Being new to LateX (I have been playing around for less than a week), Im looking for an end-all method to format the indentation for an entire document. This would include:

  • subsection indentation,
  • paragraph indentation (first line and hanging),
  • list indentation,
  • list item indentation (first line and hanging),
  • table indentation,
  • float indentation,
  • paragraph indentation which includes a wrapped figure/picture,

So far I just cant seem to get all of these things to work all at the same time.

One method I tried using was encapsulating all my paragraphs in:

  first paragraph
  second paragraph
  third paragraph (embedded picture)

However that left me unable to indent first lines and lists.

Another method I tried was this

        {\list{}{\leftmargin=0.3in \rightmargin=0in}%

  first paragraph
  second paragraph
  third paragraph (imbedded picture)

But now my text flows right over my pictures. (also, if someone could point out why \list{} does anything without a \begin starting it that would be very handy).

the methods I am fiddling with right now feel very crude. Is there a way to declare a global formatting for all paragraphs based upon its "Level of Depth"?

Lastly, I cannot find a good resource that is just a reference database of commands, their options, the arguments they take, and how to use/what to use them for. For lack of a better description, something similar to how for java programming, you can find almost anything on http://docs.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/api/java/util/package-summary.html.

Help would be greatly appreciated.

  • welcome to tex.sx, it is much easier to help if you extend your examples to be complete small documents that show the problem. Basically zz is the right thing (it is the definition of the quote environment more or less, setting \leftskip directly in latex is just wring and will lead to pain:-) It is hard to know what you mean by "level of depth" your examples don't show any nesting, or multiple paragraphs Aug 21, 2013 at 23:07
  • 2
    as for your question about \list, apart from some error checking \begin{zzzz} is just \begingroup\zzzz so it often is convenient to use \zzzz directly if you know what you are doing and know you don't need the grouping in some context that has already supplied a group. Aug 21, 2013 at 23:09
  • As for your reference, texdoc is your best friend. texdoc <package name> will 'describe' the package you give it; it will pull up the full manual (almost always as a PDF) that explains the package. For your indentation, I'd use a combination of geometry, titlesec and enum???? (there is a package that deals specifically with lists), keeping in mind that you can have 'negative' indentation for the first line. Aug 21, 2013 at 23:39
  • >David Carlisle, I didnt show any nesting in that example because I didnt want it to grow to large. This was what I was referring to en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/… >Sean Allred, Thanks, but how do I look up things that are not packages? Things that come built into LateX, e.g. \list?
    – Bob
    Aug 22, 2013 at 2:25

1 Answer 1


There are lots of good references out there. Take a look at some of the answers given to this question on best practices. In fact, if you're a complete newbie, I would highly recommend starting with Leslie Lamport's book. When I was starting LaTeX, I also found the references mentioned in this question about intermediate documentation quite useful.

As for an on-line reference -- apart from this current site -- I've found this TeX FAQ website very useful and informative.

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