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How do you make it visible to the reader that the printed word/term is an entry in the glossary? In my PDF on the computer, I just see it because I use the hyperref package and there's a red box around it. But when printing it, there's just nothing that makes it visible to the user.

Is there a typographically good and common way of doing this?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suggest to use italic, small caps or (asssuming the running text is typeset in serif) a sans serif font to indicate glossary entries resp. their first use in the text. You may also add a "Conventions" section to introduce the chosen typographic style to the reader.

Here's an example using the glossaries package:

\documentclass{article}

\newcommand*{\glossfirstformat}[1]{\textsf{#1}}

\usepackage{glossaries}
\makeglossaries

\renewcommand{\glsdisplayfirst}[4]{\glossfirstformat{#1#4}}
\renewcommand*{\glsnamefont}{\sffamily}

\newglossaryentry{electrolyte}{name=electrolyte,%
    description={solution able to conduct electric current}}

\textheight=160pt% just for the example

\begin{document}

\section*{Conventions}

A glossary entry is displayed \glossfirstformat{this way} the first time
it is used in the document.

\section{A section}

Some text about \gls{electrolyte}.

Some more text about \gls{electrolyte}.

\printglossaries

\end{document}

enter image description here

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I think this is normally not done, sorry. I checked in a few (German) books with a glossary and none indicate references to the glossary.

If you still want to do it something subtle would be in order. Italic, bold, really small caps, or increasing the tracking (space between letters).

I'd probably go with increased tracking but this is probably not how professionals do it.

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I struggled with this for a long time. The glossaries package is for making a kind of an index with definitions. What I had was a list of definitions, and I simply wanted to print them in a format suitable for definitions. I did not want to go through the book and find all, or even some, of the places where the terms were used.

After a lot of digging though a lot of arcane documentation, I finally experimented enough to find this relatively easy solution:

\begin{list}{}{\setlength\labelwidth{0pt}%
           \setlength\itemindent{-\leftmargin}%
           \let\makelabel\descriptionlabel}

\item[analytics] -- A mechanism for collecting and processing 
statistics in a meaningful way.

\item[best practice] -- An approach to achieving a particular outcome 
that is believed to be more effective than any other approach in a 
particular condition or circumstance.

\item[business operations platform (BOP)] -- A next-generation 
technology platform oriented toward continuously designing, 
executing, monitoring, changing, and optimizing critical business 
processes.

\item[business process] -- A set of one or more linked activities 
which collectively realize a business objective or policy goal, 
normally within the context of an organizational structure defining
functional roles and relationships.

\end{list}

The resulting output looks like this:

enter image description here

Hope that is helpful to those who just want a list of definitions formatted.

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