[texhax] help! basic question for book formatting

William F. Adams wadams at atlis.com
Tue Jun 21 15:13:57 CEST 2005

On Jun 20, 2005, at 8:07 PM, DW wrote:

> I'm a beginning user of LaTeX, and am considering using it to write a 
> textbook.  I've looked around for style files, but most are in the 
> format of a research-level book.  I'm looking more for the style of an 
> undergraduate science text: a larger column for text, and a thinner 
> column in different formatting (fonts etc) for figures, etc., where 
> the figures can be anchored to particular text.
> Can anyone advise whether this is possible/recommended to be done in 
> LaTeX, as opposed to say something like Adobe InDesign?  If possible 
> in LaTeX, are there style files that are available that could serve as 
> templates?
> Also, is there a more appropriate forum for this type of question?

Here or comp.text.tex is fine.

I have a brief listing of free texts on TeX which you may find of use.


Peter Wilson's Memoir class would be a good choice depending on your 
specific needs --- the sort of layout you're discussing is pretty 
typical for LaTeX (the stuff in the secondary column is put there w/ 
\marginpar{foo} and there're packages for putting your footnotes there 

Reasons to use LaTeX - long, structured text w/ mathematics for which 
you want the best possible typography and ultimate flexibility and 
control and abilities in setting rules for pagination.

Reasons to use InDesign - shorter, free-form text for which one wishes 
to do situational tweaking w/o an overall structured set of rules and 

That said, I've used InDesign for long texts, and LaTeX for short texts 
and either can work, it just depends on one's patience and skill level 
and available time.

http://www.tug.org/texshowcase has some nice samples.


William Adams, publishing specialist
voice - 717-731-6707 | Fax - 717-731-6708

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