LaTeX: Beautiful Typesetting

I’m the Community TeXpert at Overleaf, as well as a LaTeX trainer and consultant.

These are some articles, tutorials or packages that I have written. Visit the Malaysian LaTeX User Group blog for more of my writings. E-mail me (liantze @ gROSEmail • com; remove the flower) if you spot any mistakes or have any questions (read this first if it’s LaTeX-related troubleshooting).

I also offer training and consultation services, e.g. if you need help preparing a manuscript for a journal that requires LaTeX submissions, or other material.

LaTeX: More Than Just Academic Papers and Theses

I prepared these slides for a talk at MOSC2011. It isn’t a tutorial, rather I wanted to give teasers of what LaTeX is capable of beyond the usual journal or conference articles.


There is now a (slightly) updated version of the slides + source code on Overleaf.

  • Full presentation slides (large!)
  • Slides without overlays (best for reading and reference!)
  • Source code: Compile with pdflatex -shell-escape talk
    Do be aware that you will need a slew of packages to compile it. You might want to read through the output PDFs above, then look up the relevant source code of the bits you’re really interested in.

Introductory Material

I haven’t gotten round to write up installation guides for other OSes, but in a nutshell:

  • On GNU/Linux systems:
    • LaTeX engine: TeXLive
    • LaTeX editor: emacs, vi, Kile, TeXmaker... (take your pick)
  • On Mac OS X: get MacTeX, or BasicTeX if you have a slow Internet download connection.
  • Online: There are now a number of cloud-based LaTeX authoring platforms, e.g. Overleaf.

AltaCV, yet another alternative LaTeX CV/Résumé Class

It all started with this tweet. @Leonduck was talking about a résumé of Marissa Mayer that Business Insider put together. I knew I had to do something about it. And so AltaCV was born.

USM Thesis LaTeX Class and Template

usmthesis v1.7 is compatible with the new USM IPS Thesis Guidelines, effective Dec 2013 onwards, incorporating IPS feedback in March to December 2016.

There will be no further updates until IPS USM publishes an official updated formatting guidelines with concrete clear instructions.

After unzipping, please read the Quick-start Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

Then please read through the comments in usmthesis.tex for the various options available.

MMU Thesis LaTeX Class and Template

mmuthesis v1.41 is compatible with the MMU IPS Guide for Preparation of Thesis.

After unzipping, please read the Use Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

UM Thesis LaTeX Class and Template

umalayathesis v1.5 is compatible with the 2017 Universiti Malaya IGS Guide to the Preparation of Research Reports, Disertations & Theses. Please read the sample thesis' first chapter for an overview of how to use the template files, including document class options for toggling some styles required by some faculties.

After unzipping, please read the first chapter in the sample thesis to get an idea how the template files should be used.

UUM Thesis LaTeX Class and Template, LyX Layout

uumthesis has been endorsed by UUM’s Graduate School, thanks to Dr. Mohd. Hasbullah bin Omar.

After unzipping, please read the Use Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

GayaUKM LaTeX Class and Template

After v1.4 and starting January 2020, GayaUKM is now maintained by Dr Mohd Hairi Mohd Zaman. Please visit the Github repo or PSS, UKM's webpage for updates.

Open online template on Overleaf: English; Malay

GayaUKM was approved by a reviewing committee comprising Dr Zambri Harun and others.

  • GayaUKM.cls, GayaUKM.bst and template files (v1.4, May 19 ’19)
  • A Guide on using GayaUKM (also included in the .zip download)
  • Available on GitHub
  • Available on BitBucket

After unzipping, please read the Use Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

UnimasThesis LaTeX Class and Template

After unzipping, please read the Use Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

IIUMThesis LaTeX Class and Template

Moaaz Elhag Ali (email address in the .cls file) has created a LaTeX thesis class and template for the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), by modifying the UMalayaThesis class files. He has requested that I host the files here so that it may benefit IIUM students.

UPNMThesis LaTeX Class and Template

UPNMThesis was commissioned by UPNM’s Centre of Graduate Studies.

After unzipping, please read the Use Guide first to get an idea how the template files should be used.

