I am currently writing my master's thesis and I try to avoid using enumerations as much as I can, as they look rather ugly/unprofessional to me. However, sometimes I can't escape using some them and I'd like to use the best one. This might be personal, so my question is twofold:

  • Is there some consensus on what kind of enumerations to use in papers/thesises/etc?
  • If there is not and you came across this problem as well, how did you proceed?
  • 2
    I'm not sure this is a really an appropriate question for the site, as it's basically opinion based. For starters, there's no way of evaluating your opinion that enumerations look "ugly/unprofessional". What does this even mean? If you show an example of an enumeration and what exactly you don't like about it (spacing?, indentation?, etc.) then perhaps the question is more answerable. See e.g. Vertical space in lists and Customizing enumerations and itemizations – Alan Munn Mar 10 '16 at 16:11
  • @AlanMunn, thanks. I know it's opinion based, but the circles (as in my question) look unprofessional (/childish) to me. Furthermore, using numbers to list multiple items seems to indicate some order relation, which might be inappropriate. As for belonging on this site or not, I am equally fine with the answer being "No, there is no consensus, since they are not unprofessional". – Eric Mar 10 '16 at 16:20
  • Looking at list structures i cannot really say that lists are unprofesional. Are you aware that different types of lists exist? – Johannes_B Mar 10 '16 at 16:41
  • 1
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I am afraid. :) Little I can say about the symbols used for such representations, so my suggestion is to use enumitem and patch your lists to use a better symbol. :) – Paulo Cereda Mar 10 '16 at 16:41
  • yeah no need for the non-constructive comments attacking me personally because apparently it is not non-professional. – Eric Mar 11 '16 at 8:17

I really don't think there's an answer to this question. If you don't like the aesthetics of the standard bullet point, it's easy to change it using the enumitem package and an appropriate font.

Of course 'childish' is a very subjective notion, and saying that the standard bullet looks like that seems a bit of a stretch. For comparison, here are some suggestions of varying professionalism. If you find squares more professional you could go with the third version.

%!TEX TS-program = xelatex
\setmainfont{Linux Libertine O}
\newfontfamily\tombat{Tombats Four} % from http://www.fontspace.com/divide-by-zero/tombats-four
\begin{itemize}[label={\tombat g},nosep]
\item First item
\item Second item
\item Third item
\begin{itemize}[label={\tombat X},nosep]
\item First item
\item Second item
\item Third item
\begin{itemize}[label={\small\raisebox{.1em}{■}}, nosep]
\item First item
\item Second item
\item Third item

output of code

  • 3
    I am using this duck enumeration for my thesis. – Paulo Cereda Mar 10 '16 at 17:05
  • Definitely going with the duck yeah! – Eric Mar 11 '16 at 8:14

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