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Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Chapter 5: Textual tools

Section 5.2: Marginal notes

You can add marginal notes to your text instead of [or as well as] footnotes. You need to make sure that you have a wide-enough margin, of course: use the geometry package (see § 3.1.2) to allocate enough space, otherwise the notes will be too cramped.

There are several packages to help with formatting marginal notes, but you can also define one yourself. Add this new command to your Preamble:

\newcommand{\marginal}[1]{%
  \leavevmode\marginpar{\tiny\raggedright#1\par}}
      

Then you can use \marginal{Some text} where you need it. Be careful, however, because marginal notes are aligned with the line where the command starts, so a very long one followed too closely by another will cause LATEX to try and adjust the position so they don’t overlap.

We’re jumping ahead a bit here, as we haven’t covered how to define your own commands yet. I won’t even try to explain it here, although the astute reader can probably deduce it by inspection. See Chapter 7 ‘Programmability’ for more information about making up your own commands.