Recently, I read an article about a class at Harvard called Math 55 where they teach four years of undergraduate math in a year-long course. One of the interesting things I noticed in the article is that the students prefer to type up their homework using LaTeX. That idea perked my interest, so I installed TeTeX and Kile from Synaptic Package Manager (in Ubuntu Dapper). Once I learned LaTeX, I typed up the detailed solution to two partial differential equations and was quite impressed by LaTeX's capabilities. However, there was one caveat: it took forever to do.

I understand that with time and experience, I can become much more efficient using LaTeX, but even then it would seem much more slower than just writing it out by hand. I can justify some loss of efficiency because of the very professional look of the homework and the experience I would gain with LaTeX, but there's still a gap to be bridged.

First, does someone know how to do a line break in 'displaymath'? I couldn't figure it out, so I just put the equations in an 'equation*' and start a new 'equation*' when I want a new line. I did try an 'eqnarray*', but the formatting it gave me was very odd (I often put several steps of the same solution on one line).

Also, I would like to create some keyboard shortcuts for things I frequently type: Greek characters such as \lambda, the integral symbol \int, the curly d in a partial derivative \partial, etc. If I had a library of these shortcuts, over time I could memorize them and type everything up much faster.

Also, this is kind of unrelated, but does someone know how to widen the margins? Page layout is very complicated, and every try to get 1" margins all around has failed. I try to keep the margins small so I can use paper efficiently.