I'm preparing a thesis report in LaTeX. I don't want to use the memoir class as I would like total control. I have two questions:

  1. My thesis consists of an introduction and then a series of articles pasted one after the other. Thus each article has its own abstract, introduction, etc. and a bibliography at its end. I understand that perhaps a package like multibib can help when we have multiple bibliographies. The idea that I came with is to write each article separately and then use pdfpages to combine the final document. Long time ago dvi files concatenation was popular but with graphics I think that pdfpages is better.

    I saw that another package exists, named combine which can help with what I am doing. I'm still exploring my options. Any suggestions?

  2. If I decide to use a book class instead to make my thesis resemble more into a book-like format which is better, then using the book class format gives me section headings like 0.1 Introduction with the leading 0. This 0 doesn't show in the article class format. How to change this default book class numbering format so that I'll have e.g. 1. Introduction?

6 Answers 6


I'd say take a look at memoir again. It's like an extended book class that includes functionality of many packages by default (fancyhdr & titlesec to name a few).

  1. If you are writing all the articles yourself (so they will all be in latex; it wasn't clear to me if you're authoring the whole document or compiling research...) then there is no reason to use pdfpages. Just section your document appropriately (maybe use the \part command). You'll have much better control of bibliography(s)

  2. The book class probably gives you a 0.1 or .1 because you're using the \section command, which is the top-level command in the article class-- \chapter will give you the 1.0 that you're looking for.

My own recommendation:

Start with whatever class you'd like and a minimal amount of packages loaded. Write EVERYTHING first, and worry about the style/look/feel of the document after you're done authoring the WHOLE THING.

  • Thanks. Yes it's a series of my own articles. \part seems very appropriate here but then I think that I'll need multibib for multiple bibliographies (1 for each article). Yes you're right: Content first and then I'll make any adjustments in my layouts. LaTeX helps indeed a lot to focus on content. Apr 16, 2010 at 16:00
  • 2
    "Focus on content until the very end" i think is very good advice. I also find myself in the same boat. I will need to write a masters thesis eventually... so probably I will write it using "article format" because that is what I know. then i will switch to something else at the end when content is completed. Jun 6, 2011 at 1:24
  • To avoid the "0.1"s due to not using Chapters, use \counterwithout{section}{chapter}. Mar 29, 2012 at 14:04

How much time do you have to mess about with formatting? You say I would like total control: in Latex, this takes time; how important to you is it really?

I can think of four options, at a very general level, that make sense:

  1. Abandon total control, use memoir class, focus on content, and go with what Latex wants you to do. You shouldn't think of Latex as a typesetting engine, but as a document preparation system — if you follow this course, you are using Latex the way it was meant to be used.
  2. Fork your own private class, say from Memoir, and customise that the way you want. This is also using Latex the way it was intended. Deep hacking of class and style files is hard, time-consuming work. Take a look at Will Robertson's list of books on Latex hacking if you want to go this route.
  3. Hack your Latex document as you go along, twisting the output into the shape you want. This is what the Latex questions and answers here on SO are generally trying to do, and you can expect a lot of help here if you want to do this. It'll still likely be very painful, and it's really abusing Latex. But you can get beautiful output if you work hard.
  4. Convert your Latex text over to a system that is intended for typesetting, like Context. There's a big initial investment here, in terms of learning a new system, but there's a decent amount of material on converting Latex documents to Context documents, which involves less surgery than you might expect. And once you've got your Context document and the hang of things, getting beautiful is much easier. There is support in Context for Bibtex, including per-chapter bibliographies.
  • Thanks for your comments. I don't plan to mess much with formatting. The article class is good for my articles. I just need to find a proper way to combine all my articles together, add an introduction in the beginning of the thesis and this is it. As each article is independent from each other, then I'm thinking of pdfpages as a good solution to get the final combined pdf. For each of my articles making up the thesis, I can specify at what page number I would like a particular article to start. Apr 16, 2010 at 7:42
  • I've read bout context but I don't have the time to invest in learning here. My goal is not to spend too much time producing a beautiful document. Standard LaTeX classes are very good and produce formal ad well-balanced layouts. Apr 16, 2010 at 7:45
  • @yCall: Having forked report for my dissertation, I can attest that you will spend a considerable amount of time working on latex instead of writing you thesis if you go that way. Apr 17, 2010 at 21:07
  • Thanks. I know how time-consuming LaTeX can be. I already have a working template but I need to do some fine adjustments here and there for example to be able to include multiple bibliographies etc. and I believe that this will save me more time than learning the memoir class. Apr 18, 2010 at 21:12
  • I have done my thesis with the article class and having total control and what I have to say is "sh**, wish I have readen your comment earlier". It's true that with LaTeX you can make every weird idea you have in mind about formatting but that you will loose tons of time that could be better used in the content of the document itself. In my case the time spent in getting fine-grained details it's something I now prefer not to think about
    – Álvaro
    Aug 13, 2013 at 10:13

You only get 0.1 as the first number if you use \section as your top-level structure. In a book you should use \chapter.

  • Right. If you really want sections before the first chapter, you probably want to use \section* to suppress numbering. But you probably don't want this. Apr 16, 2010 at 7:32
  • The best way to avoid having a zeroeth Chapter is to use \counterwithout{section}{chapter}. Mar 29, 2012 at 14:05


I'm flabbergasted. Nobody even mentions KOMA-Script, which gives you really a lot of control about nearly every aspect of a book. There is a new english manual, see here, »scrguien.pdf«. And if you use texlive 2012, you already got it, type 'texdoc komascript' on your commandline.

  • The page is in german. And my chrome translator is not working. Is there an english version? Thanks. Jul 30, 2012 at 16:57
  • Just read scrguien.pdf, but make sure you've got the new version dated May 15th 2012. I've never seen a piece of software like KOMAscript: It makes live as a writer much easier.
    – Keks Dose
    Jul 30, 2012 at 20:09

To merge several independent articles into a single bigger document, have a look at the combine package.

  • Thanks. Yes I mentioned this up in my post but I have never given it a try yet. Apr 16, 2010 at 18:00

Even though I'm probably heavily biased I really liked the outcome of my thesis, which was typeset with an unmodified version of classicthesis. My thesis also consisted of multiple (published) articles, for which I either had the LaTeX-source or copied it from a collaborators manuscript. So I didn't use pdfpages, but typeset the whole document in one big file (actually multiple ones with \include). Since also my university has very lax requirements on bibliographies I didn't use multibib or chapterbib, but that would have also worked...

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