LaTeX Etiquette

13Sep08

Here’s another post that I wished I could flesh out more had time permitted.

A few subtler points of LaTeX etiquette…

  • Quotation marks: use ` and “ instead of ‘ and ” for opening quotations, or else your quotes will look silly.
  • Bras and kets: use \langle, \rangle instead of less-than, greater-than
  • Align your equations! It’s a pain to read a calculation when the equal signs don’t line up. Advanced: if you want to be really proper, use “align” rather than “eqnarray.”
  • Use “\phantom” letters for spacing the indices of giant tensors.
  • Be careful with spaces.  For example, be consistent about how you space your reference numbers: “blah blah[13] .” vs “blah blah [13].” vs “blah blah [13] .”
  • Be careful with capitalization. Do you write “Figure 13” or “figure 13”? Do you write “Equation 7” or “equation 7” or “equation (7)”? Be be consistent.
  • Nothing says “I stole this image off of someone’s conference slides” like a pixellated image. This seems to affect Windows users more since the resolution of an image copied by Adobe Acrobat depends on how zoomed in one is to the pdf. (In Mac a copy-paste of a pdf usually preserves the native resolution.) If you really must, steal the original image from a paper by downloading the paper’s source from the arXiv. Always ask for permission from the authors.
  • Use the “hyperref” package to produce hyperlink-friendly PDFs. This is actually a really, really big help since some PDF viewers like Skim will allow mouse-over previews of an in-document reference. Thus instead of having to go back and forth with the scroll bar whenever I want to look up your references, I can juse put my pointever over “Reference [13]” to get a mini-window that shows the relevant section of your bibliography.



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