LaTeX Document Preparation

The KU Dissertation Template

The CRMDA is the home of the KU Dissertation template, which has been approved by the Graduate School at the University of Kansas for preparation of theses and dissertations. The package includes a LaTeX class file that governs the final style, along with instructions that are presented as working example of a dissertation.  The zip package, which is available from the CRMDA servers, is described in a project page at

The PDF output of the dissertation template, which is called "Please Read the Abstract," is directly accessible as well.  The zip file provides a full set of the files necessary to finish a dissertation, including a full working example document that we encourage users to edit and revise into their own dissertation projects. The zip folder is also mirrored on the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation webpage, hosted by the Office of the Graduate Dean at the University of Kansas.

CRMDA Guides 

1. LaTeX: The Bare Minimum. (CRMDA Guide 36) Slides and a screencast

2. How to Cheat on your LaTeX Homework: A Beginner's Guide to LyX and LaTeX (CRMDA Guide 37) A guide document along with slides to accompany a presentation.

3. How Users can Install LaTeX packages without Help from System Administrators (CRMDA Guide 32): Notes about package management. If LaTeX is installed with all possible packages, and they are all up to date and they work perfectly, you don't need this guide.  If you need to fix packages or update them, you do. It is about installing and keeping LaTeX packages up-to-date without system administrator privileges (LaTeX configuration in user accounts)

4. Making sure fonts are embedded in LaTeX thesis and dissertation documents. This is not a "guide", but rather a blog post, and that's almost as good.

5. The KU Thesis Template project. A LaTeX class file along with a full, working set of files that can produce the PDF document "Please Read the Abstract".

System Administration & Installation

In order to write documents in LaTeX, it is necessary to have a LaTeX distribution installed in each computer.  This part generally requires administrative privileges. At the very outset, we are confronted by choices.  Which LaTeX distribution should we use? How much of it should we install?

In Fall 2016, we encountered difficulties with MikTeX in Windows and began changing over to TeXlive on our Windows systems. TeXLive and MikTex are examples of "LaTeX distributions." LaTeX is a "package oriented system", meaning that there is a core of functions and packages which are truly necessary.  That core is supplemented by a huge collection of optional packages that are needed to produce some document types. A relatively full selection of packages is provided by TeXLive: the storage requires about 2.5GB. In MikTeX, the aim is to keep a smaller subset and then download new packages when they are required in particular documents.  While sound in theory, in practice we hit problems because the automatic download process would fail.  And it seemed to fail when we were trying to offer workshops about LaTeX.

If packages are missing from the user's selection, and the system administrator is not willing to install them, then the user can get the job done by installing packages in the user account.  That's what Guide 32 is about.

The KU Thesis class for LaTeX is not in a proper LaTeX package. The class file we provide can be manually installed.

The people who argue for the small-and-lean LaTeX distribution leave it up to the individual users to install packages within their user accounts.  We have prepared a separate guide for that. All of the custom editor programs for LaTeX documents will require the installation of a LaTeX distibution.

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