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Tips and instructions on getting started using the document preparation system LaTeX.

I don't know anything about writing a thesis or dissertation using LaTeX.

If you are completely new to LaTeX--or even if you have some previous experience--we strongly encourage you to use the Thesis Template for use with LaTeX, which is available on the library's website.  This template is already formatted to meet the general requirements for Florida Tech theses and dissertations.  Although some university departments may have specific requirements that are not reflected in the template, any required modifications to the template should be relatively minor.

To locate the template:

  1. Go to the library website
  2. Along the left side of the page, click on "Research Support":
  3. Along the left side of the page, under "Research Support", click on "Graduate Student Services".
  4. Along the left side of the page, click on "Theses & Dissertations".
  5. Under the heading for "Templates for Writing Your Thesis or Dissertation", download the zip file for Thesis Template for using with LaTeX.".

Additional information about working with LaTeX is available in the Evans Library's LaTeX2e Research Guide.

One of my chapters does not appear when I compile the document.

Within the main.tex file, you should find a series of commands similar to the following:




These are the means by which chapters become incorporated within your document.  Make sure that you provide an analogous command corresponding to your missing chapter.

The word "caption" appears on the cover page.

This error results from LaTeX' sensitivity to the order in which packages are loaded in the main.tex file.  This may be corrected using the following procedure:

  • Open the main.tex file using your editor.
  • Locate the section of the file where packages are loaded.  It should be at or near the top of the file and consist a a series of commands beginning with "\usepackage{...", as shown below:

  • Comment out all of the \usepackage commands by inserting a "%" at the beginning of the line.
  • Compile the document to confirm that the word "caption" no longer appears on the title page.
  • One at a time, starting from the top, uncomment each \usepackage command and recompile the document.  When the "caption" error reappears, you will have identified the package that is causing the problem.
  • Uncomment the remaining \usepackage commands
  • Take the \usepackage command that is causing the problem and move it futher down the list until the problem no longer occurs (this may require some experimentation).

The following StackExchange submittal may also be of interest:

I do not want to have a Copyright Page

To eliminate the Copyright Page from your thesis or dissertation, do the following:

  • Open the main.tex file.
  • Just above the "\begin{document}" command, locate the following:

  • Comment out the "\toggletrue" command and replace it with "\togglefalse{usecopyrightpage}", as shown below:

I want to increase the number of signatories on my signature page.

Our standard thesis/dissertation template accomodates 5 signatories on the signature page.  Some students, need more signatures on their signature pages.

To make the necessary modifications, it is necessary to edit two files:

  • main.tex
  • fitthesis.sty

The information shown on the signature page, such as the names, titles and departments of the signatories, is defined as a series of variables.  Values are assigned to these variables in main.tex.  The code in fitthesis.sty then generates the signature page by calling these variables.  This is illustrated in the figure below:

Figure 1


As seen in Figure 1, the main.tex file contains a series of blocks of commands, corresponding to each of the signatories on the signature page. 

  • Create a new block of commands for each new signatory on the signature page.
    • These commands assign values to the variables that are called out in the fitthesis.sty file.
    • Make sure that the new variable names (e.g. sixthreadername, sixthreadertitle, sixthreaderdept) are different from those already used in the existing blocks.

The right side of Figure 1 shows corresponding blocks of commands in fitthesis.sty that are used to generate each of the signature lines

  • Create a new block of commands for each of the new signatories on the signature page.
  • Within fitthesis.sty, position your new blocks of code in accordance with where you want the new signature lines to appear on the signature page.

Remaining in fitthesis.sty, look for the two sections resembling the following:

Figure 2

In the section shown on the left side of Figure 2, add additional "\def\..." commands to declare any new variables created for your new signature line(s).  In the section shown on the right, assign default values to each of your new variables.

LaTeX allows the user to code "switches" into their document that can be used to easily reveal or conceal blocks of text.  Examples of this may be seen in the section of fitthesis.sty shown on the right side of Figure 1, where some blocks of code begin with "\iftoggle{...}, followed by the remainder of the block contained in curly parentheses ("{ }").  Corresponding blocks of code in main.tex, shown on the left side of Figure 1, begin with "\toggletrue{....}", indicating that the associated text will be visible in the document.  To conceal the text, the user should change "\toggletrue" to "\togglefalse" in the code.  Variables used in these commands (e.g. "useforthreader" or "useacademicunithead") in the examples in Figure 1) must be declared in the fitthesis.sty file using '\def\..." and "\newtoggle{....}" commands seen on the left and right sides, respectively, of Figure 2.

I want to have my signatories in two columns on my signature page

As shown on the left side of the figure below, the code used to generate the signature page in fitthesis.sty begins with the following comment statement:

  • %signature page

The code shown on the left is typical of that used to generate the default configuration of the signature page, in which of the signatories are listed in a single column.

To create a signature page in which the signatories are divided between two columns, the uppermost lines of code (through "\@author") can remain unchanged.  However, the section of code outlined in red will need to be modified.  The code on the right side of the figure provides an example of how the code outlined on the left side may be modified to split the signatories between two columns.

