Typesetting in LaTeX

You may ask: what is typesetting? or why typesetting? Nowadays everybody is using a word processor for writing articles and letters. You see what you get and the quality is usually enough. But if you compare books and some PDFs, then you will see a difference in quality - a big difference. So if you want to publish an article (scientific or non-scientific) you should take a look into typesetting. Joel Friedlander wrote a short article where he visually compared the use of a word processor with a real typewriting program. You may see differences in the spacing between characters, words, and paragraphs. You may not see a difference at first glance but the readability of a typeset document is much smoother. A typeset article or book is optimized to improve the readability. Hence, the eyes don't get tired soon.

Keywords are serif (features of a font/characters), kerning (space between characters), ligature (letters are joined, e.g. f and f, or f and i, the latin et as &),   leading (space between lines),  widows and orphans (single line of a paragraph on the top of the next page/column or at the bottom of the previous page/colum).

In sicence, engineering, and humanities, LaTeX is a popular typesetting system (program) that also support typesetting of equations. Here I promote some very powerful addons (termed packages) for LaTeX and share code snips. The best online LaTeX guide so far is the Wikibook on LaTeX, which is always up-to-date and uses state-of-the-art packages.


The most advanced LaTeX class for letters is of Koma-Script and is called scrlttr2.  I wrote a short article where you can download a basic template.

AMSmath and Mathtools


Although the AMSmath package provides many useful commands and environments, the Mathtools package provides some very useful additional options, environments, and commands. For its features, browse through the manual of Mathtools.

Typesetting Plots and Vector Graphics in LaTeX

Some general rules for figures are in Section 4 of http://paws.wcu.edu/tsfoguel/tikzpgfmanual.pdf. In most papers the plots and vector graphics are not set in LaTeX and hence have different fonts and layouts or are bad scaled. Here I want to promote better solutions. The following LaTeX packages allows you to simply typeset them in your papers.

  • PGFPlots is a package to create plots in two and three dimensions. It provides an axis-environment that is a simple as the Matlab commands you would use. It even supports Smith charts.
  • PGF/TikZ allows to easily produce block diagrams, electrical networks, etc.
  • Simple code snips for Matlab/Python and LaTeX show how to export curves/figures into text files to typeset them in LaTeX (TikZ)

Publication Quality Tables in LATEX

If you want to typeset nice tables then take a look into the manual of the book tabs package (Publication Quality Tables in LATEX). Additionally, it provides all markups necessary for nice tables.

Modern Bibliography

Instead of BibTeX, you should use:

  • Biber instead of Biblatex
  • The package BibLaTeX

A minimal example:


Typesetting SI Units in LaTeX

  • SIUNITX, for consistent setting of physical and non-physical units.

Circuit Diagrams