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texlive now has about 150,000 files, and thousands of packages. I obviously don't know the vast majority. I only know what I regularly use. A long time ago, the LaTeX Companion was my bible, but the most recent edition was so long and is so old by now that I had to give up on this one, too.

is there a list of "most important" and "most popular" packages that I should be aware of but am not yet aware of? unfortunately, there is no "public use" counter for latex packages :-( .

I did a quick scan through my hundreds of latex files over the years to identify my own list of most used packages, which contain

  • amsmath
  • array
  • babel
  • booktabs
  • caption
  • color
  • float
  • graphicx
  • hyperref
  • microtype
  • needspace
  • rotating
  • setspace
  • ulem
  • url
  • xcolor

I would consider latex almost useless without about half of these packages. I also use beamer and tikz, too---not as often, but important. (I am still keeping an eye on lualatex and context; and every two decades, I am checking back on latex3.)

I think novices and experts would both benefit from a list of "need-to-know" great packages for latex users. what other essential common packages that every latex user should know did I not list?

marked as duplicate by lockstep, Rico, Kurt, Zarko, darthbith Jan 2 '16 at 14:53

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    surely you only need the packages in this list :) – David Carlisle Jan 2 '16 at 10:21
  • surely it is still too many to study :( (at least for me) – Symbol 1 Jan 2 '16 at 13:05
  • @DavidCarlisle: Oh my, you've written packages? ;-) Till now I have known you only as being a talented MS Pain(t) artist ;-) – Christian Hupfer Jan 2 '16 at 15:03
  • thanks for the pointer to the original question. wasn't easy to locate for me, so this dead question with the link is a good thing. – ivo Welch Jan 2 '16 at 17:16

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