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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal desktop reference book
I have been using LaTeX to write my doctoral thesis for the past few years and have been relying on web-based resources to guide me through various packages and formatting commands. On hearing the news of the release of this second edition, I bought it without hesitation even though I had never seen the first edition. It has proved to be a good investment worth every...
Published on 8 Mar 2005 by Specky Bob

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough and large, but not accessible!
This book is a new edition of the famous and fantastic reference on LaTex. But unlike the older edition, which is much more accessible and efficient though smaller, this book looks more of a narrated encyclopedia or a very large story, which needs to be read in sequence and completely to be able to make proper use of its contents!

Unlike what most of us want...
Published on 12 Jun 2009 by A. Naji


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal desktop reference book, 8 Mar 2005
This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
I have been using LaTeX to write my doctoral thesis for the past few years and have been relying on web-based resources to guide me through various packages and formatting commands. On hearing the news of the release of this second edition, I bought it without hesitation even though I had never seen the first edition. It has proved to be a good investment worth every penny.
I have found so many useful packages I didn't know about. The source text and the output printed side by side allow you to compare and work out what is going on very easily. The index is extensive and adequate.
There is good balance of topics packed in 1090 pages. I work on languages so found the sections on fonts and encodings particularly useful. But there is plenty of stuff for maths, formulas, etc. which should satisfy scientists.
It is concise and comprehensive (for its size) at the same time. It delivers up-to-date information on so many specialised applications of LaTeX in a single book. In short, it is an ideal desktop companion. If you are tired of looking up separate online documentation for each package on your computer screen, you can do a lot worse than buying this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The LaTeX Encyclopaedia, 3 Mar 2010
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
I bought this book, along with two other LaTeX books (namely Lamport's LATEX: a Document Preparation System : User's Guide and Reference Manual (Addison-Wesley Series on Tools and Techniques for Computer T) and Kopka & Daly's A Guide to LATEX: Tools and Technologies for Computer Typesetting) in order to give me more details on some of the more basic operations and commands of LaTeX as well as more complicated issues, such as fonts and packages, to help me type up a maths project for my degree. It looks like I should really have bought this book alone!

Because it contains details about all the packages, its a useful encyclopaedia for LaTeX. However, the book is also structured by the type of output of commands and packages. For example, there's a section on fonts, a section on typing mathematics etc. The result is that you're able to compare and contrast the use of different commands and packages which produce similar results.

I think of it as a must for any regular LaTeX user, or even anyone with a fairly limited knowledge of LaTeX to begin with, because it answers the questions about details which other books can't. My only reservation on it is that it might not be suitable for near-novices & complete beginners. Its large size (over 1000 pages) may frighten, but it is intended to be used as a reference than as a manual you read from cover to cover. In this instance the other two books cited above may prove more useful. However, otherwise this book is very very useful and I would definitely recommend it to users who are familiar with basic LaTeX.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will get you to the next level, 27 Sep 2007
This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
This is not a book for first-time LaTeX users. Get "A Guide to LATEX" by Kopka instead.

This is a book for experienced users of LaTeX. It contains information about lots of LaTeX packages and shows you many ways of changing the default LaTeX behaviour and output.
It helped me decorating my book "Programming Dashboard Widgets".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough and large, but not accessible!, 12 Jun 2009
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A. Naji (Bristol, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
This book is a new edition of the famous and fantastic reference on LaTex. But unlike the older edition, which is much more accessible and efficient though smaller, this book looks more of a narrated encyclopedia or a very large story, which needs to be read in sequence and completely to be able to make proper use of its contents!

Unlike what most of us want from a LaTex reference, this book doesn't allow you to access or delve into a point of interest quickly to get the definite answer you are looking for. If you, for example, try to look for some type of Heading, or a specific command, and have located it in the index, it is most likely that you will not find any defining or useful information by opening to the index suggestions. You will see that most of the places where the index leads you to are points where the command/topic were cited, but will realise that they are not explained there for the first time and they have been in fact rather talked about as if you have known about them already from reading through the whole bulk of text prior to that point! Further, you are most likely to find any data you want amid heaps of other data which are narrated in conjunction with each other, which are usually of no direct use, and of a rather hindering/slowing effect, to the reader who is trying to find his way quickly through!

I would have forced myself and read the whole book, had it been a small book, but this is a massive book, which is hardly read in the way it's assumed. Thus, it fails to cover the need for an organised, wise reference that is indispensable for the user. Simply put, it is not a quick reference to LaTex, although it is impressively rich and encompassing. The authors are renowned masters of LaTex, without argument, but they have written something that is solely useful for the professional who would, perhaps, be studying, specialising, or earning a living from LaTex itself, by knowing all its details, but not the common user or advanced user, who are interested in understanding the operation clearly and applying it to their articulate documents.

I would recommend buying the older, simpler edition, for most users.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LaTeX Companion is "just" that, 14 Sep 2009
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C. Nunes (Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
The LaTeX Companion is a "massive" book, and it can get complicated, but i'm pretty sure that you can almost always find an answer to your LaTeX problems there.
I think this book is a great work. A must have!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Latex bible..., 8 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
For absolute beginners, this might not be the place to start with LaTeX.
However, read through the 'not so short introduction to latex' to get started, and then whatever question you come up with, you'll find help in this book.
This bible will be standing next to my PC for the coming years!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Mess, 20 July 2006
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Mr. C. Eames "ce124" (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
I'm sure if I read this book from cover to cover and worked through all the examples then I'd become very proficient at latex. BUT... I wanted a book as a quick hit reference for those pedantic and detailed concepts that are hard to find on the web. And therein lies the problem. It is VERY difficult to dip in and find anything. Concepts are discussed in the text before they are defined (and in some cases they are never defined). The index is shambolic. It contains mostly command names which means if I want to know which command to type to get something done I already have to know the name of the command! If I already knew everything in the book then it would be great but I don't. This book is an adequate (although poorly organised) reference if you know most of what's here. If you don't then it's very cliquey. The bottom line is that it is a very time consuming exercise to get information from this book and until I know enough latex a web search is going to be much quicker and more tree friendly (>1000 pages and has author biographies - I don't want to know the names of the kids of the authors).
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars After having owned this book for a few years ..., 5 Oct 2009
By 
Svend Tofte (denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
I think I'm ready to pass judgement. I'm comp.sci graduate student, and have used latex exclusively for around 5 years. And I inevirtably find, that when I try to look stuff up in this book, I never find what I'm looking for. There's millions of code examples (with accompanying pictures, showing the effect), but often, they're very hard to put in context. Even something as basic as changing the main font, took ages to find. Exactly what font names I could pass to the proper command (which in itself took ages to find), I still don't know. The section on types contains about 4-5 tables, and ... well. It's just plain useless. Often the books burries me in weird arcana which I don't care for. So ok, TeX was built for 7bit encodings ... just show me what WORKS, instead of lecturing me on historics.

I always end up turning to google for my "I wonder how I ..." questions, which is a shame, since the book FEELS very comprehensive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Latex Companion (Paperback)
Great as a glossary
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