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I am writing a manual/guide for our intranet using LaTeX.

I am wondering if there are classes developed for this purpose? A search returns results that are manuals about using LaTeX.

Spefically I want to make use of "hint" boxes and the like (Floating boxes in a guide that have a short hint or some such thing). I find the way these stand out from the rest of the text really draws in the readers attention.

Perhaps there is a better -- read less complex -- way of going about this using the standard book or article class?

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3 Answers

Do consider Texinfo, as endorsed by Karl Berry for this task. The Latex-based compilation route is pretty bare bones, but it allows you to produce custom html, and supporting hint boxes in the html is not too difficult. pandoc is a serviceable Latex to Texinfo converter.

A Latex example, the source of Oetiker's Not so short introduction to LaTeX2e is available: he uses the normal book class, together with a custom style, and supports some graphically offset hints, although I think not really what you are after. See lshort.tex and lshort.sty.

Context was designed with producing educational books in mind, and is good for putting together documents with boxed content for emphasis, and allows some use of interactive PDFs and XML-based publishing. The introductory text, Context: An Excursion, showcases this.

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Not a guide or a class, but for writing about LaTeX, I think the showexpl package is great. It provides the LTXexample environment that allows you to have a piece of code and what it typesets to side by side.

It relies on the listings package for formatting code.

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I am using the tufte-book class to write tutorials. The main text is pretty narrow, but the margin is wide enough for pointers to specific keywords (you can see that quite often in LaTeX package manuals), extensive notes and small figures. If you need full-width text, it has an environment for that.

You can see examples (and download the class) at http://code.google.com/p/tufte-latex/.

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