The virtual TeX guru (was Re: [OS X TeX] TeX is not for the faint of heart)

William F. Adams wadams at
Thu May 6 09:12:47 EDT 2004

On Thursday, May 6, 2004, at 08:51  AM, Jérôme Laurens wrote:

> The documentation concerns
> - what command should I use to perform this?
> - conversely, what is the effect of this command?
> - how do I use this command?
> The first point is the most important one for beginners. In general, 
> they will find the information in books, TeX catalog online, LaTeX 
> Help, ... , but unfortunately, the best location still remains a TeX 
> guru.
> May be a dynamic, searchable, electronic TeX companion would be great 
> as virtual TeX guru. This would be a big data base organized in clear 
> sections, such that for example LaTeX->Math->Systems would let me to a 
> page where basic LaTeX capabilities are gathered with PDF output and 
> source code extracts and access to related packages documentation.
> I just take a look at the PDF and if it fits my need I just click a 
> button et voilà, the correct code is inserted in my favourite LaTeX 
> editor.
> I told a few words about this idea at EuroTeX 2003, but got no 
> feedback.
> It seems to me that some people in Germany have a similar project but 
> I cannot find it anymore.

Graham Williams has done a _lot_ of work on his Catalogue for CTAN.

As I've noted in the past, I've been _very_ successful in finding the 
answer to almost every TeX-related query I've had using

and was even able to complete all aspects of the formatting of 
_Introduction to Scientific Computing_ using the FAQ, printed copies of 
the Booktab and some other docs and searching the above archive.

It would be nice if there were a more formulaic, task-oriented bit of 
documentation, and I've often opined that Graham's Catalogue would do 
well to change along those lines, but there aren't that many questions 
in the TeX world these days which haven't been asked already (and the 
vast majority of those have been answered affirmatively).

There's a new, up-dated _The LaTeX Companion_, and some of its proceeds 
goes toward funding LaTeX3 --- what more could a typical LaTeX user 


William Adams, publishing specialist
voice - 717-731-6707 | Fax - 717-731-6708

Please see <> for list
guidelines, information, and LaTeX/TeX resources.

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list