A "best practice" is a technique or approach that TeXnicians recognize as giving better results than other approaches.

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66
votes
12answers
10k views

What are the advantages of using version control (git, CVS etc) in LaTeX documents

Why would I need to use version control with my LaTeX documents? I know people who do it, and I've seen questions about it on here and on SO, but I haven't understood what value there is to doing ...
34
votes
6answers
7k views

Footnotes in tables?

I would like to have footnotes in tables, but the \footnote command does not work inside a table environment. Googling one finds that this is a frequently asked question, at least in the UK. That ...
7
votes
1answer
134 views

Loading a font via package or fontspec

In Xe(La)TeX, what is the difference between loading a font via its package, i. e. \usepackage{tgpagella}, and loading it through fontspec (\fontspec{TeX Gyre Pagella}). When loaded with the package, ...
6
votes
0answers
54 views

Customizing names of auxiliary file: safe practices?

I maintain a package (morewrites) which requires a temporary auxiliary file to function (written and read right away). This auxiliary file is currently named \jobname.mw, and a user has asked me to ...
49
votes
3answers
1k views

Advantages and disadvantages of fully expandable macros

As I currently understand them, fully-expandable macros are analogous to pure/effect-free functions in functional programming. Correspondingly, things that are not expandable, such as \def, are ...
2
votes
1answer
144 views

Best practices - How should one go about drawing lots of rectangular (=similar) shapes?

This is rather general inquiry, with intent to find out how to go about this the best way with the less time-consuming the better. How would you draw a graphics with lots of rectangles (or other ...
60
votes
2answers
9k views

When should one use \begingroup instead of \bgroup?

Is there ever a case when the use of \begingroup is preferred to \bgroup? Obviously, \bgroup is necessary in cases where you need to have balanced braces and thus cannot use {, but when is it ...
30
votes
4answers
1k views

How to make TikZ faster?

I have a long document containing plenty of TikZ figures and it is painfully slow to compile it. Is there any specific TikZ tips / good practices you could recommend me so that I can write figures ...
106
votes
39answers
8k views

What are the most common mistakes that beginners of (La)TeX and Friends make?

I want to collect the most common mistakes, misconceptions, pitfalls, etc that (La)TeX and Friends users make. Please one answer for each mistake, misconception, pitfall, etc. I am only interested in ...
64
votes
6answers
3k views

How to keep up with packages and know which ones are obsolete?

I'm an on and off user of LaTeX so I'm not familiar with every package out there. Having said that, whenever I use LaTeX and need to accomplish a certain goal (i.e. generate a list of appendices), I ...
1
vote
0answers
77 views

Contextual mix of lining and old-style numbers

I am developing a class that fits the needs of both academics and non-academics; the latter often need to write highly legible numbers that are not math (they will be prices, reference numbers, dates, ...
12
votes
1answer
215 views

Is there a limit to the size of a tex-file?

I've been writing a document for some time now. It is steadily growing and hopefully will continue to do so. Lately I realised that -- although I just recently bought a new MacBook -- when I work on ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

git LaTeX and branches workflow

I'm getting more and more comfortable with git, and I'm learning how to use it with my LaTeX documents. However, I'm not at all a git wizard and thus I'm looking for further advices. One can find many ...
9
votes
1answer
131 views

Writing documents easily editable by non-proficient LaTeX users

We often produce documents that will have to be edited by others who are not as proficient at LaTeX than us, and not as keen to spend time learning. It may be that such documents will persist for a ...
12
votes
2answers
383 views

How to typeset a file path?

