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Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Chapter 4: Lists, tables, figures

In this chapter…

  1. Lists
  2. Tables
  3. Figures
  4. Images
  5. Quotations
  6. Boxes, sidebars, and panels
  7. Verbatim text

It is perfectly possible to write whole documents using nothing but section headings and paragraphs. As mentioned in § 2.6, novels, for example, usually consist just of chapters divided into paragraphs. However, it’s more common to need other features as well, especially if the document is technical in nature or complex in structure.

In Chapter 2 ‘Basic structures’ we saw how to create a hierarchical document structure with chapters and sections and paragraphs; this chapter covers the other building-blocks which you need within your structure: lists, tables, figures (including images), boxes like sidebars and panels, block quotations, and verbatim text (computer program listings). In Chapter 5 ‘Textual tools’ we will cover the textual tools that you need inside text: footnotes, marginal notes, cross-references, citations, indexes, and glossaries.

  1. It’s worth pointing out that ‘technical’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘computer technical’ or ‘engineering technical’, least of all ‘mathematical technical’: it just means it contains a lot of τέχνη, Greek for specialist material or artistry. A literary analysis such as La Textualisation de Madame Bovary (on the marginal notes in the manuscripts of Gustave Flaubert’s novel) is every bit as technical in the literary or linguistic field as the maintenance manual for the Airbus 380 is in the aircraft engineering field. 

  2. In fact, any time you define a counter in LATEX, you automatically get a command to reproduce its value. So if you defined a new counter example to use in a teaching book, by saying \newcounter{example}, that automatically makes available the command \theexample for use when you want to display the current value of example

  3. You may find a lot of old files which use a package called epsf. Don’t use it: it’s obsolete. 

  4. LATEX will search for the graphic file by file type, in this order (check for the newest definition in your pdftex.def): .png, .pdf, .jpg, .mps, .jpeg, .jbig2, .jb2, .PNG, .PDF, .JPG, .JPEG, .JBIG2, and .JB2. Thanks to Enrico Gregorio and Philipp Stephani on comp.text.tex for locating this for me. 

  5. Some commercial distributions of TEX systems allow other formats to be used, such as GIF, Microsoft Bitmap (BMP), or Hewlett-Packard’s Printer Control Language (PCL) files, and others, by using additional conversion software provided by the supplier; but you cannot send such documents to other LATEX users and expect them to work if they don’t have the same distribution installed as you have. If you use original LATEX, stick to EPS

  6. The original term Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is now deprecated in favour of the more accurate Uniform Resource Indicator (URI). For details see http://www.w3.org/Addressing/. Unfortunately the older term still persists, especially in this LATEX package and its command, and in some XML markup vocabularies.