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Classes and packages

At the top of your file you will have a line something like
which determines the font size and document class - the type of document you're writing. Each class has an associated *.cls file in the system directories which is read in at start-up time. Other options accepted by article include 10pt, 11pt and twocolumn.

Then you'll probably need to load in extra macros with the \usepackage command. Each package has an associated *.sty file in the system directories. The packages inherit the options from the \documentclass line and can be given others of their own. E.g.

tells LATEX that you want to use the extra graphicx and color macros, and that you are going to use dvips to convert the resulting file to postscript. You can shorten this to

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Information provided by Tim Love