Here is a link to a talk I gave last Friday on how to get started using LaTeX. It covers why one should use LaTeX to prepare papers and presentations, a step-by-step guide to installing the software, and some pointers on how to get it working.
Here is the content of the TeX file that generates the Pdf version of the presentation linked above. To operate this as a tex file, you will need to open a LaTeX editor (e.g. TeXnic Center), open a new TeX file, and paste in the contents from the link.
You cannot download the content of the TeX file as a file with a .tex extension. However, there are many files with .tex extensions that can be downloaded from the web. For example (as I mentioned on Friday), the Pdf of the presentation that I gave is based on the following Beamer template; the fourth .tex file down: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/beamer/solutions/conference-talks/
Finally, here’s the .tex file template for the academic paper that was shown in the presentation on Friday: http://www.cs.technion.ac.il/~yogi/Courses/CS-Scientific-Writing/examples/simple/simple.htm
Important Addendum (you will need to read this to make Friday's TeX file convert into Pdf):
There are a number of graphics in Friday's presentation. These must be saved in the same directory as the TeX file in order for the exact same Pdf to be produced. In fact, if these graphics are not present in the same directory then there will be a "fatal error" and the TeX file will not "compile". To avoid this, there are two options:
(i) Delete any slide that contains the "\includegraphics" command, or
(ii) Download and save this Pdf, which contains the four graphics that are required. Once you have opened the Pdf (after saving it), you can click on each graphic, copy it, paste it into Microsoft Paint (or a similar program you are familiar with) and save the the graphic as a .png file. Make sure to save the graphics into the same directory as the TeX file.
Some concluding notes are as follows. Graphic 1 in the Pdf has split into two parts; you can take either of these parts. Finally, LaTeX recognises .png, .jpeg or .eps graphics. In this case .png is used. The type of graphic must always be specified in the TeX file you are working with.