TeX on-line documentation

On PCs, tablets and smart-phones you can easily access TeX manuals and documentation via a web site: TeXdoc.net.

What does it provide?

• Keyword search with auto-completion as you type, listing all matches
• OpenSearch for browsers with a search engine toolbar
• Documentation sorted in categories by topic
• Accessing TeX documentation even without having TeX installed
• Reading TeX documentation on any PDF capable device with a web browser, such as a smart-phone.
• Newest documentation even if your PC has an older TeX version
• Reading a package manual before installing it
• Easy-to-remember standardized link syntax http://texdoc.net/pkg/<packagename>
• Forums, such as LaTeX-Community.org and goLaTeX.de have buttons and BBCode tags for linking keywords (package names) to the corresponding documentation

Recently it got an update: read more.

Get TeX Live 2016 now

The 2016 version of TeX Live (and MacTeX for Mac OS X users) is now available for download at tug.org/texlive (or tug.org/mactex in case of OS X). You can install TL 2016 beside older versions harmlessly and optionally delete the old version(s) afterwards to save some disk space.

Happy TeXing!

PS: Members of TUG and/or dante (and probably other TeX user groups) will receive a copy on DVD. So join the one of them 😉

Point vs. Big Point

In TeX 1pt (TeX point) is defined as 1/72.27 inch. Many other applications like Word and Adobe InDesign etc. however use a slightly bigger point – defined as 1/72 inch – the DTP or PostScript Point. In TeX this unit is named Big Point: 1bp.

Programming network switches and routers using TeX

I’m a network engineer, and a part of my job is configuring switches, routers and firewalls. I usually work with projects that have some thousands switches each: some core switches, server switches, many distribution switches, and a large amount of small access switches for users. I mainly make networks for cruise ships – just imagine a cruise ship with about 3000 passengers and 1000 crew: each cabin gets network access for IP-TV, IP telephone, air condition, programmable door lock, computer port. Not to forget let’s say 1000 WiFi access points, 300 CCTV cameras, cash machines, vending machines, office computers everywhere, even in the Spa, IP clocks, engine and nautical workstations, broadcast center and of cause redundant data centers with racks full of servers. For security reasons, there are hundreds of VLANs (virtual networks) in several (virtual) security domains.

How to configure and to manage all of this?

Let’s take a look at configurations:

We now have a Twitter account @tex_tips you may like to follow to never miss a new blog post.

Use rotating.sty for wide tables/figures

You can use the rotating package to automatically rotate wide figures or tables. It provides {sidewaystable}/{sidewaysfigure} as a alternatives for {table}/{figure} and rotates the environment content by 90°. The direction of the rotation can be set with package options clockwise or counterclockwise; if you set twoside as class or package option the tables/figures are rotated by extra 180° on odd pages.

PS: Use booktabs for a nicer styling of your tables 😉

To keep track of (the target of) your labels you might want to add a prefix to their names indicating the thing they are referring to. E.g. sec for sections, eq for equations, fig for figures etc. It is common to separate the prefix with a colon from the label name like in the following example:

Then when you read your code you always know that \ref{sec:test} refers to a section.

In some cases the colon can cause troubles, e.g. when you type a french document with babel, varioref, hyperref and cleveref (see this and this post on TeX.SX for example). In that case you may use another character to separate the prefix.

scrpage2 is obsolete

With KOMA-Script version 3.12 the bundled package scrpage2 became obsolete and should no longer be used. Instead use the new package scrlayer-scrpage, which provides nearly the same interface but has much more power than scrpage2. For example with the new package instead of

you can use

to set the same mark content for plain and normal style pages. That is shorter and is more consistent: For instance if you have a more complex definition than \pagemark now there’s only one place to make changes.

For more details check the manual: scrguien.pdf (or the german version scrguide.pdf), chapter 5.

Paragraphs – the right way

in LaTeX the only two regular ways to end a paragraph are an empty line or the \par macro. Thus

and

is basically the same.

Please do not use \\, \newline or anything else to “end” a paragraph; it is considered to be bad style and actually wrong: From LaTeX’s point of view this only ends the line but belongs to the same paragraph. Therefore the indention or skip between paragraphs can’t work properly.