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Notes taking and bad handwriting. Possible to use LaTeX ?

  1. May 12, 2015 #1
    Good morning,

    I am going back to school to get a degree in Physics in September. I am concerned about how to make clean summary/notes of what I'll learn.

    For information, I have a really really really bad handwriting and it is just painful to read what I write. That's why I thought about creating nice and clean summary in LaTeX but it is really time consuming and I don't know if it will be a possible solution or not when I will have to do a lot of exercises.

    For the moment, I learned Algebra/Trig/Calculus 1, 2 and I am currently learning Linear Algebra (DiffEq after that).

    I tried to create a mix of cheatsheet and notes (basically a cheatsheet with some explanations about different concepts) in LaTeX but it takes me a lot of time to get a document with all the relevant informations I need to know.

    I don't plan to wait until two weeks before exams to create that kind of document, I plan to create them every day/weekend for example. Would that be feasible in your opinion ? Does anybody do that ?

    I probably won't waste time with nice graphics, I'll probably just leave a blank space and draw figures/graph by hand until I have some free time to learn Tikz or any other tool to draw nice graphics.

    I think it will be okay with "pure" mathematics class like I mentionned above, probably not so much with "pure" physics (I don't really know what to expect with notes taking in physics).

    I guess what I am asking is some advices about how to deal with bad handwriting like mine. :)

  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2015 #2
    Working on your handwriting itself seems a lot easier and efficient in the long term.
    Consider buying a fountain pen (fine or extra fine nib) or at least use gel pens and write your notes focusing on your handwriting. Take as much time as you need, it will still take less time than you need to LaTeX them.
    You can use LaTeX for cheatsheets and such, but it is at the end of the day a publishing tool and not a problem solving one. Doing exercises in LaTeX is impractical even if you use a WYSIWYG editor.
  4. May 12, 2015 #3
    You are correct that I should learn to write properly.

    For example, I created something like that :

    https://github.com/gillouche/Notes/blob/master/maths/integrals/notes.pdf [Broken]
    https://github.com/gillouche/Notes/blob/master/maths/algebra/notes.pdf [Broken]

    (I changed the format from notes to cheatsheet style for algebra so it is still a work in progress)

    I'll probably focus on only using LaTeX for the cheatsheet with formulas and keep the explanations at a minimum like you suggested. I assume it wouldn't be possible to create that kind of notes during my studies, I often read that understanding and exercises take so much time for physics/engineering studies.

    I didn't plan to do exercises in LaTeX, juste a few examples with the theory like I did for the integrals notes.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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