If the quick-start exercise in § 1.3
was enough to show you how a LATEX document works, then this
is where you get the rest of the basic information. If you
skipped Chapter 1 ‘Writing documents’ then be prepared to go back to
some of the sections in it, because I’ll be referring to things
you might not have come across yet.
LATEX’s approach to formatting is to aim for
consistency. This means that as long as you
identify each component element of your document correctly, it
will be typeset in the same way as all the other elements like
it, so that you achieve a consistent finish with minimum
Consistency helps make documents easier to read and
understand, as well as making them more visually attractive.
Consistency is also what editors, reviewers, and publishers look
for. Publishers have a house style, and often a reputation to
keep, so they rightly insist that if you do something a certain
way once, you should do it the same way each time.
‘Elements’ are the component parts of
a document: all the pieces which make up the whole. Almost
everyone who reads books, newspapers, magazines, reports,
articles, and other classes of documents will be familiar with
the common elements: parts, chapters, sections, subsections,
subsubsections, headings, titles, subtitles, paragraphs, lists,
tables, figures, and so on, even if they don’t consciously think