[OS X TeX] page setting + a general comment

Alan Munn amunn at msu.edu
Sat Mar 1 22:38:29 EST 2008

At 10:09 PM -0500 3/1/08, ludwik kowalski wrote:
>I am sorry to bother the list again. But I need help.
>1) I am straggling with page setting. After 
>reading the introduction of the manual for the 
>package Geometry (that someone suggested) I 
>produced the input file that is shown below.
>But I was not able to compile it. The error 
>message was that the \begin{document} is 
>missing. But it is not missing. What am I doing 
>wrong? The only thing I want is to have 0.5 inch 
>margins on the A4 page. Is there a way to 
>accomplish this without bringing another package 
>(or packages)?
>= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
>To set dimensions for page layout in LATEX is 
>not straightforward. You need to adjust several 
>LATEX native dimensions to place a text area 
>where you want If you want to center the text 
>area in the paper you use, for example, you have 
>to specify native dimensions as follows . . . 
>Package geometry provides an easy way to set 
>page layout parameters. In this case, what you 
>have to do is just . . .

Notice that you have two \usepackage commands 
calling the same package. This is never a good 
plan! For what you want, just put the following 
line in your preamble.


Since you are in the US, are you sure you want 
the option [a4paper]? The standard size in the US 
is letter paper (and should be the default 
assuming you used the default settings for MacTeX 
when you installed it.

>2) P.S. I am discovering that learning LaTex is 
>not a pleasant experience. Learning Geometry, or 
>Calculus, for example, is very different in that 
>respect. Why is it so?

Perhaps you need to work from a real book as 
opposed to putting things together from just the 
online documentation.  Since you're just 
starting, I would highly recommend Kopka and 
Daley's  "Guide to LaTeX" 4th Edition.

For lots of good explanations about almost any 
package you will ever need,  "The LaTeX Companion 
2nd Edition, by Mittelbach, Goosens, Braams, 
Carlisle and Rowley is unparalleled.

When I first started learning LaTeX I used the 
first book; the second is still always close at 
hand in case I need to look up how to do 
something slightly out of the ordinary.

If you are doing lots of math, then George 
Grätzer's "Math into LaTeX", 3rd Edition is also 
supposed to be very good (I don't own it, so I 
can't say from experience.)


Alan Munn 
amunn at msu.edu
Department of Linguistics                             
and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages   Fax.  +1-517-432-2736
Michigan State University, East Lansing MI 48824       Tel.  +1-517-355-7491

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