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LaTeX - Contents

Articles related to LaTeX base functionality.

Graphics, Figures & Tables top

Articles about graphics, figures and tables in LaTeX documents.

Article Title Author Score
TikZ Library for Structural Analysis
Updated: 10 Mar 2013

At university it is always a very time consuming work to create new assignments, and tests; especially when those tasks include drawing graphics.

In the field of structural engineering those small structures are a key part for teaching. For this reason I developed, in cooperation with the Institute for Structural Analysis at the Graz University of Technology, a TikZ library for Structural Analysis.

Jürgen Hackl 4.78
Pic for expressive LaTeX diagrams
Updated: 21 Jun 2012

In my graduate work, I draw a lot of system diagrams which basically involves drawing a bunch of shapes with arrows. When typesetting my figures, I like using the Pic preprocessor because of its expressiveness. In the following post I will show how to use it.

Allan Espinosa 4.00
Drawing with the tikz-3dplot Package
Updated: 21 Jun 2012

When I started working on my thesis dissertation using LaTeX, I discovered the TikZ package for drawing vector-based figures. I needed a way to easily draw three-dimensional figures, and so I put together a few handy tools in the tikz-3dplot package. This package builds on TikZ, providing an easy way to rotate the perspective when drawing three-dimensional shapes using basic shapes in a tikzpicture environment.

Let's explore some examples of what tikz-3dplot can do.

Jeff Hein 4.86
Overcoming some flaws with graphics created using matlab2tikz
Updated: 20 Jun 2012

Matlab is a widely used numerical computation environment. It is easy to make plots in Matlab, which can be exported to vector format (PDF/EPS) for implementation in LaTeX. The problem is that the default Matlab plots do not fit very well in the style of LaTeX, due to the different font and font size of the text in the Matlab plots. My favorite way of creating Matlab figures with LaTeX fonts is by making use of the matlab2tikz script. On my website, I've already described how to use this. In general this method works great, although some flaws exist. In this post, I'll list the most frequent problems I encounter with matlab2tikz. I'll also describe how I solve these problems. Do not expect superefficient routines, I'll only give the commands that are not exported to TikZ when converting a Matlab plot with matlab2tikz.

Frits Wenneker 4.71
Semi-automatic plotting using pgfplots
Updated: 20 Jun 2012

Producing data plots is an important part of doing research work. Making good looking plots is not easy, and getting them right as well is a real challenge. Perhaps the best way of producing plots, whether for use with LaTeX or otherwise, is to use the pgfplots package. For a general overview of using pgfplots effectively, see my TUGBoat article.

Joseph Wright 4.90
Tufte-style Bar Charts with pgfplots
Updated: 03 Jul 2012

What Donald Knuth is to computer programming, Edward Tufte is to data visualisation. The terms chart junk and data-to-ink ratio were coined by him, and his book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information is widely regarded as one of the main reference works for the principles behind the creation of proper graphs and charts.

There are many striking examples of efficient, informative, and just plain beautiful data visualisation techniques in Tufte's books, but little help in terms of the technicalities of implementing the approaches. Tufte himself uses graphics software like Adobe Illustrator for creating his graphs. While this undoubtedly allows very fine control over the appearance of the graphs, it takes a lot of time and is all but impossible to automate. In a setting where the production of data visualisations is only one of many tasks, like when writing scientific articles or business reports, hand-crafting graphs is not a feasible option.

Jürnjakob Dugge 5.00
Why should I be using TeX for graphics?
Updated: 19 Jun 2012

By the time you read this the revolution that Donald Knuth has caused in typesetting by creating TeX has made all of our lives so much easier. And I believe we are not enough aware of it. Producing high-quality typesetting and beautiful typography, including mathematics, tables of contents, glossaries, ... It is all possible with a few backslashes and curly brackets.

Over the last years a similar breakthrough has been occurring in the creation of graphics. This is no longer the territory of either big software suites or obscure programs. The current open-source software related to TeX has matured greatly and is now capable of what was previously only within reach of the happy few with specific knowledge and tools. This article is about how I have been experiencing the aforementioned breakthrough, hoping to convince you of trying some of the currently available tools yourself.

