I am looking for a reference (book, free pdf, website) that would summarize the working of "modern" LaTeX for scientific works (I'm writing my master thesis).

I know and have been using LaTeX for some years, but I would like to go "one step further": I read about LuaTeX, new fonts, styles, packages, etc.

I know to achieve this "goal" I just have to read the questions/answers here but maybe someone will provide a good reference.

This question is not very precise but I hope someone will understand what I'm looking for.

  • 2
    what specifically do you want to know about lua, fonts, or styles/packages? You are likely to get a wide variety of answers from this question. What, at least, did you have in mind for a final result?
    – Mica
    Nov 17 '10 at 20:16
  • A would like to have things like comparison and explanation of the different "engines", explanation about fonts, about packages that are commonly used for scientific editing, etc.
    – Cedric H.
    Nov 17 '10 at 21:25

"Modern" is a somewhat loaded term. You probably want to distinguish between:

  1. what's functionally modern in the sense of the most technologically cutting edge or elegant ways to get TeX et famille to do your bidding. E.g., via LuaTeX, XeTeX, ConTeXt, LaTeX3, fontspec, microtype, etc.;
  2. and, contra what's technologically modern, what's stylistically modern (in the sense of leading edge ideas for thesis/book/document design).

You'll get lots of very good info about functional "edge of the envelope" possibilities just by typing some of the keywords mentioned in point 1 above (LuaTeX, etc.) into the searchbox at the top of this page, following links on and off this site, then asking more directed questions here as and when you'd like to learn more. You'll find that the quality of responses increases the sharper the questions you ask.

Another approach might be to search out those users with specialties you're interested in (Joseph Wright for LaTeX3, Aditya for ConTeXt, Harald and Ulrike for seemingly impossible solutions to raw TeX problems, frabjous, Lev Bishop and Andrew Stacey for academic writing, Stefan and Will for, gosh, everything ...) then "follow" the line of the questions they've answered by chasing them individually through their Users pages. This, I think, would be more fruitful than holding out for a consolidated "reference (book, free pdf, website) that would summarize the working of 'modern' latex for scientific works".

As for what's stylistically modern package-wise, you'll probably find ClassicThesis about as close to the edge as likely to be accepted in a science-oriented masters thesis (actually, probably closer to postmodern than modern). Otherwise, check out Tufte-Book for a raft of stylistically interesting ideas.


I just rewrote the UCLA thesis class, which is used mostly by people in the hard sciences for scientific papers, theses, dissertations, etc. These folks are cutting edge scientists and engineers, and they find LaTeX2e, along with various packages like amsmath,amssymb,SIunits, (some others), just fine for 'modern' scientific documents.


It won't teach you anything about Luatex, but perhaps you are looking for something such as the memoir manual.

  • Given that the OP specified scientific writing, and memoir is specifically for scientific writing, I'm not sure this is a good answer. That said, memoir is one of the most well documented bits of LaTeX I've used...
    – Seamus
    Nov 18 '10 at 11:49
  • 1
    @Seamus: Something's wrong with your comment ... Nov 18 '10 at 13:48
  • isn't. I meant memoir isn't specifically for scientific writing...
    – Seamus
    Nov 18 '10 at 14:11

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