Some normal-mode commands to know:

- "{\bf TEXT}" puts TEXT in bold face.
- "{\it TEXT}" or "{\em TEXT}" puts TEXT in italics.
- "\smallskip", "\medskip", and "\bigskip" insert various small amounts of whitespace, in between paragraphs for example.
- Put "\begin{enumerate}" if you want to give a numbered list. Start each element in the list with "\item", and when the list is finished, put "\end{enumerate}"
- "\begin{itemize}" with "\item" will do the same thing without numbering the items.

Some math-mode commands to know:

- $x^a$ will put "a" as an exponent of x.
- $x^{abc}$ will put "abc" as an exponent of x. If you put $x^abc$ you will get output that looks wrong.
- $x_a$ will put "a" as a subscript of x. Similarly, $x_{abc}$ should be used for longer subscripts.
- $x^{y^a}$ and $x^{y_b}$ work, et cetera.
- $\alpha$ will produce an alpha character. Give the name of a greek letter after a '\' (the command character) to get that greek letter.
- $\ldots$ will produce the '...' such as in "1 + 2 + ... + n"
- '{' and '}' are special characters. To get '{' or '}' to show up, use '\{' and '\}'.

One final word about math mode: When you use the single '$' to go into math mode and then back out, this inserts your mathematical type in the middle of the paragraph. If what you want is to give an equation or mathematical phrase on its own, go into math mode with a double '$$' and back out the same way. This will put that incident of math mode on its own line, centered. Some commands will come out looking different if you put them on their own line. For instance, if you use $\sum_{i=0}^{n} i$, the limits on the sum will be to the right of the sum symbol. However, if you use $$\sum_{i=0}^{n} i$$, the limits will be on the top and the bottom.

- You forgot to close something you opened. You forgot to put enough close parentheses or curly braces, or you left off the closing $ to go out of math mode. You may also have forgotten to put "\end{enumerate}" after your numbered list was finished. Remember that if you use $$ to put a math mode block on its own line, you must close with a $$. If you close with a single $, it will cause an error.
- Similar to the above, you forgot to open something you closed.
- You used a non-existant command.
- You used a command in normal mode that is only supposed to be used in math mode. Sometimes this can look like a #3-type problem.

If you want to check over your file to make sure it looks right (without printing it), you have two options. First of all, you can use the above instructions to create a postscript file, and use ghostview ("gv file.ps &") to view it. Or, more simply, you can just run "xdvi file.dvi &" to view your .dvi file without changing it to postscript.