I have a question that may be subjective but I will try to make it as less subjective as possible.

Is this the correct way to format a book in LaTeX?

What I have done is the following:

Main.tex - This file contains the structure of the book.

Separate file for each chapter: 



Each chapter file is set up in the following way:

\chapter{Chapter name}

\section{Section name}

\subsection{subsection name}

Then these chapter files are added to the main file through input

Is this the correct way of formatting? Or in other words, is there a more efficient way to do this or am I do this correctly? Can I improve on this?

Thanks a lot for your time!


I am referring to the input files and how they should be structured and if the way I have structured my chapters is also correct.

  • Have you seen When should I use \input vs. \include? – Qrrbrbirlbel Mar 9 '13 at 20:08
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel Yes, I have but that does that effect the overall formatting of the book? And I changed \input to \include and now only my first chapter is showing. – Jeel Shah Mar 9 '13 at 20:13
  • Yes, it does. \include forces a \clearpage, i.e. the content will start at a new page, which is also need in combination with \includeonly which you don’t have with \input. Only the first chapter is showing? Something’s wrong. – Qrrbrbirlbel Mar 9 '13 at 20:26
  • When you say that you're looking to "format a book", are you talking about the structure of the input file(s) or about how to format the output? I assume it's the former. However, it would be helpful if you could confirm this impression. – Mico Mar 9 '13 at 20:29
  • @Mico I am referring to the input files and how they should be structured. – Jeel Shah Mar 9 '13 at 20:32

One of the problems in answering your question is that no matter whether you are a writer or programmer, workflow is necessarily personnel. Which sort of boils down to do what works for you.

The scheme you've outlined is pretty much what I use. That said, here is the reason I use it. This approach means that at each level, nothing is visible except the necessary. No noise. In programming terms alone, this is how we eliminate spaghetti code. More importantly this allows you to concentrate on what is important at any given level. You may in fact find it necessary to further 'input-ize' your opus.

For instance I found it necessary to split off each diagram in a particular chapter much the same way graphics are organized. Admittedly I do this with graphics because I don't need to see them whereas with the diagrams I don't want to see them. Subtle but for me an important distinction.

Another thing that I do in aid of this approach is to develop each sub-file separately. This is fairly easy to arrange using various forms of \if but there are packages that assist as well. I 'use' standalone so that I don't have to bother with even the small code the the if approach demands. Note that at each step the important part is to minimize complication in what you 'see' before you. As a side note, this pretty much demands using a personal or project bound style file. This hides yet more noise and again allows you to concentrate on the task at hand. A more thorough treatment can be found at LaTeX/Modular Documents

In sum, I believe the less you see in front of you, the more you can concentrate on the work at hand.

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