I have prepared a complete laboratory report template which gives examples of nearly everything a student could need or want in a lab write-up. Most of the document is self-documenting, but for the sections or items that are not, I have commented. You can download it here (the resultant PDF file is included in this zip file and can be seen below):
LaTeX Laboratory Write-Up Template. Edit: Like mentioned in the comments below, if you’re on a Linux box, you’ll need to install texlive-publishers using the command
sudo apt-get install texlive-publishers. I’m pretty sure MikTeX and others have package managers that should recognize the need for this package and then fetch it automagically.
This template is geared towards students who are new to LaTeX and would like to utilize the powerful features it has to offer. The main benefit to using LaTeX to write a lab write-up is that you’ll spend far less time formatting your paper, typing equations, and referring back to specific outline requirements for different professors/teachers. The other benefit is that you’ll have a very professional, consistent lab report to hand in and you’ll be able to archive and organize your reports easier. This was something I wish I had done in college.
The reason I put this template together was because I received lots of positive feedback from my professors and peers about the quality of my work; they all wanted to know how I accomplished such a nice looking report. I told them I used LaTeX and they had no idea what it was. I was able to point to a general location where they were able to create a “hello world” document and then they were asking for examples. I wanted them to have the same great experience I had after I got everything figured out (not the bad experience I had while trying to figure it out). In order to do this, I had to make it comprehensive with examples of headers, sections, subsection, figures, sub-figures, equations, equation arrays, references, bookmarks, hyper-links, k-maps, tables, lists, and much, much more. The only thing that this LaTeX file is really missing is a bibliography section with footnotes and references (and that’s another area where LaTeX shines).
If you’re a student looking at this (or even a professional needing better documentation), I hope you’ll write at least one of your lab reports given this template. It might take a little bit longer to get used to writing in LaTeX than in a word processor, but once you see the final result I believe you’ll be hooked like I was. LaTeX has some quirks, but for the most part, it’s an incredible tool for writing technical documentation and lab reports in. It’s a shame most schools only hint at the existence of LaTeX when asking their master students to write a dissertation. I say, there needs to be an optional class or group which can teach anybody LaTeX earlier for college or, dare I say, high school.