1. Introduction

This book is aimed at people who want to use LaTeX for administrative work, such as writing correspondence, performing repetitive tasks or typesetting problem sheets or exam papers. If you have never used LaTeX before, I recommend that you first read Volume 1: LaTeX for Complete Novices [93], since this book assumes you are already familiar with LaTeX.

As with all the books in this series, this tutorial only shows the basic usage of class files and packages. For more advanced commands, you will need to consult the class or package documentation (see Volume 1). The reason for this is that it would be far too overwhelming for most readers to be presented with every possible option. (Consider, for example, the KOMA-Script manual is over 300 pages and the datatool user guide is over 200 pages at the time of writing.)

The examples given in this document can be downloaded from the examples directory. Throughout this document there are pointers to related topics in the UK List of TeX Frequently Asked Questions (UK FAQ). These are displayed in the text like this: [What is LaTeX?] You may find these resources useful in answering related questions that are not covered in this book.

The topics covered by this book range from fairly basic (assumes you know how to load a document class and packages) to advanced. To help you navigate your way around this book, sections have symbols to denote the difficulty level. If you only want to learn how to do straight-forward tasks, such as writing a letter without looking up data, you can skip the harder sections. The symbols are as follows:

Basic concepts. This may include common LaTeX commands described in the earlier volumes or fairly basic commands defined by a simple class or package.

Intermediate. This may include more complicated class or package commands, or there may be a wide range of settings (typically key=value lists) which can appear a little bewildering at first glance. You may also need to use external applications as part of the document build.

Advanced. This may include core TeX commands, internal LaTeX kernel commands, or programming concepts.

Most chapters start with the basic or intermediate symbol, but they may progress to harder sections. Some of the exercises have a “More Adventurous” part, which increases the difficulty level. There is, of course, a certain amount of subjectivity in choosing the classifications for each section. What one person may find straight-forward, may be more difficult to understand for someone else, so these are just general guides.

To refresh your memory or for those who haven't read other volumes in this series, throughout this book, source code is illustrated in the form:

This is an \textbf{example}.

The corresponding output (how it will appear in the PDF document)1 is illustrated like this:

This is an example.

(The word example is typeset in bold.) End of Image.

(Commands typeset in blue, such as \par, indicate a hyperlink to the command definition in the summary.)

Command definitions are shown in a typewriter font in the form:

\documentclass[options]{class file}

In this case the command being defined is called \documentclass and text typed ⟨like this⟩ (such as ⟨options⟩ and ⟨class file⟩) indicates the type of thing you need to substitute. (Don't type the angle brackets!) For example, if you want the scrbook class [47] you would substitute ⟨class file⟩ with scrbook and if you want the letterpaper option you would substitute ⟨options⟩ with letterpaper, like this:


When it's important to indicate a space, the visible space symbol  is used. For example:


When you type up the code, replace any occurrences of with a space.

[Spaces in macros] Recall from Volume 1 that the comment character % is often used to suppress unwanted space caused by the end of line (EOL) character in the source code. For example:




Any applications that need to be run from a command prompt or terminal (see Volume 1) are displayed in the form:

pdflatex mydocument.tex

These should be typed at the command prompt not in your LaTeX document.


... document)1
This HTML version of the book uses bitmaps to illustrate the output, which doesn't look as good as the actual PDF version. If you are visually impaired or are using a text-only browser, most of the images are included using OBJECT rather IMG tags to provided more detailed alternative text.

This book is also available as A4 PDF or 12.8cm x 9.6cm PDF or paperback (ISBN 978-1-909440-07-4).

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