Pieter Belmans 4.82
Efficient Seamless Tiled Backgrounds
Updated: 18 Jun 2012

I’m fairly sure everyone has, at least on one occassion, toyed with the idea of using tiled patterns as the background on a Beamer presentation or a report. (Whether this is good taste is another issue.)

In this article, we will speak about an efficient technique for creating tiling backgrounds based on few patterns but resulting in a visual effect of a non-repeating pattern.

Lim Lian Tze 4.53
Plane affine constructions and the TikZ calc library
Updated: 20 Jun 2012

The TikZ calc library enables you to build elaborate geometrical figures. More precisely, this library produces objets, mainly points, from primitive ones. Primitives objects are to be defined by their coordinates (cartesians or polar) but a wise rule is to use as few computations on the coordinates as possible. Here comes the calc library and we propose on this page to describe some simple applications of this powerful tool. We will limit ourselves to affine constructions and to figures containing essentially points and lines.

Hugues Vermeiren 4.89
Stemma with TikZ
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
This article is an adapted translation of three French articles. I spoke several times about the TikZ package, which makes creating vector drawings in LaTeX possible. I used it some time ago for creating a stemma of texts that I study, to visualize their mutual relationships. Now I explain how I made such a stemma with TikZ.
Maïeul Rouquette 4.75
Math & Science top

Articles about LaTeX's math and science related features (e.g. formulas, graphs, ...).

Article Title Author Score
Why I like TikZ's Math library
Updated: 13 Mar 2015

Ford circles

I'm not a texpert. I'm a mathematician, that started programming on BASIC, then moved to C, C++, Java, PHP, Python and finally to JavaScript. Moving from one of this languages to another is easy, up to some syntactic sugar, it is time consuming but not so hard. I have never been able, nor attracted, to be honest, to program on TeX.

And for this reason when I discovered the math library, introduced with TikZ 3.0 almost a year ago, that allows us to use a syntax close to ordinary programming languages, I was so excited.

Let's start by one example to see how it works.

Kpym 3.88
LaTeX and Chemistry - Drawing Reaction Schemes
Updated: 19 Jun 2012

The start

Let's see, what would I be talking about that's related to graphics? Well – almost everything I do, TeXnically speaking, is somehow related to chemistry. And in chemistry you have all kinds of graphics: potential energy curves, Haegg-diagrams, molecular orbital diagrams and of course all the sceletal formulas and reaction schemes common in (not only) organic chemistry.

The standard diagrams are not too complicated but are maybe worth an article in my blog. Molecular orbital diagrams are easily done with the package »MOdiagram«. So what's left? Sceletal formulas? They're easy if you glanced in the documentation of »ChemFig«. Well – most of them, anyway.

What about reaction schemes? Ever created one with LaTeX? No? Then it's time! And »ChemFig« has just the tools for this.

Clemens Niederberger 4.90
Formatting LaTeX Articles for Biology Journals
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
Compared to other fields, one may have additional hassles submitting a LaTeX article to a journal in the field of biology. Not only the journal may not have a template or accept LaTeX submissions, they may also ask for a very specific text layout. Here, I will explain how to put your article to meet some of these requirements based on my recent experience on submissions to the Journal of Neuroscience and Neuroinformatics.
Cengiz Gunay 3.93
Defining operators like sin, log etc
Updated: 30 Jan 2009

As we know, LaTeX has many commands to typeset operators, which are traditionally typeset using upright font—for example, sin, log etc. Obviously, the catalog of LaTeX's operators is far from complete, especially because new ones are being constantly introduced. The question arises: what to do when we need a custom operator?

MarcinBorkowski 3.40
Document Classes top

Articles about specific LaTeX document classes and about how to create your own document classes.

Article Title Author Score
Writing a LaTeX Class File to Produce a Form
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
This article describes how to create a class file to generate a form. There are three types of forms: a form to be printed and filled in with a pen, a form filled in on the computer and then printed or sent as a PDF file, and a form to be filled in and sent electronically via a CGI (or similar) script. This article is about the second type. The third type is beyond the scope of this article and the first type can be viewed as a subset of the second.
Nicola Talbot 4.73
A brief and concise description of RevTeX 4 package
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
In this article, we describe briefly the RevTex 4 package for those interested in Physical Review look and feel. As a non-trivial article, some features supported (and not supported) by RevTeX 4 are presented with screenshot examples. This article may help physicists in first touch with APS journals and manuscripts submittion.
Thiago S. Mosqueiro 3.97
General top

Articles about LaTeX specific issues not fitting into one of the other categories of the LaTeX section.

