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So, I'm a Mac user, and a little bit of a type nut (probably not compared to many users on here, though! :P)

I've been happily typing emdashes and curly-quotes on my keyboard for years, and years: ⌥⇧-, ⌥[ / ⌥⇧[ … you get the idea. Now, LaTeX has been pretty wonderful so far, but I've been studiously avoiding junk like \wedge or --- or `` where just typing the damn Unicode character would work perfectly fine (Hon.m unicode-math!) … but I'm definitely getting the impression that that's going against the grain in this community, and I want to write what's perceived as clean, idiomatic code, so …


Is there any typesetting benefit or purpose to using `` instead of , and similar LaTeX conventions, in the source-code to your LaTeX document?

  • Take a look at csquotes it will put quotes according to the currently active language and you can choose witch style to use per language. Pretty cool. – Johannes_B Feb 2 '16 at 17:04
  • With respect to using the unicode char or the LaTeX thing, it will be the same for pdflatex under the hood – Johannes_B Feb 2 '16 at 17:04
  • as long as you have specified \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} and the character you are typing is defined, or if you are using xelatex or lualatex, then the input forms are converted to a common form before being typeset, so use whichever is easiest – David Carlisle Feb 2 '16 at 17:04
  • @Johannes_B am I to understand that David's answer is wrong, then? i.e. csquotes and similar only replace `` etc, and won't work if I'm using “these” throughout my document? – ELLIOTTCABLE Feb 2 '16 at 17:05
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    clearly my comment can't be wrong:-) csquotes addresses a different issue: you don't use the quote characters at all and use tex command markup to mark the quotation, then that can use high quotes or German style low commas or french guillemets or whatever according to the document settings – David Carlisle Feb 2 '16 at 17:08
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Assuming that you have unicode input correctly declared either via

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} 

or using xelatex or lualatex then `` will ligature to “ and produce identical output.

So the pros and cons are all about the human interface to editing, not about latex.

Most latex users use ascii input as they have been using it for a long time, but even now it has some advantages as many people learn (or copy what they did before) by viewing the source, for most people, with most keyboards it does not require any instruction to know how to type `` or \infty but it may not be so clear (and the instructions will be very system and locale specific) how to type or .

For example I did not recognise your ⌥⇧- at all but the first character is U+2325 which is OPTION KEY which I vaguely remember being the name of one of the modifier keys on a Mac keyboard.

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