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I'm really growing fond of the memoir package. I have a large document in which I use the report documentclass. How much trouble would it be to switch to memoir; i.e. what would I 'probably' need to change based on common dissertation, or scientific writing? I understand that the question is a bit open, but all I'm asking for is general assumptions and solutions.

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if the document is large or not is not the point. The point is your preamble. Do you have a lot of redefinitions or new definitions? If yes, then it maybe a pain to switch to memoir. However, it is possible anyway. – Herbert Jan 25 '12 at 14:15
No, actually I don't have any redefinitions or new definitions. – Ayman Elmasry Jan 25 '12 at 14:19
\it is already deprecated. Replace it in your document with \itshape – Herbert Jan 25 '12 at 14:25
\it and similar commands were deprecated in 1994. The memoir class option oldfontcommands will re-enable them, and warn about their use instead of causing errors. But I'd convert them wherever possible. – Mike Renfro Jan 25 '12 at 14:29
I'm not sure this question is a good fit for this Q&A site as it stands. What would constitute a good answer to this question? Could you reword it? Why not try converting a document to memoir and seeing what problems you encounter? – Seamus Jan 25 '12 at 15:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It should convert very easy, but as some of the comments mentioned, you will need to have a check in your preamble for problems. The other consideration is that memoir has a lot of in-built commands and you will need to invest more time in order to utilize it to its full potential. Straight out of the box, it will probably improve the report class.

Here is a MWE which runs either on memoir or the report or the book class. It will also run with no faults using octavo, thesis or tufte-book.

\title{My thesis}
This is a foreign word {\it inter alia}.

If your document is structured, you can use this minimal to input a couple of chapters and see what problems you are facing. Read the memoir manual and if what you are looking is not available, start adding packages as you need. Or you can go big bang and try it on the full document.

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In order to switch from report to memoir, the following changes had to be done for the document to compile without error:

  1. Remove \usepackage{arabtex}
  2. Remove \usepackage{utf8}
  3. Remove any redifitions, such as \renewcommand{\bibname}{References}

... and then it compiled with no problems.

urlcolor=black,pdfauthor={Ayman Elmasry}, pdftitle={Algorithmic Form Generation: A Thermal Building
Envelope Design Approach}}









There are differences in the output of course;

  1. the automatically generated header,
  2. TOC LOF and LOT are all accounted for in the index and the table of contents,
  3. no \newpage is automatically generated before the \abstract command or the TOC, LOF or LOT, they are instead shown at the same pages when possible.
  4. The page number is in the upper right part of the header in all pages except for the first page of the chapter where no header is present, it is then centred in the bottom.
  5. The \abstract command produces a different look with the title centred and much smaller than chapter titles.
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Of course now this result would pose lots of questions, such as what to do to rename you bibliography section, how to manage the header, among other questions. I suppose I'll have to read manual to find out. The arabtex and utf8 issue is of great concern to me as well. – Ayman Elmasry Jan 25 '12 at 18:34
Please look up the concept of \frontmatter and \mainmatter, it will save you a lot of work in the example you posted above (i.e. no need for \chapter* etc. these are handled automatically by \frontmatter – daleif Jan 26 '12 at 12:37

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