Objective: To separate text column from figures column in every page

I don't know if this has been asked before. But so far nothing has come up with my search.

In some books, the figures are placed at the outer side of the page like in the picture below.

Is this achievable in TeX/LaTeX? That is how does one set up the page so that all text will appear in a 'text column' and the figures appear in a 'figures column' in every page?

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\marginpar (or one of its variants) might be your friend here. There are several questions on this site discussing variants of marginpar positioning. – David Carlisle Sep 14 '12 at 11:18
@DavidCarlisle, thanks. Browsing through the \marginpar questions now. – hpesoj626 Sep 14 '12 at 13:28

You could use the tufte-latex package for this, which provides a marginfigure environment:

\documentclass{tufte-handout}

\usepackage{graphicx}

\begin{document}
\section{Rubber Ducks}

\begin{marginfigure}[7.5ex]
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{rubber_duck}
\caption{A classic rubber duck}
\end{marginfigure}

A rubber duck is a toy shaped like a stylised yellow-billed duck, and it is generally yellow with a flat base. It may be made of rubber or rubber-like material such as vinyl plastic. The yellow rubber duck has achieved an iconic status in Western pop culture and is often symbolically linked to bathing. Various novelty variations of the toy are produced.

Its history is linked to the emergence of rubber manufacturing in the late 19th century. The earliest rubber ducks were made from harder rubber.

Jim Henson popularized rubber ducks in 1970, performing the songs "Rubber Duckie" and "DUCKIE" as Ernie, a popular Muppet from Sesame Street. Ernie frequently spoke to his duck and carried it with him in other segments of the show. On a special occasion, Little Richard performed the song.

\begin{marginfigure}[7.5ex]
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{novelty_ducks}
\caption{Non-standard rubber ducks}
\end{marginfigure}

Besides the ubiquitous yellow rubber duck with which most people are familiar, there have been numerous novelty variations on the basic theme, including character ducks representing professions, politicians, or licensed individual celebrities. There are also ducks that glow in the dark, change colour, have interior LED illumination, or include a wind-up engine that enables them to "swim". In 2001, The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper reported that Queen Elizabeth II has a rubber duck in her bathroom that wears an inflatable crown. The duck was spotted by a workman who was repainting her bathroom. The story prompted sales of rubber ducks in the United Kingdom to increase by 80\% for a short period.

Rubber ducks are collected by a small number of enthusiasts. The 2007 Guinness World Record for World's Largest Rubber Duck Collection stood at 2,583 different rubber ducks, and was awarded to Charlotte Lee.

\end{document}


(Text and images from Wikipedia)

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I couldn't have thought of better figures for this answer. :) – hpesoj626 Sep 14 '12 at 12:40
Dem ducks! ♥ :) – Paulo Cereda Sep 15 '12 at 0:18
Thanks a lot Jake. After browsing most of all the posts regarding \marginpar and friends, I see that there can be no better answer than this one. And I see that tufte-latex is indeed the package of choice for doing the job. :) – hpesoj626 Sep 18 '12 at 0:36

Thought I'd add another answer in case you (or anyone else) want the figures to start at the top of the page and work their way downwards, rather than aligning them with the text where the marginal note appears.

\documentclass{book}

\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[demo]{graphicx}
\usepackage{flowfram}

\newflowframe{0.65\textwidth}{\textheight}{0pt}{0pt}[main]
\newdynamicframe{0.3\textwidth}{\textheight}{0.7\textwidth}{0pt}[sidepanel]

% For two-sided documents, swap locations on odd pages

\setflowframe*{main}{evenx=0.35\textwidth}
\setdynamicframe*{sidepanel}{clear,evenx=0pt}

\newcommand{\sidefigure}[1]{%
\appenddynamiccontents*{sidepanel}{%
\begin{staticfigure}
\centering
#1%
\end{staticfigure}
\vspace{\baselineskip}%
}%
}

\begin{document}

\lipsum[1]

\sidefigure{%
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{test-image}
\caption{Sample Figure}
\label{fig:sample1}
}

\lipsum[2]

\sidefigure{%
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{test-image}
\caption{Another Sample Figure}
\label{fig:sample2}
}

\lipsum[3-5]

\sidefigure{%
\includegraphics[width=\linewidth]{test-image}
\caption{A Third Sample Figure}
\label{fig:sample3}
}

\end{document}

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Wow. Thank you very much, Nicola! I wasn't expecting you would find this question and answer it. This answer is definitely very useful. I was thinking of this situation but did not get around to it since. – hpesoj626 Oct 20 '12 at 10:59