LaTeX Companion, The

Frank Mittelbach / Michel Goossens / Johannes Braams / David Carlisle / Chris Rowley  
Total pages
April 2004
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LaTeX Companion, The
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LaTeX Companion, The: Part I
3 April 2023 83.00


The most comprehensive and authoritative guide available to traditional document layout—specialized graphics extensions and Web applications are covered in separate Companions. Much has changed in the ten years since the first edition was published. This new edition covers in depth all the major new developments, and updates coverage in all other areas. The authors, who are all core members of the LaTeX3 Project, cover not just the core of LaTex, but also all the important extensions which have been developed. Contains more than 900 self-contained ready-to-run examples that can immediately be reused by readers. This book is a perfect companion to Guide to LaTeX.


Authoritative and comprehensive, this is the first revision of this seminal book on LaTeX in ten years!

° Completely revised and updated; almost double the material in the previous edition; roughly 90% of the material is new or updated

° Contains more than 900 self-contained ready-to-run examples that can immediately be reused by readers

° Written by the core LaTeX developers and maintainers, this is the essential reference for anyone using LaTeX

Table of Contents

List of Figures.

List of Tables.


1. Introduction.

A brief history.

Today's system.

Working with this book.

2. The Structure of a LATEX Document.

The structure of a source file.

Sectioning commands.

Table of contents structures.

Managing references.

3. Basic Formatting Tools.

Phrases and paragraphs.

Footnotes, endnotes, and marginals.

List structures.

Simulating typed text.

Lines and columns.

4. The Layout of the Page.

Geometrical dimensions of the layout.

Changing the layout.

Dynamic page data: page numbers and marks.

Page styles.

Visual formatting.

Doing layout with class.

5. Tabular Material.

Standard LaTEX environments.

array--Extending the tabular environments.

Calculating column widths.

Multipage tabular material.

Color in tables.

Customizing table rules and spacing.

Further extensions.

Footnotes in tabular material.


6. Mastering Floats.

Understanding float parameters.

Float placement control.

Extensions to LaTEX's float concept.

Inline floats.

Controlling the float caption.

7. Fonts and Encodings.


Understanding font characteristics.

Using fonts in text.

Using fonts in math.

Standard LaTEX font support.

PSNFSS--PostScript fonts with LaTEX.

Acollection of font packages.

The LaTEX world of symbols.

The low-level interface.

Setting up new fonts.

LaTEX's encoding models.

Compatibility packages for very old documents.

8. Higher Mathematics.

Introduction to AMS-LaTEX.

Display and alignment structures for equations.

Matrix-like environments.

Compound structures and decorations.

Variable symbol commands.

Words in mathematics.

Fine-tuning the mathematical layout.

Fonts in formulas.

Symbols in formulas.

9. LATEX in a Multilingual Environment.

TEX and non-English languages.

The babel user interface.

User commands provided by language options.

Support for non-Latin alphabets.

Tailoring babel.

Other approaches.

10. Graphics Generation and Manipulation.

Producing portable graphics and ornaments.

LaTEX's device-dependent graphics support.

Manipulating graphical objects in LaTEX.

Display languages: PostScript, PDF, and SVG.

11. Index Generation.

Syntax of the index entries.

makeindex--A program to format and sort indexes.

xindy--An alternative to MakeIndex.

Enhancing the index with LaTEX features.

12. Managing Citations.


The number-only system.

The author-date system.

The author-number system.

The short-title system.

Multiple bibliographies in one document.

13. Bibliography Generation.

The BIBTEX program and some variants.

The BIBTEX database format.

On-line bibliographies.

Bibliography database management tools.

Formatting the bibliography with BIBTEX styles.

The BIBTEX style language.

14. LATEX Package Documentation Tools.

doc--Documenting LaTEX and other code.

docstrip.tex--Producing ready-to-run code.

ltxdoc--A simple LaTEX documentation class.

Making use of version control tools.

A. A LATEX Overview for Preamble, Package, and Class Writers.

Linking markup and formatting.

Page markup--Boxes and rules.

Control structure extensions.

Package and class file structure.

B. Tracing and Resolving Problems.

Error messages.

Warnings and informational messages.

TEX and LaTEX commands for tracing.

trace--Selectively tracing command execution.

C. LATEX Software and User Group Information.

Getting help.

How to get those TEX files?.

Using CTAN.

Finding the documentation on your TEX system.

TEX user groups.



Index of Commands and Concepts.



Production Notes.

Back Cover

The LaTeX Companion has long been the essential resource for anyone using LaTeX to create high-quality printed documents. This completely updated edition brings you all the latest information about LaTeX and the vast range of add-on packages now available--over 200 are covered! Full of new tips and tricks for using LaTeX in both traditional and modern typesetting, this book will also show you how to customize layout features to your own needs--from phrases and paragraphs to headings, lists, and pages.

Inside, you will find:

  • Expert advice on using LaTeX's basic formatting tools to create all types of publications--from memos to encyclopedias
  • In-depth coverage of important extension packages for tabular and technical typesetting, floats and captions, multicolumn layouts--including reference guides and discussions of the underlying typographic and TeXnical concepts
  • Detailed techniques for generating and typesetting contents lists, bibliographies, indexes, etc.
  • Tips and tricks for LaTeX programmers and systems support

New to this edition:

  • Nearly 1,000 fully tested examples that illustrate the text and solve typographical and technical problems--all ready to run!
  • An additional chapter on citations and bibliographies
  • Expanded material on the setup and use of fonts to access a huge collection of glyphs, and to typeset text from a wide range of languages and cultures
  • Major new packages for graphics, 'verbatim' listings, floats, and page layout
  • Full coverage of the latest packages for all types ofdocuments--mathematical, multilingual, and many more
  • Detailed help on all error messages, including those troublesome low-level TeX errors

Like its predecessor, The LaTeX Companion, Second Edition, is an indispensable reference for anyone wishing to use LaTeX productively.

The accompanying CD-ROM contains a complete plug-and-play LaTeX installation, including all the packages and examples featured in the book.


Frank Mittelbach is manager of the LaTeX3 Project, in which capacity he oversaw the release of LaTeX 2e. He is the editor of a series of publications on tools and techniques for computer typesetting.

Michel Goossens is past president of the TeX Users Group. A research physicist at CERN, where the Web paradigm was born, he is responsible for LaTeX, HTML, SGML, and, more recently, XML support for scientific documents.