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I really like the style of

\documentclass[a4paper, twocolumn]{book}

These documents just look incredibly well done. This applies for LaTeX in general, the above document class is just an example.

Is there a way to access information like the font sizes, distances (text/title), leadings and so on? Can I just "look it up"?

It seems to me that the typography of the base layouts is so great that I would like to use these rules for styling other kinds of output formats as well (e.g. HTML).

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Each documentclass is some sort of template that defines the appearance of a document in general and defines some elements. Books and reports for example provide chapters, whereas articles don't.

Documentclasses usually have a limited set of options, to define the fontsize, if the document shall be typeset in two-column mode, the papersize and so on. Some classes have more, some less options.

You can look up the possible options in the documentation, which every class should have. Hard coded stuff, like margin sizes or font size of titles, can be viewed directly in the source code of the class.

Many LaTeX packages provide functionality, to tweak a class appearance to your own needs.

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