I'm getting the impression from reading the answers written by some of the real experts here that there are quite a few little packages that just tweak LaTeX2e's default behaviour a little to make it more sensible here and there.

Rather than try to pick these up one by one as I read answers to questions (and thus risk missing them), I thought I'd ask up front what LaTeX2e packages people load by default in (almost) every document.

As this is a "big list" question, I'm making it CW. I don't know if there are standard rules across all SE/SO sites for such questions, but on MathOverflow the rule is generally: one thing (in this case, package) per answer. I guess that if a couple of packages really do go together then it would be fine to group them.

This is perhaps a little subjective and a little close to the line, so I'll not be offended if it gets closed or voted down! (But please explain why in the comments.)

Also see our community poll question: “I have used the following packages / classes”

  • There are standard rules across all SE sites, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11740/… and follow the links. The idea is that the answer to a "what are good default packages" question is way too big for a single user to write, so the community helps out. The one accepted answer that everyone edits has lots of edits from lots of people. Anton Geraschenko of MO made his own very different interpretation, "post one resource per answer" (mathoverflow.net/faq#communitywiki), and we'll have to decide one or the other. – Kevin Vermeer Jul 29 '10 at 22:25
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    Personally, I'd find a single list, separated by headings (Ex. Format, Math, Bib,Images, Other for this question), with a list of everyone's packages and how they're different from other packages in the section much more readable and useful. That amsmath is the highest voted just says that the MO community is here in full force. The less-known, but equally relevant formatting packages linked by Vivi, Joseph, and András are invisible without a lot of scrolling and reading. – Kevin Vermeer Jul 29 '10 at 22:37
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    I think the list of one package per answer is a good idea, as we can vote on individual packages... – Amir Rachum Jul 30 '10 at 11:30
  • My intention was not so much to find an ordering, but rather to find if there are any that I'd never heard of. It's not working out quite as I'd hoped, but I'm not sure if its possible to fix it at this stage (or worth doing). – Loop Space Jul 30 '10 at 11:37
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    It can be good to have a single answer that is just an index of all the other answers, and accept that, so that it floats to the top. – naught101 Aug 30 '12 at 3:44

63 Answers 63

I am using the chemfig and chemmacros packages everyday and they are great for drawing chemical structures and reaction schemes. Both are really good documented and play nice together.

example from manual

There are also nice third party tools like mol2chemfig for faster structure drawing instead of writing every bond and atom on your own. (example)

Just to mention another package for chemistry, one could also use XyMTex but heterocyclic compounds look quite ugly.

The ctable package is great for typesetting beautiful tables in academic documents. Makes it much simpler and consistent, and the support for marks is awesome.

The epstopdf provides ability to include the EPS file so that to con­verts an EPS file to an en­cap­su­lated PDF file. The re­sult­ing file suit­able for in­clu­sion by pdfTeX as an im­age. The script is adapted to run both on Win­dows and on Unix-alike sys­tems.

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