The memoir class is a popular choice for writing nice looking documents. Memoir gives you a lot of control over how section headings and so on look. Memoir doesn't, however have the nice shortcuts that change all the commands at once, so you have to have, for example:

\setbeforesecskip{-1.5ex plus -.5ex minus -.2ex}
\setaftersecskip{1.3ex plus .2ex}
\setbeforesubsecskip{-1.25ex plus -.5ex minus -.2ex}
\setaftersubsecskip{1ex plus .2ex}

That is, you need a styling command for each level, plus two spacing commands for each level (note even this doesn't change paragraph styling or, in fact, spacing for subsubsec).

So what I'd like, as answers to this question are collections of memoir section styling commands that look nice and are consistent. The idea would then be to collect them, give them names, and offer them as a package, or suggest they be included in a future version of memoir. How exactly the restylings would be called in the document is as yet undetermined (simplest would be just to have each one a macro: \def\makesectionssc{\setsecheadstyle{etc...

For chapter headings, memoir does contain nice quick commands for globally modifying the chapter headings, but it doesn't extend to lower levels. So ideally, I'd like the suggestions below to also have a "serving suggestion" of which chapter styles they fit with.

The titlesec package provides nice package options for a quick way to modify all section commands consistently. So \usepackage[small,compact]{titlesec} makes all the sectioning commands smaller, and shrinks the spacing. Titlesec is sort of compatible with memoir. If you use titlesec, it overwrites all your memoir commands, however. So a memoir only solution is preferred.

  • I've flagged this for mod attention: I think it should be CW
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 12:46
  • 2
    You do know the Memoir Chapter style Showcase? But I suppose you want something similar for section? Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:08
  • 4
    Kerr-Thump (that's the sound of the wiki-hammer) Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:16
  • 3
    Yes, the chapter styles, as the name suggests only play with chapter stylings. This is something similar for sections (and lower levels.)
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:38
  • @Andrew I always thought the CW hammer was more of a Ding
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


From the memoir manual:

As well as the emulated packages memoir provides functions equivalent to those in the following packages, although the class does not prevent you from using them: fancyhdr, framed, geometry, sidecap, subfigure, and titlesec.

So is there evidence that memoir and titlesec don't "play nice"? Yes. Although the following example appears to work, some things do get broken. In particular, memoir allows for two optional arguments in a sectioning command (one for the header and one for the TOC) but this will be lost with titlesec. See the following question for detailed discussion:

\section{A section}
\subsection{A subsection}
  • 2
    You can't use both titlesec commands and memoir commands, I believe. Add \setsecheadstyle{\bffamily} to your example and it is ignored. Also, since memoir has all the functionality, if we could do it with just memoir, that would save loading a package.
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:43
  • 1
    @Seamus Fair enough. (But if it's quicker to use titlesec, then you can just use the titlesec commands, which I guess was my point.) The general aim of your question is good, but maybe it would make sense to remove the reference to titlesec altogether, since it's a bit of a red herring.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 13:55
  • good point. I'll do that later
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 12, 2011 at 14:21
  • finally updated the question.
    – Seamus
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 11:40

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