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1.3 Quick Start

AUCTeX is a powerful program offering many features and configuration options. If you are new to AUCTeX this might be deterrent. Fortunately you do not have to learn everything at once. This Quick Start Guide will give you the knowledge of the most important commands and enable you to prepare your first LaTeX document with AUCTeX after only a few minutes of reading.

In this introduction, we assume that AUCTeX is already installed on your system. If this is not the case, you should read the file ‘INSTALL’ in the base directory of the unpacked distribution tarball. These installation instructions are available in this manual as well, Installation. We also assume that you are familiar with the way keystrokes are written in Emacs manuals. If not, have a look at the Emacs Tutorial in the Help menu.

If AUCTeX is installed in any other way than from the Emacs package manager (ELPA), you might still need to activate it, by inserting

(load "auctex.el" nil t t)

in your user init file.(1)

If AUCTeX is installed from ELPA, the installation procedure already cares about loading AUCTeX correctly and you must not have the line above in your init file. Note that this also applies if you have the following line in your init file


In order to get support for many of the LaTeX packages you will use in your documents, you should enable document parsing as well, which can be achieved by putting

(setq TeX-auto-save t)
(setq TeX-parse-self t)

into your init file. Finally, if you often use \include or \input, you should make AUCTeX aware of the multifile document structure. You can do this by inserting

(setq-default TeX-master nil)

into your init file. Each time you open a new file, AUCTeX will then ask you for a master file.

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