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Formatting Information — An introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Chapter 6: Layouts and fonts

In this chapter…

  1. Changing layout
  2. Using fonts
  3. The LATEX font catalogue

This is the chapter that most users think they want first, because they come to structured documents from a wordprocessing environment where the only way to convey different types of information is to fiddle with the font and size drop-down menus.

As you will have seen by now, this is normally unnecessary in LATEX, which does most of the work for you automatically. However, there are occasions when you need to make manual typographic changes, and this chapter is about how to do them.

  1. Some authors — and perhaps some designers — believe that consistency is undesirable, and that double-page layouts in printed books should each be designed independently. Valerie Kirschenbaum’s magnificent Goodbye Gutenberg expresses this both eloquently and attractively, but the cost of such design labour and the cost of four-colour printing on all pages places it beyond the reach of most publishers’ budgets until the economics of on-demand four-colour ‘printing’ makes it possible. 

  2. This does not apply for the German technique in blackletter type of using letter-spacing instead of (non-existent) italics. The defaults in the soul package were designed to cater for this. 

  3. The pslatex package is also said to be outdated by some experts because it implements rather long-windedly what can now be done in three commands. However, until these replace the current version, I recommend continuing to use pslatex when you want Times with Helvetica and narrow Courier. 

  4. Although if you’re a typographer wanting to experiment with typewriter typefaces with and without serifs, you can use METAFONT or FontForgeto do exactly this kind of thing. But that’s way outside the scope of this document.