UMSThesis LaTeX Class and Template

UMSThesis was commissioned by Mohd Kamalrulzaman Md Akhir.

Caltech-Thesis LaTeX Class and Template

The official caltech-thesis class and template, commissioned by Caltech via Overleaf, can be downloaded from Overleaf, through the Featured Templates section of the Caltech portal on Overleaf.

Gelugor, a USM Beamer Theme

Gelugor is a Beamer theme mimicking Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Powerpoint presentation template. USM’s main campus is in Gelugor, Penang, Malaysia.

Skudai, a UTM Beamer Theme

Skudai is a Beamer theme mimicking Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)’s Powerpoint presentation template. UTM’s main campus is in Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.

Cyberjaya, an MMU Beamer Theme

Cyberjaya is a Beamer theme mimicking Multimedia University (MMU)’s Powerpoint presentation template. MMU’s main campus is in Cyberjaya, Selangor Malaysia.

Sample Book Design with LaTeX

After successfully designing and publishing a book (in full colour!) for a research project entirely with LaTeX, some readers of the Malaysian LaTeX User Group blog asked for my source code. As the source code in its entirety was too long (and to avoid potential issues with my university, who is also the publisher), I decided to write a series of blog posts about how I achieved the key effects and layouts instead.

These are the pages from the “dummy” sample book I created as described in the blog (empty pages are omitted):

front cover table of contents chapter 1 left page right page chapter 2 back cover

And what are simple blog posts and good-looking screencaps without the sample source code, eh? ;-D Here are the .zips containing the .tex source and sample illustrations (taken from Public Domain Images and the OpenClipart Project).

Batch-Generating Certificates with LaTeX

There are LaTeX packages that provide mailmerge-like capabilities. This means various documents, such as certificates, can be batch-generated from a text file (or one exported from an Excel spreadsheet). I’ve described the process here, and the accompanying sample code can be downloaded here.

Once the certificate design is in place, generation of the certificates from an Excel spreadsheet file takes virtually seconds. So much so, that we were able to generate the certs for a workshop during lunch hour on the day itself, after we’ve confirmed the workshop attendees name list.

I now provide certificate design and generation services. All you have to do is to liaise with me for the certificate design and text, and send me the Excel spreadsheet file when you’re ready. Turnaround time is 1 day if I am notified beforehand, while the fees will be negotiated based on the desired design. Here’s a possible design as a preview (PDF):

Drop me a line at liantze @ gLILYmail • com (Remove the flower and use a proper dot) for a quotation or further information, or visit my consultancy page for other services.

ChinaTeX’s Interview with Me

ChinaTeX interviewed me in September 2011. We talked mainly about how I came to know, love and use LaTeX in book design and typesetting. Here are the interview transcripts.


  • ScienceSoft LaTeX/Flash/Lazslo, an online LaTeX previewer, created using OpenLaszlo. (That’s another interesting point with this web app!)
  • JpgfDrawing, a vector drawing program that exports to LaTeX code using the pgf library. pgf (together with tikz) produces the best drawing outputs in LaTeX (PDF output without using PS) I’ve seen so far. Uses Java.
  • JabRef, a Java-based BibTeX reference manager.
  • LaTable, a visual table editor for LaTeX. To quote a fellow LaTeX user, “tables bit my @$$”. This little tool will help. (Download)

Resource Websites and Groups

  • Andy Robert’s LaTeX tutorials. Very useful introductory material.
  • LaTeX Wikibooks. Very useful reference.
  • TeX Users Group (TUG). Like-minded people getting together. A treasure trove!
  • CTAN, the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network. Find packages here that aren’t in your LaTeX system’s automatic installation catalogue.
  • TeX FAQ. A huge list of questions. Try searching here first before asking on forums etc.
  • The LaTeX Font Catalogue. Who says LaTeX has got only one font? Just go drool at them!
  • comp.text.tex, the Usenet group for TeX/LaTeX users. (Mind your Usenetiquettes! Always search the TUG FAQ or the archive first for possible answers to your question first before asking it!)



  • Helvetica, a documentary feature film celebrating the 50th anniversary of the font.
  • Commercial LaTeX vendors. YES, there are commercial distributions. YES, there are people selling them — a looong list of them too.