I would like to properly typeset a file path, e.g. C:\Program Files\Some program\bin\executable.exe The first problem I encountered was that LaTeX tries to treat \Program as a command. I tried ...
9
votes
1answer
208 views

Make a “standalone” version of multiple files: all document in one .tex file

Disclaimer: this question is not related to the standalone package. When writing an article, I split the content between several files, to ease the versionning notably. At the time of writing, most ...
98
votes
5answers
39k views

utf8x vs. utf8 (inputenc)

I normally use \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} for my latex document but on this site i saw a lot of code with \usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}. What are the differences between the 2 options ? Is there one ...
9
votes
1answer
224 views

DIV and BCOR setting in KOMA (best practices)

I have been playing around and I now realize it is possible to set the type area using a KOMA class by a couple of ways, and I'll like to know which is the correct one. \documentclass[% a4paper, ...
26
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the proper use of \@ (i.e., backslash-at)?

In this answer, \@ is used after a period and before an \xspace, presumably to indicate that the preceding period (in "etc.") was not sentence-final. In these tips, \@ is used before a period and ...
7
votes
3answers
145 views

Handling typesetting of plural class names

I'm sorry if this is the wrong stackexchange to ask in, but it seems to be the place where people care about typography :) I'm writing lecture notes on Android development, and I like to put class ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

distinguish between symmetric and asymmetric page layouts

In order to fix a bug in the new version of the sidenotes package (bug reported here), I made the following environment: \newenvironment{autoadjustwidth}[2]% {\ifthenelse{\boolean{@twoside}}% ...
3
votes
0answers
53 views

Edit Tabular-like Environment using Emacs+AUCTeX

I am using Emacs+AUCTeX to write all my LaTeX files. So far so good except every time when I need to edit some tabular-like environment. I need some tricks or key bindings to take advantage of Emacs ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

How can I avoid the need for global variables here?

Consider the following example: \documentclass{article} \usepackage{xparse} \usepackage{longtable} \usepackage{multirow} \usepackage{hyperref} \ExplSyntaxOn \int_new:N \g__ioiooiioio_args_int ...
3
votes
1answer
30 views

subsequent macro detection

I would like to detect subsequent macros, in order to insert superscript numbers. If two macros follow each other, a comma should be inserted in between. The minimal example (stripped of the useful ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

When to emphasize text in formal texts? [closed]

Text can be emphasized in LaTeX using \emph or \textit. For what kinds of text or situations is it recommended to use such emphasis in formal texts? For example, in an article, paper or thesis, when ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Test for empty value in xparse

Following the recommendation of the answers to this question, I use the following code \ExplSyntaxOn \DeclareExpandableDocumentCommand{\IfNoValueOrEmptyTF}{mmm} { \IfNoValueTF{#1} {#2} % true ...
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Dame latex macros

I am in the initial stages of writing my thesis (Maths). I once wrote a joint paper with someone and because they had an existing template we used it, with all the latex macros it had. Basically ...
4
votes
0answers
58 views

Latexdiff “fixes” and config files

Latexdiff, while overall very useful, sometimes requires manual fixes to its configuration variables and default options; for instance, excluding the tikzpicture environment from the diff algorithm ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Formatting arrows between rows of corresponding matrices

Some material I'm creating requires output that looks like this: (note the position of the arrows). I'm using the following code (with the AMS macros) to generate this, and I'm looking for ...
6
votes
0answers
374 views

best practice to include (standalone precompiled) graphics

General understanding I know that several people have asked about how to include plots and graphics (created by tikz and pstricks) into a latex document. What is the best way to include Matlab ...
23
votes
2answers
465 views

Multi-line options with the `\usepackage` command

When including a package using the \usepackage command that has a lot of options, are there: Any restrictions on how the options can be split across multiple lines? Any best practices for formatting ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Best practice for hyperref link colours?

I'm using the hyperref package with the option colorlinks=true. However, I'm not happy with the default link colours: for instance, citation links appear in a flamboyantly bright green that hurts my ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Fractions with large elements

What is best practice for typesetting fractions with large objects in the numerator and denominator? For example, fractions with limits, integrals, summations, etc... cause the expressions to look ...
8
votes
3answers
599 views

TikZ: How can I write my code more concisely?

