[OS X TeX] More basic questions

Herb Schulz herbs at wideopenwest.com
Sun Jan 30 16:32:38 EST 2005

On 1/30/05 2:24 PM, "cormullion" <cormullion at mac.com> wrote:

> Could someone spare a few moments to help clear up some confusion? I¹ve been
> reading TEX-related material for a few days, and a few areas remain occluded.
> (If this is the wrong list, please send me to a more suitable one!)
> 1 Is LATEX built on top of TEX to the extent that you can use both TEX and
> LATEX instructions together? The documents I¹ve read tend to assume one or the
> other - I¹ve not seen them mixed - at least, I wouldn¹t know whether I have or
> not.


The short answer is yes, sort of... TeX is the engine which does the
typesetting but it does things at a very low level (basically taking boxes
which represent particular characters from a particular font at a particular
size with at particular weight, etc., and putting them together to make
words and spaces, etc.).

Fortunately TeX is programmable so you can build higher level commands that
are more use friendly. TeX originally came with a set of macros called
Plain. The combination of TeX+Plain is generally thought of as PlainTeX or
just TeX for short. LaTeX started with Plain---and therefore many of Plain's
commands do work with LaTeX---and tries to make an even higher level
language that allows the user to think about the document at a logical level
rather than at the details of the typesetting.

While there are some lower level commands that are still necessary to do
specialized things almost everything you might like to do should use the
higher level of abstraction supplied by LaTeX.

> 2 Is there any Œinstalled¹ documentation or reference material that is Œpart
> of¹ the installation? I¹m happy to Google things but wonder whether there¹s
> something closer to home that¹s part of the install.

If you had the documentation loaded when you installed TeX (Did you use
i-installer? If so did you do a simple install?) you've got Mbytes of
information as part of the installation. You can search the documentation by
looking for `doc' directories through the symbolic link /Library/teTeX (the
actual path is /usr/local/teTeX/). In particular there is an introduction to
LaTeX known as lshort.pdf that is located in
/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/latex/general/. You can also search
for it on CTAN (Comprehensive TeX Archive Network) <http://www.ctan.org/>.

> 3 How do I know which packages I have? I don¹t know my way around TEX-related
> directories too well at present.

You can use the Finder's Find Command (Cmd-F) but, since /usr/ is normally a
hidden directory, you have to add a search criterion for ``Visible: visible
and invisible items''. In general having a list of all the packages in the
installed TeX probably isn't too important. If you discover you need one
just use the Find to see if you have it.

> 4 All the commands that people use in their various examples appear to exist
> in the same namespace. How can you tell which commands come from which
> packages? Eg, if I see a command ³\makebox², how do I know what package or
> system it¹s part of?

You NEED a good book about LaTeX!!! It is almost impossible to not b e
overwhelmed without it. For beginners all the way to advanced users Kopka &
Daly, ``Guide to LaTeX,'' 4th Edition, is wonderful and has a nice list of
commands and where they are found in an Appendix.

To really get deeper into LaTeX I'd suggest Mittelbach, Goosens, et. al.,
``The LaTeX Companion,'' 2nd Edition, is usually considered the Bible of
LaTeX. It has huge amounts of information about many packages and their use,
changing the internals of LaTeX and programming in LaTeX.

Of course, you should read lshort first!!!!

There are several on-line tutorials: <http://www.tug.org.in/tutorials.html>
and <http://sarovar.org/projects/ltxprimer> come to mind. They may have
sections on running LaTeX that are Command Line (i.e., Terminal) or Windoze
oriented but the LaTeX information is good. I'd also go to the ``TeX on Mac
OS X'' site <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> (you know about that if you're
on the list) since it will point you in the right direction as well as the
TUG (TeX Users Group) site <http://www.tug.org/>.

I think that will be more than enough for now.

> 5 I¹ve noticed that in TeXShop it makes sense to put a line at the beginning
> (eg %&program=xelatex). This doesn¹t seem to be very standard, since it rarely
> appears in the examples I see (which fail for various reasons). Is it a
> documented standard?

This line tells TeXShop to run the XeLaTeX engine on the file, rather than
whatever is your default. I has nothing to do with TeX or LaTeX directly.
Putting in ``pdflatex'' for ``xelatex'' will compile the file with pdflatex
(won't work if the file is written to use xelatex); ``latex'' will compile
with latex+dvips+ps2pdf (latex+ghostscript) which is used if you've got lots
of .eps figures since pdflatex will only take graphics in .pdf, .png or .jpg
format (there are ways around this to transform tif->png and eps->pdf from
within pdflatex). With TeXShop 1.35e it is possible to build specialized
``Engines'' to do all sorts of combinations of things in one fell swoop
(e.g., pdflatex, then pdflatex again to get the Table of Contents set, then
pdflatex again to set up the cross references)

> 6 How easy is it to change - say - the book class in Latex so that:
>   - the title matter is left-justified rather than centred
>   - all fonts are - say - Times Roman and Helvetica
>   - all headings are Helvetica
>   - section and subsection headings are _not_ numbered, but chapters are?
> Making some or all of these changes would allow me to produce documents in TEX
> that conform well to the existing standards I follow.

You should use the titlesec package for the title changes. Here's a chance
to search for the documentation as given above; but the best documentation
for that package is in ``The LaTeX Companion.'' To use Times for the Serif
(Roman) Font, Helvetica for the Sans Serif font and Courier for the
Monospaced (Typewriter) font add the following to your preamble:

\usepackage{mathptmx} % Roman and Math with Times
\usepackage[scaled=0.87]{helvet} % Sans Serif with scaled Helvetica
\usepackage{courier} % Monospaced with Courier
\normalfont % just to make sure we are using the default Roman Font
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc} % use more glyphs available in font
\usepackage{textcomp} % add additional glyphs

See the documentation for each of these packages (actually the font packages
documentation will be in a psnfss (PostScript New Font Selection Scheme)

> many thanks if you can help with some of these (no doubt naive) questions.

Hope this helps. 

Good Luck,

Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest.com)

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