After that, the LaTeX-related software formats and renders your document. As of 2003, the desired end-product is usually PDF; a PDF file can easily be viewed online or printed. However, in many cases it is useful to generate the document in DVI format or in PostScript format.
Here are notes on the compiling steps indicated in the diagram. Click on any file/command in the diagram for more information.
(Other files, not named and not usually important to the user, are byproducts of these steps, especially MyDoc.aux and MyDoc.log.)
The content of the document is typed as plain text into one or more .tex files. If there are multiple files, one of them (here we call it ``MyDoc.tex'') is the main file which calls the others in order.
Raw bibliographic databases are in plain text files named with the suffix .bib.
The .tex and .bib files can be edited with any text editor like vi, emacs, pico, TextEdit (on Macs), or Notepad (on PCs). Some LaTeX programs provide their own text editor.
NOT Word:   It is counterproductive to type LaTeX source using Microsoft Word (or other word processor programs) because they have their own way of formatting text. The file produced by a word processor will be worthless to LaTeX unless one takes care to save the file in plain text ASCII format -- which loses all formatting information intrinsic to that software! Thus it makes no sense to use a word processor for typing LaTeX source unless there is no other editor available.
The exception is ``Scientific Word'', software which is an enhancement of Microsoft Word that can convert a Word document (with formulae) to a (plain text) .tex file. The file produced, however, generally cannot be used by LaTeX without providing some special macro definitions.