In this chapter…
The Quick Start exercise in § 1.4 above was enough to show how a LATEX document works. Now we’re going to start looking at how a larger document is put together. If you skipped the whole of Chapter 1 ‘Writing documents’ above, 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 based on 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 effort.
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, headings, titles, subtitles, paragraphs, lists, tables, figures, sidebars, panels, exercises, and so on, even if they don’t consciously think about them.