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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 above, 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’ above 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 (raw text like computer program listings). In Chapter 5 ‘Textual tools’ below 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 can use the tabular environment anywhere you need stuff aligned in rows and columns, not just in a figure. 

  4. Note that this use of the double backslash to signal the end of a row is subtly different from the use we saw in § 1.10.5 above to terminate a normal text line prematurely. Here it marks the end of a table row. 

  5. The term ‘spring margins’ comes from the DOS wordprocessor PC-Write and seems to be due to its author, the late Bob Wallace. I am not aware of any other mainstream system at the time that implemented them. 

  6. This is known as Anglo-American usage (and applies to those countries and their [legacy] colonies, when using the English language). 

  7. You may find a lot of old files which use a package called epsf. Don’t use it: it’s obsolete. The graphicx package has an ‘x’ because it’s an extension on the older package called graphics

  8. Thanks to Enrico Gregorio and Philipp Stephani on comp.text.tex for locating this for me. 

  9. The original term Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is now deprecated in favour of the more accurate Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). For details see The older term still persists, especially in this LATEX package and its command, and in some XML markup vocabularies. 

  10. A number of environments which do complicated things with the category codes of characters have this requirement to end the environment with the \end{...} command on a line by itself, at the start of the line. These include the Verbatim environment from the fancyvrb package, and any of the \end{...} commands taken over by the endfloat package.