TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What rules does TeX or LaTeX follows when typesetting the document?

I mean is there a set of rules, in English typography, that dictates how to typeset books etc.. For example how many different types of titles are there, how to align titles with respect to text...

There is such a work in Russian publishing-typography called Handbook for publisher and author. Is there something like this in English?

share|improve this question
up vote 15 down vote accepted

I think there's some confusion.

There aren't set-in-stone rules, that is, there is not a universal "set of typography rules that dictates how to typeset books, etc."

Each publishing house decides on their typography rules.

Granted, there are some "general rules" that are "widely acknowledged" but by that same property, they are not specific/detailed and there are always cases where the opposite is needed.

The Chicago Manual and the alike, dictate rules to follow a specific style, but those are not "universal typography rules" that apply to all books.

Now, LaTeX rules define a default style for the base classes, but you can adjust it to pretty much any other (different) style

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I guess my question was more directed towards grammar not latex - as in "what is the de facto standard" of typography for professional books. Chicago manual is not so much a typographic guideline as a "style" guideline. I.e. it does not specify precisely how headings or alignments should look. – drozzy Apr 27 '11 at 12:58

The standard Latex classes is biased towards the American styles, but there are a number of class files for the European type rules, e.g. the Koma script classes.

The Chicago Manual of Style is a very good reference for the American typographic rules. For the British rules have a look at the The Oxford Style Manual. Robert Bringhurst's "the elements of typographic style" is one of the best books I have ever read.

Have a look at wikipedia

share|improve this answer
Most of the styles, seem to focus on correct language and wording use. Not with the layout of the page or text positioning... For example, should the heading be aligned with the left-most margin of the text, or with the first indented paragraph? – drozzy Mar 26 '11 at 19:16
@drozzy Bringhurst's book is full with details about proper page layout. – Marc van Dongen Jan 5 '13 at 1:50

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.