I am learning how to use TikZ and want to learn ways to write more concise TikZ code. I feel I use many more lines than others may need to achieve the same results. In particular, I want to learn a ...
6
votes
1answer
163 views

Why not put a space between commands and parameters?

I hope this is just a matter of taste, but is there any reason not to separate a command from its first parameter with a space? (Or multiple parameters with intervening spaces for that matter.) ...
12
votes
1answer
186 views

Proper semantics for italicized foreign words and phrases

In English, foreign words and phrases such as per se and ibid. should be italicized, as shown here. There might be a number of ways to accomplish this in LaTeX: with \emph{per se} with \textit{per ...
2
votes
0answers
75 views

Upright math in italic lemma

I naively entered the following math-mode/text mix in a theorem environment, but the way LaTeX treats the parenthesis doesn't seem right. Especially upright math formulas in italic text parenthesis ...
4
votes
1answer
88 views

Why are certain mathematics operators not defined and how do I replicate them?

I noticed that while \ker renders correctly as the "kernel" operator in Linear Algebra, the corresponding \im for the "image" is not defined (I tried everything that could possibly be an abbreviation ...
3
votes
0answers
86 views

How do you best differentiate listings in different programming languages? [closed]

I am currently producing a new edition of an old book of mine; this new book will incorporate code samples from several different computing environments. I can using the listings package quite ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Subscripts on Variables uneven

When I write something like $|x_n y_n - xy|<\epsilon$ the n's in the subscripts are placed at different depths, which looks awkward in my opinion. For instance, see this post over on ...
5
votes
0answers
115 views

Guidelines for creating an index

This is not necessarily a LaTeX-only question, and it is a bit open-ended, but given that this community is clearly very detail-oriented, and it is a general-interest question, I think that this is a ...
22
votes
1answer
8k views

How to properly code a TeX file, or at least avoid `badness 10000`

I'm coding a TeX file and although the .pdf is correctly rendered, I'm using "stone age" tools to code it. As some examples, I use \\ to leave a line space between two paragraphs, or \noindent in ...
6
votes
0answers
175 views

Typography and style - good choices for font styles in TikZ or pgfplots graphics?

When creating graphics or graphs with TikZ and/or pgfplots, one can put several commands to format the text to his likings. My question is: what are sound possibilities to format the elements in said ...
12
votes
1answer
344 views

Code improvement on a title page design

I am designing a new title page to post in the topic Showcase of beautiful title page done in TeX but am having some issues with the code I wrote. I don't like and I know it can be improved. In ...
5
votes
4answers
172 views

Simplify how I write my address in documents

Often when writing letters and articles, I need to print my address at the beginning or end of the document. I do this in the following ugly way: \documentclass{article} \begin{document} \noindent My ...
8
votes
2answers
231 views

Using the correct indefinite article with acronyms and their full forms

I am using the acronym package so as to automatically expand acronyms when they are first used. For example, I can simply type \ac{RMS}, and LaTeX automatically expands this to "Resource Management ...
40
votes
5answers
10k views

When should I use non-breaking space?

DEK gained a reputation of painting red the draft dissertations of his students, taking particular note of incidents when they omitted a non-breaking space that should have been included. I have this ...
66
votes
3answers
12k views

Does it matter if I use \textit or \it, \bfseries or \bf, etc

I typically use \textit{Some italicized text} while some of my colleagues use {\it Some other text} Should I bother changing one or the other, or does it matter?
39
votes
6answers
3k views

Writing readable LaTeX

Lets say I have the following LaTeX code \subsection{Convex sets} A set \( \mathcal{S} \) in \( \mathbb{R}^n \) is said to be convex if \[ \mathbf{x}_1, \mathbf{x}_2 \in \mathcal{S} \implies \lambda ...
8
votes
4answers
362 views

What is the easiest way to generate a compact bibliography?

In a beamer presentation I want to use the \nocite{*} macro, so all entries in the bib file will be included, regardless whether I actually cited an entry or not. However, this yields a rather long ...