To achieve this, a table is created with 3 columns.  The columns serve the following purposes:

  • 1st column: contains the 1st column of signatories
  • 2nd column: provides space between the 2 columns of signatories
  • 3rd column: contains the 2nd column of signatories

Between the "begin{tabular}" and "end{tabular}" commands, each line of code generates a line of the table, encompassing all three columns.  The contents of the respective columns are separated by ampersands ("&") in these commands.  Vertical space is introduced between the signatories by the "\\ \\ \\" command, which generates 3 line returns.


I grouped my signatories into two columns and now my margins are too small.

In the course of grouping your signatories into two columns, your left and right margins will be reduced.  In the event that they have become too small, begin by opening the fitthesis.sty file in your LaTeX editor.  Find the section in which the signature page is defined; in the original thesis template, this begins with the command "%signature page", as shown in the figure below:

If you grouped your signatories using the method outlined previously on this page (see the box entitled "I want to have my signatories in two columns on my signature page", above), your fitthesis.sty file will contain a table with 3 columns.  For each line of the table, the contents of the respective columns will be separated by ampersands ("&").  The contents of each of the 3 columns are as follows:

  • Column No. 1: the signatories listed on the left side of the page.
  • Column No. 2: provides space between 1st and 3rd columns.
  • Column No. 3: the signatories listed on the right side of the page.

To increase the size of the left and right margins, you need to decrease the width of the columns.  Some ways of achieving this include the following:

  • In the 1st and 3rd column, the name of each signatory is preceded by a signature line. 
    • In the above figure, the signature lines are created with the command "\rule{200pt}{1pt}".
    • You may decrease the length of the signature line by reducing the number in the first pair of brackets (e.g. "200pt").  The extent to which you can reduce the length of the lines depends upon the length of the names, titles, etc. below the lines).
  • In the 2nd column, you can reduce the width of the column by reducing the number in the brackets following "\hspace" (e.g. "1cm")

One of my signatories has a long list of academic credentials that will not all fit on one line












To address the situation shown above, take the following measures:

  1. In your main.tex file, load the package "changepage".


  1. In your fitthesis.sty file, near the top of the section for generating the Signature page, add a command to change the right-hand margin of the page (you may alter the value of the "-3cm" argument, as needed, to accommodate your faculty member's academic credentials)..



  1. At the end of the same section, add a command to revert to the original right-hand margin.


I want to change where my Table of Contents splits/breaks between pages

In your thesis or dissertation document, the Table of Contents will sometimes split between pages in an undesirable manner, as shown in Figure 1.  In this example, it would be preferable if the entry for Chapter 3 (3. Best Algorithm) appeared on the same page of the Table of Contents as the entries for Chapter 3's subsections.

Figure 1


To correct this problem:

In your editor, open the file containing the chapter (for this example, chapter3.tex).

On the first line of the file, add the following:

  • \addtocontents{toc}{\protect\newpage}

Save the file and recompile your document.  Your formatting issue should be resolved, as shown below in Figure 2.

Figure 2

The entries in my Table of Contents do not link to the corresponding section headings.

If the entries in your Table of Contents do not link to their corresponding section headings, try the following:

  1. Open the fitthesis.sty file in your editor.
  2. Find the block of code starting with "\def\makethesistitle{%"

  1. In the following line, change "hypersetup" to "hyperref"


I need to increase the spacing between the figure name and its page number


If you wish to adjust the amount of space between your figure names and their page numbers in the List of Figures (see figure above), the following measures should suffice:

  1. In your main.tex file, confirm that the tocloft package has been loaded (it should have been).  This package includes the command(s) added in the following steps.
  2. Find the following line in your fitthesis.sty file: \newcommand{\makelistoffigures}{
  3. Enter the command that I have outlined in red (below) on the line before the "\listoffigures" command. 
    1. This command allows you to specify the width of the box in which the page number appears.
    2. Although the example shown below sets the dimension to "20mm", you will probably need to experiment with this value to find one that gets you the desired spacing in your thesis or dissertation.
  4. The addition of this command results in a similar change to the spacing in the List of Tables
    1. If you do not wish this to be the case, you may add another command (after the "\listoffigures" command) to reset the width of the page number field to a lesser value.  This is commented out below and outlined in blue in the figure below.




I need to include pages with a landscape orientation

To add pages with a landscape orientation within your thesis or dissertation, begin by activating the lscape package within the main.tex file, as follows:








The lscape package will enable you to specify locations in the text of your document where you wish to start and stop landscape formatting.

To reposition and rotate the page number on the landscape-formatted pages, you will need to define a function in the fitthesis.sty file:




Now, within the text in which you wish to shift to landscape formatting:




Note that the function defined to reformat the page numbers does not need to be named "fillandplacepagenumber"; you may choose a name of your own. 

The sources in my References section are not listed in the expected order

Your References section will contain the sources listed within your mybibliography.bib file.  For example, your mybibliography.bib file might appear as follows:

However, in the References section of your thesis/dissertation, it is unlikely that your sources will appear in the same order as they are listed above.  Instead, LaTeX will list the sources alphabetically by the last names of the primary authors (underlined below).

Some of the entries in my Bibliography are being split between pages.

To address this problem, introduce the following code into your "main.tex" file: