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The LATEX Companion (Addison-Wesley Series on Tools and Techniques for Computer T) [Paperback]

Michel Goossens , Frank Mittelbach , Alexander Samarin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1993 0201541998 978-0201541991 1

This book is packed with information needed to use LaTeX more productively. It has been designed to enhance, not to replace, basic documentation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (31 Dec 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201541998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201541991
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,056,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Frank Mittelbach studied mathematics and computer science at the Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz. These days he is working for HP Enterprise Services in an architect role.

His interest in LaTeX and in the automated formatting of complex documents in general goes back to his university days and has become a major interest, perhaps a vocation. He is author or co-author of many and varied LaTeX extension packages, such as AmSLaTeX, doc, multicol, and NFSS: the New Font Selection Scheme.

At the TUG conference at Stanford University in 1989, he gave a talk about the problems with LaTeX 2.09, which led to his taking on the responsibility for the maintenance and further development of LaTeX. This effort is generally known as the LaTeX3 Project and in the capacity of technical director of this project, he has overseen the original major release of LaTeX2e in 1994 and the, by now, about 20 subsequent maintenance releases of this software.

His publication of many technical papers on LaTeX and on general research results in automated formatting brought him in contact with Peter Gordon from Addison-Wesley. Peter and Frank inaugurated the book series "Tools and Techniques for Computer Typesetting" (TTCT), with Frank as series editor. "The LaTeX Companion" (1994) was the first book of this series whose titles by now cover LaTeX in all its facets. Forthcoming works will expand that core to cover other typesetting and information processing tools and concepts.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

LaTeX is an accessible and effective tool for typesetting written documents. Users at all levels of experience, however, sometimes require help not readily available: techniques for defining new commands, styles for producing tables or graphics, explanations for changing fonts. This book, The LaTeX Companion, is packed with information needed to use LaTeX even more productively. It is a true companion to Leslie Lamport's original user's guide book, LaTeX: A Document Preparation System, now in its second edition, and indeed, it is a valuable complement to any LaTeX introduction. It is designed to enhance, not to replace, your basic documentation.

Coinciding with the publication of The LaTeX Companion is the availability of a revised LaTeX standard LaTeX2e. This new release incorporates important LaTeX developments over the past several years and provides a common basis for all LaTeX enhancements. Some new styles, improved font handling, and a facility to produce PostScript graphics are included in the release. As part of the broad and unique coverage of this book you will find a complete documentation for all these added features. Highlights

  • Covers all versions of LaTeX now in use, including LaTeX2e.
  • Describes over 150 convenient styles for floats, graphics, tables, and much more.
  • Shows how to define new commands and environments.
  • Explains the use of PostScript.
  • Covers the latest extensions and programs producing pictures, indexes, bibliographies, and advanced mathematics.
  • Includes techniques for multi-language support.
  • Describes the New Font Selection Scheme.
For even more information about how to illustrate documents with TeX and PostScript, see The LaTeX Graphics Companion and the Tools and Techniques for Computer Typesetting Series.

All three authors have for years been involved in the support and development of LaTeX applications. Michel Goossens and Alexander Samarin, developed ideas for The LaTeX Companion while supporting hundreds of LaTeX users at CERN, and Frank Mittelbach, at the University of Mainz and Electronic Data Systems. The questions most frequently posed to them became the questions answered in this book. Mittelbach is partly responsible for the current maintenance of LaTeX and is the author or coauthor of many widespread LaTeX extension packages, such as AMS-LaTeX, doc, multicol, and the New Font Selection Scheme. He is also the manager, principal architect of the longer-term LaTeX3 project, to which half the royalties from this book are paid.

About the Author

Michel Goossens is past president of the TeX Users Group. A research physicist at CERN, where the Web paradigm was born, he is responsible for LaTeX, HTML, SGML, and, more recently, XML support for scientific documents.

Frank Mittelbach is manager of the LaTeX3 Project, in which capacity he oversaw the release of LaTeX 2e. He is the editor of a series of publications on tools and techniques for computer typesetting.


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
First, a remark on the title: this is not a companion to the program, but rather a companion to some other book on LaTeX you should have. I bought this book back in 1994, when it was the first book on LaTeX2e, and by now it is thoroughly worn (though the binding is still doing its job well :). However, at the time I bought it, I have already been using LaTeX for six years, and have read Lamport's guide (which is charming, and also the book The Companion intends to accompany) and Kopka and Daly's (which is better organized and more complete).

The LaTeX Companion is something between an advanced course tutorial (could just as well be named Selected Chapters from LaTeX) and a reference book. None of them was ever aimed at beginners, and this one is no exception. LaTeX comes with a rich legacy of add-on macro packages doing various useful and nifty things with lists, floats, tables, formulas, graphics, fonts, indices and bibliographies. This book covers some of them. I would love to see second edition of this book covering more of them. There is a treasure hidden at CTAN, but it is usually hard to find it. The examples are well chosen and it is easy to learn from them. I am less pleased with the index. At 36 pages, it looks very promising, but it rarely led me to the place I sought. During years of use, I mostly figured out where in a book things are, and stopped using it.

Despite the confusing index, the book is worth its (admittedly high) price and you will probably learn many useful things from it. The idea of a thin tutorial and a partly-overlapping "companion book" doesn't appeal to me, though. Personally, I would prefer one single book with a complete treatment of the topic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yep, you'll need this one too. 9 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Everyone seems to recommends this as a "second" or companion LaTeX book following the purchase of Lamport's guide. Buying these two books and trying to learn LaTeX is like trying to learn a foreign language from that language's physics texts--you'll be exasperated in no time. Anyway, this book lists many of the text massaging add-on packages to LaTeX available via download from CTAN. For that use, it's great. (Without reading this book, I probably would never have figured out that the easiest way to indent the first paragraph after the section heading is simply to use the "indentfirst" package.) You'll find a lot of packages that you'll need instantly and probably many more that you will just chuckle about as you read the commands. ("Hey, lookee here at this mini table of contents for-each-chapter package. It's probably a pain in the butt to learn... .)
You will eventually need this book even if you are a rank LaTeX novice so you might as well buy it now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for doing advanced typesetting... 21 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Lamport's LaTeX book is good, but it really is only a minimal survival guide for using LaTeX. For doing complicated custom headers, TOCs, long tables and so on to make ones thesis, reports or publications more effective and look professional, you must come to this Companion book. Otherwise, you are more or less completely lost.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You probably need this if you work with LaTeX 3 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This book should not be your first on LaTex. You should get Leslie Lamport's guide to LaTex first. This book extends your abilities with general layout, fonts, tables, pictures, charts, bibliography (bibtex) and so much more.
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