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I want to know the differences in settings between article and minimal document classes. I don't want to do this task by comparing their source codes manually. Is there a simple way to know a list of article settings that are different from minimal settings?

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    You must read the documented source code (classes.dtx in pdf format). Do not just ask questions before you do the research yourself. – Leo Liu Jul 18 '11 at 10:29
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It's easy: this is all minimal does

\renewcommand\normalsize{\fontsize{10pt}{12pt}\selectfont}

\setlength{\textwidth}{6.5in}
\setlength{\textheight}{8in}

\pagenumbering{arabic}  % but no page numbers are printed because:
\pagestyle{empty}       % this is actually already in the kernel

If you are asking for a complete list of LaTeX parameters with their default values, then it's quite a big job. The layout package shows all parameters which are relevant about the page settings.

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minimal defines the normal fontsize, \textwidth, \textheight, pagenumbering and pagestyle. That's all ...

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