In Unix like systems, there are always manpages for the packages installed.When I'm using latex, I have to use some templates or packages. But I'm not familiar with the usage of some package.For example, pifont provides me with wonderful special symbols, however I would not bother to try all numbers using such like \ding{43} to find what it'll output. And there seems not so many cheatsheets when I try Google. It is always said that RTFM and STFW are two good ways for learning. But how for LaTeX learning?


If you have a full TeXLive system, almost every package comes with documentation that is accessible via texdoc. Try

texdoc <package-name>

Where <package-name> is simply the name of the package, excluding .sty or .cls.

and if that fails to find anything, try

texdoc -s <package-name> 

which will show alternatives to choose from.

  • But it seems only works for some packages,the others cannot be got again. BTW,some packages just provide the sty file which I don't want to read :( – Hongxu Chen Mar 14 '12 at 15:53
  • Can you give some examples of ones that don't work? I've rarely encountered problems with most packages. – Alan Munn Mar 14 '12 at 15:54
  • 1
    texdoc pifont brings up the PDF documentation for psnfss2e, section 7 of which documents pifont. In general, when you search for package documentation you should not use .sty or .cls etc. in the search. – Alan Munn Mar 14 '12 at 16:27
  • 2
    I guess you're using TeX Live 2009 (on Debian or Ubuntu maybe?). According to my tests, texdoc from TL09 doesn't find anything for pifont, with TL10 it finds psnfss2e.pdf but only in 2nd position, and with TL11 it does the right thing. Unfortunately, upgrading just texdoc is not that easy. However, you may want to install TL 2011 for the many updates (obviously not just texdoc). – mpg Mar 14 '12 at 23:42
  • 2
    By the way, as the maintainer of texdoc, I'm taking the occasion to emphasize that problem reports as simple as "texdoc <some-package> is not working (with texdoc version and TL version)" are highly appreciated (preferably on the texdoc list, (no need to subscribe)). I really need this input to improve the results since I can't possibly check every package myself. (No need to report pifont of course, wasteofspace kindly did, and it's already fixed anyway.) – mpg Mar 14 '12 at 23:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.