic writing and LaTeX


Writing Guides

The ability to write and communicate clearly is crucial to academic success. The Library holds many books and ebooks that will help you with scientific writing, subject-specific software and programming languages.

The Academic Phrasebank is a highly-recommended resource for academic writers. It aims to provide you with examples of some of the phraseological ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing organised according to the main sections of a research paper or dissertation.

In addition, the University's Study Skills service is there to assist with your studies and to help develop and enhance the skills that will make you better prepared for university.



LaTeX is the de facto standard software to write scientific reports. It is an add-on to the famous TeX program by Donald Knuth, and gives it a more friendly and approachable face. You can use LaTeX to produce high-quality written work that looks better than anything produced in Word. It also helps you keep track of references to equation numbers, bibliographies, and tables of contents automatically. It can handle graphics too.

To get started with LaTeX without installing any software, the Library, together with the School of Mathematics and the Faculty of Engineering, offer an enhanced subscription to Overleaf - an easy-to-use, online, collaborative LaTeX editor. You can sign up for your free account using your UoB email address.

BibTeX is a program that works with LaTeX to allow you to include in-text citations and a bibliography in your document. Many reference managers offer some level of support for working with LaTeX and BibTeX.

You can find out more about LaTeX and BibTeX by following the links given below. On the right of the screen you will find a link to download a guide to using reference management packages with LaTeX and BibTeX.

Writing guides


Online LaTeX editor and publishing tool

Guide to LaTeX

Interactive tutorial from beginner to more advanced

Using LaTeX and Reference Managers

BibTeX is commonly used with LaTeX to help organise references and create a bibliography. Each reference in the bibliography file (.bib) is formatted with a certain structure and is given a 'key' by which you refer to in the source .tex file. All major reference managers work with BibTeX.

Study Skills service