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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Using the TeX FAQ

The (English language) TeX FAQ is a real treasure trove, maintained by the amazing Robin Fairbairns, who also co-maintains CTAN. (Yep, that repository of all contributed TeX & friends packages!!)

I would say 80% of the time, a LaTeX user can find a solution or pointers to a question in the FAQ, so the next time you're tempted to hack your own solution or is frustrated by all the old, obsolete advices churned up by Google, try searching in the TeX FAQ first.

In fact, you might even have a local copy on your LaTeX installation. Here's how to access them:
  • On TeXLive, run texdoc faq-en at the CLI.
  • On MiKTeX, run mthelp --view faq-en at a DOS prompt, or in the Windows Start → Run dialog.
Another alternative is via the Visual FAQ. Run texdoc visualfaq (or mthelp --view visualfaq). Browse through the PDF and click on an element which effect you're trying to replicate; you will be directed to the relevant entry in the online TeX FAQ.

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