[texhax] Defaults in new doc?

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Thu Jun 23 23:21:19 CEST 2005

Hi Kate,

(Hope this answer isn't too late.)

    Is there a way to set defaults, e.g., font, page size, stuff like 
    that? I'm just using plain old TeX.

Sure, but do you really want to go this route?  Guess it depends on what
you are typesetting (what does Professional Publications, Inc. do?).
You'll end up (re)inventing a lot of stuff, which can be easier or
harder than figuring out which LaTeX or ConTeXt parameters and packages
to use, depending.

Anyway, page size is determined by the parameters \hoffset, \hsize,
\voffset, and \vsize.  The default "zero point" (\hoffset = \voffset =
0) is 1 inch from the upper-left corner.

Default font is trickier.  My usual approach to switch to, say,
11pt Palatino, is something like this:
\font\tenrm = pplr at 11pt
\font\tenit = pplri at 11pt
\font\tensl = pplro at 11pt
\font\tenbf = pplb at 11pt
\baselineskip = 14pt  % line spacing

This makes the plain \rm, \it, \sl, \bf commands work as usual.  More is
necessary to get math subscripts and superscripts needed.

You can look up more info about this kind of stuff in any of the books
on plain TeX, like the TeXbook, TeX for the Impatient (pdf at
http://www.tug.org/ftp/tex/impatient), TeX by Topic (pdf at
http://www.eijkhout.net/tbt), etc.

As Pierre said, putting such definitions into a common include file is
good practice, presuming you'll have lots of documents with the same

Hope this helps,

More information about the texhax mailing list