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(Background: I'm a beginner who will mostly use LaTeX for university articles and reports, but no math. Also, as I reside in Canada, the German typography conventions, which I understand KOMA-Script supports better than LaTeX, are less relevant).

I've read that the KOMA-Script package has a lot of improvements for the default document classes. Yet the manual's length, about 250 pages, is somewhat daunting. I plan to read the chapters I'm interested in anyway but it'd be useful to have some pointers about low hanging fruits. I searched the site and other answers say KOMA-Script adds improvements but do not delve into details.

I'll ask this as a community wiki topic and, since the audience of this site is international, feel free to mention German typography if KOMA-Script is better there.

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@doncherry: KOMA-script is a collection of classes and packages, so the packages tag seems to be appropriate. –  lockstep Sep 1 '11 at 19:37
    
That's @Caramdir, I just exchanged best-practices for big-list, the rest was the platform jumbling things around. Even more interestingly, I didn't remove the space in the title, that must've been done automagically. (Btw, you can use [tag:tagname] in comments.) Edit: As I think about it -- I don't have any expertise in KOMA -- the packages tag should only be kept if we're discussing packages that are used on top of KOMA, if it's only KOMA, this tag is not necessary because the specific "package" has its own tag. –  doncherry Sep 1 '11 at 19:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 29 down vote accepted

Unlike memoir, the KOMA-Script-classes do not add the functionality of dozens of packages to the LaTeX core - but the KOMA-additions are useful and extremely easy to handle. Roughly in order of the documentation:

  • Customizable type area with default values that also (contrary to the standard classes) work well for letter- and A4-paper,
  • Support for arbitrarily chosen font sizes (e.g. 10.5pt),
  • Ability to change font size mid-document,
  • Customization of the font attributes of many document elements,
  • Enhanced \maketitle features (e.g. \subtitle),
  • \addpart, \addchap, and \addsec commands producing unnumbered parts, chapters, and sections that are nevertheless included in the table of contents,
  • Options to include the bibliography, the index etc. in the table of contents,
  • parskip option that is more powerful than the package of the same name,
  • Configurable footnotes (including some features of the footmisc package),
  • Option open=left to always start chapters on left pages,
  • Consistent formatting of every "listofsomething" (e.g. "chapter gaps" in the "List of Listings"),
  • Lots of little things.
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KOMA-Script brings even more than extended classes: it offers packages to allow other classes to benefit from its features.

Here are some of them:

  • typearea provides automatic calculation of layout dimensions according to classical typography,

  • scrpage2 is a feature-rich replacement for fancyhdr,

  • scrextend brings various KOMA-features together with non-KOMA classes,

  • scrlfile helps managing package dependencies,

  • tocbasic manages table of contents and lists of tables and figures and so on,

  • tocstyle helps with formatting table of contents and lists of floats.

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In addition to what has already been mentioned the KOMA bundle provides the letter class scrlttr2 which is a huge improvement over the standard letter class. scrlttr2 is both easy to configure and has a lot of features including the option of generating letters from address lists.

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