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What is the difference between between empty and plain as in \thispagestyle{empty} and \thispagestyle{plain}?

Are there any more options? What do they differ in?

share|improve this question
Why don't you simply try it out? – Ulrike Fischer Aug 2 '14 at 16:35
up vote 22 down vote accepted

Standard classes

LaTeX predefines four page styles for standard classes:

  • empty Both header and footer are empty.

  • plain The header is empty; the footer contains the page number.

  • headings The footer is empty; the header contains information determined by the class (based on sectional units) and the page number.

  • myheadings It is similar to headings but the user controls the information in the header.

There is a number of packages that allow the definition of new page styles and/or the redefinition of predefined styles:


memoir offers a greater number of predefined page styles:

  • empty The headers and footers are empty.

  • plain The header is empty and the folio (page number) is centered at the bottom of the page.

  • headings The footer is empty. The header contains the folio at the outer side of the page; on verso pages the chapter name, number and title, in slanted uppercase is set at the spine margin and on recto pages the section number and uppercase title is set by the spine margin.

  • myheadings Like the headings style the footer is empty. You have to specify what is to go in the headers.

  • simple The footer is empty and the header contains the folio (page number) at the outer side of the page. It is like the headings style but without any title texts.

  • ruled The footer contains the folio at the outside. The header on verso pages contains the chapter number and title in small caps at the outside; on recto pges the section title is typeset at the outside using the normal font. A line is drawn underneath the header.

  • Ruled This is like the ruled style except that the headers and footers extend into the fore- edge margin.

  • companion This is a copy of the pagestyle in the Companion series. It is similar to the Ruled style in that the header has a rule which extends to the outer edge of the marginal notes. The folios are set in bold at the outer ends of the header. The chapter title is set in a bold font flushright in the verso headers, and the section number and title, again in bold, flushleft in the recto headers. There are no footers.

  • book This is the same as the plain pagestyle.

  • chapter This is the same as the plain pagestyle.

  • cleared This is the same as the empty pagestyle.

  • part This is the same as the plain pagestyle.

  • title This is the same as the plain pagestyle.

  • titlingpage This is the same as the empty pagestyle.

The class offers its own mechanism to (re)define page styles.

KOMA classes

  • empty is the page style with entirely empty headers and footers. In KOMA - Script this is completely identical to the standard classes.

  • headings is the page style with running headings in the header. These are headings for which titles are automatically inserted into the header. With the classes scrbook and scrreprt the titles of chapters and sections are repeated in the header for double-sided layout; with KOMA-Script on the outer side, with the standard classes on the inner side.

    The page number is set on the outer side of the footer with KOMA-Script; with the standard classes it is set on the inner side of the header. In one-sided layouts only the titles of the chapters are used and are, with KOMA - Script, centered in the header. The page numbers are set centered in the footer with KOMA-Script. scrartcl behaves similarly, but starting a level deeper in the section hierarchy with sections and subsections, because the chapter level does not exist in this case. While the standard classes automatically set running headings always in capitals, KOMA-Script applies the style of the title.

  • myheadings corresponds mostly to the page style headings, but the running headings are not automatically produced — they have to be defined by the user.

  • plain is the page style with empty header and only a page number in the footer. With the standard classes this page number is always centered in the footer. With KOMA-Script the page number appears on double-sided layout on the outer side of the footer. The one-sided page style behaves like the standard setup.

KOMA-Script classes support rules below the head and above the foot using the options headsepline and footsepline.

Although page styles can be (re)defined using fancyhdr, a dedicated package scrlayer-scrpage was designed to better integrate with the KOMA-Script bundle. This package is not limited to use only with the KOMA-Script classes, but can just as easily be used with other document classes.

Sources: memman and scrguien.

share|improve this answer
The KOMA packages scrpage2 and its successor scrlayer-scrpage can be used with other classes, too. So »there are two packages that allow...« is not quite true :) – clemens Aug 2 '14 at 18:36
This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you very much! :) – Mario S. E. Aug 2 '14 at 18:44
@cgnieder True. I updated my answer. – Gonzalo Medina Aug 2 '14 at 18:44
@GonzaloMedina I already had voted :) ... you've missed the page style scrheadings :) BTW: scrlayer-scrpage is the official successor of scrpage2. IIRC scrpage2 isn't even described any more in the latest edition of the KOMA-Script book (at least it's missing in my version of scrguien (2014-07-31)). scrlayer-scrpage is indeed far more capable and flexible. – clemens Aug 2 '14 at 19:03
@cgnieder I'll add scrheadings and will also change the scrpage2 package to scrlayer-scrpage. – Gonzalo Medina Aug 2 '14 at 19:06

\thispagestyle{empty} makes header and footer, well… empty; plain just puts a page number at the centre of the footer. But you can use any page style that is known to the system, say defined in your preamble with the help of a package like titleps, bundled with titlesec.

share|improve this answer
are there any more options besides plain and empty? – Mario S. E. Aug 2 '14 at 18:07
They're the same as for \pagestyle: headings to add headers, and myheadings, where it's up to you to declare what exactly goes into the headers. In addition, if you use the fancyhdr package, you have the fancy page style, that you can re-define; as for titleps, it lets you define new page styles or redefine existing page styles. – Bernard Aug 2 '14 at 18:59

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