# Package for taking notes

After reading a book, I often take notes on that book. It usually has my thoughts about what I have just read and many cites (often long, more that 2 or 3 paragraphs, sometimes even more than one page).

I used to just type that all in LaTeX, but such notes are hard to read and look ugly (there is no visible diference betwen cites and my thoughts; cites are just marked with ,, and '').

My question is: is (are) there a good method(s) to taking notes using LaTeX? I don't have much experience in TeX field, I know basics packages. I want to have nice looking notes, with visible difference between thoughts and cites and easy to read. Should I use some packages or styles? Or something else? How to do this?

Thank You for help.

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Could you make it clearer what you want to do with your notes and why you want to use LaTeX at all? –  Seamus Feb 1 '11 at 11:58
@Seamus: I want to save interested cites from book with my comments. Document would be especially for me, but I think about publishing it (on blog). LaTeX looks good and I often use TeX for writing. –  exTyn Feb 1 '11 at 12:37

Try using a more casual specification of document structure like Markdown; personally, I like Emacs' org-mode for taking notes. If you want to convert to Latex later, there are plenty of converters.

1. Pandoc supports many casual document structuring formats: besides Markdown, it supports Restructured Text, which is liked by many, and Textile; it supports export not only to Latex, but also Context;
2. Org mode is a full life organisation system based around jotting down notes, and has sophisticated support for controlling export to Latex. I gather it can express links into PDFs, which might be useful for you.
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Does orgmode support markdown? Can it be made to do so? If not, is there an alternative emacs mode for writing markdown? –  Seamus Feb 1 '11 at 13:24
@Seamus: org-mode is like Markdown, but not perfectly compatible with it. Google for "emacs markdown mode" and you will find some alternatives. –  Charles Stewart Feb 1 '11 at 13:27

If for some reason you want to keep a “beautiful” record of your notes, and you might if they require tons of math, LaTeX is sure a good option for creating pdf documents and printing them. (But definitely not a good option if you plan to publish on a blog.)

For your particular question, on how to provide more useful visual cues to separate quotes from your personal notes, you could use TikZ boxes as in these examples.

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Are you sure LaTeX is the best way to take notes? LaTeX is for typesetting documents. Your notes don't generally need to be typeset. Why aren't you just writing them in plain text?

You could write your notes up in LaTeX (and use the \begin{quote}...\end{quote} environment for marking out quotations, but I'm not really sure what advantage this has over plain text.

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So, what do You suggest? I mean, I don't want to write my notes in OpenOffice (or similar), I want them to look clear and nice. Are there any good tools that could help me? Let's say, I want to publish my notes, I thought, LaTeX would be good solution. –  exTyn Feb 1 '11 at 12:33
@exTyn LaTeX will make them look nice, but it isn't a good option if you want to publish them on a blog. See Charles' answer for better options. –  Seamus Feb 1 '11 at 13:25