Article Title Author Score
LaTeX Tricks (XVI)
Updated: 21 Feb 2015

This is the second (and last) part of the tricks I found on StackExchange. First part began in the preceding issue. We will begin by a personal trick, and end by some inquiry about my LaTeX Tips & Tricks.

Luca Merciadri 2.50
LaTeX Tricks (XV)
Updated: 21 Feb 2015

After having looked at about 150 StackExchange pages of 50 topics (that sums up to about 7500 topics' names), I give you, in this article and in the next issue, the most interesting topics' answers to my eyes. Needless to say that

  • I did not read each topic on StackExchange,
  • I selectioned the ones I decided to read based on the topics' respective titles,
  • The topics that have not been considered here are not necessarily uninteresting! Moreover, I did not find a lot of uninteresting topics.
We will first begin by two additions in regard to [3], [4].

Luca Merciadri 4.50
LaTeX Tricks (XIV)
Updated: 08 Feb 2015

We will here give three tricks:

  1. using a personalized \overline,
  2. boxing every digit of an integer,
  3. using \scalebox.
I will then expose my point of view about the LaTeX 2e learning curve, and give some of the most common beginners' mistakes.

Luca Merciadri 5.00
LaTeX Tricks (XIII)
Updated: 08 Feb 2015

We will here again consider many tips and tricks. This time, they will mostly come from [1].

Luca Merciadri 5.00
LaTeX Tricks (XII)
Updated: 25 Jan 2015
  • Documents as a source of information
  • Tabular packages' purposes, conflicts
  • Same space in matrices
  • Logic inferences

Luca Merciadri 3.00
LaTeX Tricks (XI)
Updated: 25 Jan 2015

Three subjects will be detailed:

  1. Using LaTeX syntax as an unambiguous way to communicate,
  2. Writing a bold \ell,
  3. Fonts' encodings.

Luca Merciadri 3.00
LaTeX Tricks (X)
Updated: 25 Jan 2015

This is the Xth edition of my TUGboat `Tips & Tricks.' This time, we shall first see how to write `dancing text,' roman numerals, how to draw under and over braces on same elements, and how to display aligned (in)equations systems. We will then end by discussing on BibLaTeX and Biber, which constitute a promising alternative to BibTeX.

Luca Merciadri 5.00
LaTeX Tricks (IX)
Updated: 08 Aug 2014

We describe here how to

  1. display date & time in a standard format,
  2. write (draw) dash integrals,
  3. number rows in tables,
  4. use unhabitual punctuation marks: interrobang and percontation point,
  5. draw dependency arrows,
  6. distinguish between ConTeXt, LuaTeX, teTeX and XeTeX.

Note: I will use the word ‘Context’ for point 4. Here, ‘Context’ is to be taken in its first sense, not as ‘ConTeXt’.

The last section gives a LaTeX-related crossword puzzle.

Luca Merciadri 4.50
LaTeX Tricks (VIII)
Updated: 13 May 2014

We will begin by exposing new tricks, i.e. how to

  1. write ‘closed’ square roots,
  2. insert blank pages,
  3. ask the reader to turn the page,
  4. write bold words in an index,
  5. divide a cell by a diagonal,
  6. draw ‘product integrals’,
  7. understand what happens when \mathcal has a lower-case letter argument.

We will then consider an uncommon example of what one can do with LaTeX, in link with its Turing completeness.

Luca Merciadri 4.67
E-TeX: Guidelines for Future TeX Extensions - revisited
Updated: 12 Apr 2013

Shortly after Don Knuth announced TeX 3.0 I gave a paper analyzing TeX's abilities as a typesetting engine. The abstract back then said:

Now it is time, after ten years' experience, to step back and consider whether or not TeX 3.0 is an adequate answer to the typesetting requirements of the nineties.

Output produced by TeX has higher standards than output generated automatically by most other typesetting systems. Therefore, in this paper we will focus on the quality standards set by typographers for hand-typeset documents and ask to what extent they are achieved by TeX. Limitations of TeX's algorithms are analyzed; and missing features as well as new concepts are outlined.

Now—two decades later—it is time to take another look and see what has been achieved since then, and perhaps more importantly, what can be achieved now with computer power having multiplied by a huge factor and, last but not least, by the arrival of a number of successors to TeX that have lifted some of the limitations identified back then.

Frank Mittelbach 4.22
LaTeX Tricks (VII)
Updated: 29 Mar 2013

We shall see some tricks:

  1. Putting two itemizations on the same line,
  2. Using footnotes in boxes,
  3. Dealing with PDF cut-and-paste and search functionalities, even when you are using accented characters,
  4. Making a distinction with \overline for propositional logic formulae,
  5. Referring to labels by long names.

We will then discuss some problems people often face when dealing with many figures, and, more generally, floats, in reports. Finally, we will deal with a Beamer scheme which aims at using a single file for both a presentation, and the related report.

Luca Merciadri 4.43
LaTeX Tricks (VI)
Updated: 02 Dec 2012

Customizing a document class is important in the LaTeX world. We will here see two examples of this through the lettre document class:

  1. Removing line bending,
  2. Making the space smaller, between address, etc., and the beginning of the text.

Next, we will consider a small fraction of a bigger LaTeX problem: the encoding facts.

Luca Merciadri 4.50
Creating a glossary without using an external indexing application
Updated: 09 Oct 2012

There are a variety of packages (including my own glossaries package) that can generate a sorted list of terms or nomenclature, but they require the help of an external application, such as makeindex, to collate and sort entries. However some users don't like this, either because they find it difficult to invoke the indexing application or because they don't like the complexity of multiple LaTeX plus indexing runs. This article discusses how to by-pass the need for an external indexing application by using the datatool package to create sorted glossaries.

Nicola Talbot 5.00
LaTeX Templates
Updated: 08 Apr 2012
When I first started using LaTeX several years ago during my first year of graduate school, I was impressed with the precision and flexibility of LaTeX and was won over by the beautiful documents it produces. I promptly started to learn the structure and syntax of the language so I could make these beautiful documents I kept seeing. However, I quickly found that something was missing. There was plenty of information available online regarding how to learn LaTeX and an entire community happy to help with any issues, but there was no place where I could easily find complete documents which I could look over to see how they were written. What I wanted was a resource for LaTeX templates.
Velimir 4.25
LaTeX2e reference manual
Updated: 25 Mar 2013
This document is an extended version of the long-existing LaTeX(2e) reference manual. It originated with George Greenwade, was updated for LaTeX 2.09 by Stephen Gilmore, and for LaTeX2e by Torsten Martinsen. Karl Berry decided to restart it.
The goal is to summarize the features (commands, environments, options, etc.) of core LaTeX2e.
Stefan_K 4.20
Programming LaTeX3
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
Development of LaTeX3 has attracted interest from other TeX programmers for a while. One of the big barriers to new entrants is that programming LaTeX3 is distinct from programming LaTeX2e or plain TeX. So what is needed is a ‘Programming LaTeX3’ guide. Here is a start.
Joseph Wright 4.33
Boxes and more boxes
Updated: 07 Apr 2012
Boxes are a key concept in TeX/LaTeX as well as an useful tool, though not a very well known one. I believe this is due to the success of LaTeX in providing a high level interface to TeX, which allows the user to produce beautiful documents without getting acquainted with the concept of boxes. But it is useful to know the box concept because it enhances our understanding of TeX, helps us to avoid and solve problems and even can propose solutions for unusual circumstances. In this paper we reproduce, step by step, the reflection effect in the title of this job (PDF version below) in order to gain some knowledge of the box concept.
Ivan Pagnossin 3.39
Glossaries, Nomenclature, Lists of Symbols and Acronyms
Updated: 01 May 2016
The glossaries package can be used to define terms, symbols and abbreviations that can be used throughout a document. You can then use an indexing application to collate and sort the entries that have been used in the document. It is a highly versatile package, but because of this it has a large manual that some beginners find daunting. This article is an introductory guide to help you get started. (Updated to include the glossaries-extra package.)
Nicola Talbot 4.04

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