# TeX Community Polls

## Rules

• Answers to these poll questions are placed as "comments" below them. Because this is also an opinion poll subjective questions are welcome.
Please do not ask too specific questions and allow for multiple choices and votes, e.g. instead of something like "My absolute favorite for X is .." use something like "For X I often use ...".
• To participate up-vote the comments which apply for you.
If applicable hyperlink the entry to allow other users to learn more about it. Feel free to flag comments for moderator attention if they should be modified for some valid reason (wrong/missing hyperlink, etc.)
• Feel free to up-vote the poll questions ("answer" posts) as well to indicate that you liked the question. This will push the most favorite questions to the top.

1 Should you be affected by the "Trivial answer converted to comment" feature simply post a longer dummy text and then edit it down to the correct content.

My favorite (La)TeX editor is...

• Vim/GVim, (Graphical) Vi Improved Jul 19, 2011 at 7:05
• TeXworks, cross-platform open source editor.
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 19, 2011 at 7:07
• gedit, the official text editor of the GNOME desktop environment.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 9:20
• emacs+auctex An extensible customisable text editor Jul 19, 2011 at 11:42
• textmate for Mac OS X with the LaTeX bundle Jul 19, 2011 at 18:21
• TeXnicCenter, a free editor for developing LaTeX documents under Windows. Jul 19, 2011 at 18:58
• Aquamacs, an Aqua-native build of Emacs with AUCTeX already included. Jul 19, 2011 at 19:02
• TeXStudio (a.k.a TeXMakerX) Jul 19, 2011 at 21:03
• TeXShop for Mac OS X Jul 20, 2011 at 12:29
• WinEdt (Windows) Jul 25, 2011 at 9:49
• Emacs but not with auctex Jul 27, 2011 at 18:41
• Kile! KDE latex IDE, which rules! Jul 30, 2011 at 3:02
• Texmaker, a free cross-platform LaTeX editor. Sep 13, 2011 at 7:25
• sublime text 2. Jul 3, 2012 at 9:36
• Sublime Text 3 Nov 7, 2014 at 22:40

I use the following fonts:

(Please link to font's page in the font catalogue http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/ which has examples and the necessary code, not to CTAN.)

I mainly use the following (La)TeX compiler and tool chain:

(Feel free to add combinations like latex+dvips+ps2pdf)

• pdflatex (PDF LaTeX) Jul 19, 2011 at 7:10
• xelatex Jul 19, 2011 at 15:42
• latex + dvips + ps2pdf Jul 19, 2011 at 19:20
• context, a wrapper around luatex used to compile ConTeXt Mk.IV. Jul 24, 2011 at 10:15
• lualatex Jul 24, 2011 at 21:21
• ini-LuaTeX (no fluff LuaTeX) Jul 26, 2011 at 6:30
• latexmk - LaTeX make script in perl
– Dror
Aug 19, 2011 at 11:40
• Makefile with latex+dvips as well as pdflatex output Mar 7, 2012 at 17:04
• xelatex controlled by latexmk Jul 6, 2012 at 19:01
• xetex (plain ). Sep 22, 2012 at 16:40
• latex + dvips + acrobat (the last is provided by my employer; this is my job) Oct 28, 2012 at 14:04
• rubber (a no longer maintained package on many Linux machines) Nov 19, 2012 at 3:31
• arara Apr 26, 2013 at 0:13
• Scons Jul 15, 2016 at 8:02
• github.com/akerbos/ltx2any Jan 10, 2017 at 18:18

I use the TeX distribution ...

• TeX Live, the collaborative distribution of TeX user groups.
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 18, 2011 at 21:11
• MiKTeX
– Jake
Jul 19, 2011 at 1:31
• ConTeXt Standalone Jul 13, 2012 at 10:50
• MacTeX May 8, 2013 at 13:16
• KerTeX, I do not use on daily basis but it should be mentioned. May 15, 2013 at 0:26
• MikTeX portable Mar 6, 2015 at 15:05

I have used the following packages / classes:
(more than once or twice)

Use format:
[<name>](http://www.ctan.org/pkg/<name>)

I use (La)TeX on the following platform(s):

• Ubuntu Linux (diverse versions) Jul 19, 2011 at 13:41
• Mac OS X (10.4.x, 10.5.x or 10.6.x)
– Joseph Wright Mod
Jul 19, 2011 at 14:24
• Windows 7 (any 'flavour')
– Joseph Wright Mod
Jul 19, 2011 at 14:24
• Other Linux distros (Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Slackware, and so forth.) Jul 19, 2011 at 18:30
• Gentoo Linux Jul 22, 2011 at 17:29
• Windows XP (Prof.) Aug 21, 2011 at 13:47
• Mac OS X 10.7 (Update Joseph's comment?) Nov 8, 2011 at 15:24
• Mac OS X 10.8 (...) Nov 11, 2012 at 16:47
• Windows 8 (any edition) Nov 12, 2012 at 10:31
• iOS (on iPad and iPhone) Jan 13, 2013 at 15:04
• Windows XP (Home) Mar 18, 2013 at 18:13
• Windows Vista (any edition) May 6, 2013 at 1:36
• Arch Linux (any version) Mar 7, 2014 at 19:20
• Mac OS X 10.9.x Mar 15, 2015 at 4:43
• Windows 10..... Jan 14, 2017 at 18:59

I use (La)TeX mainly for ...

• Writing letters
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 19, 2011 at 13:39
• Writing my PhD thesis Jul 19, 2011 at 13:47
• Writing [project|homework|lab] reports Jul 19, 2011 at 15:00
• Writing articles
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:02
• Writing LaTeX packages Jul 19, 2011 at 18:37
• Producing books for conference proceedings or textbook Jul 19, 2011 at 18:41
• Writing conference and journal papers Jul 19, 2011 at 18:51
• Creating presentations (e.g. for conference papers) Jul 19, 2011 at 18:52
• Creating vector-graphic-based illustrations Jul 19, 2011 at 19:26
• Writing materials for teaching. Jul 20, 2011 at 12:28
• Manipulating existing PDF documents (such as extracting certain pages, trimming white spaces) with the help of pdfpages, graphicx packages and an external tool GhostScript directly (or pdfcrop script indirectly). Jul 20, 2011 at 13:43
• Fun :-) ..... Jul 25, 2011 at 18:04
• Writing a book. Sep 13, 2011 at 7:34
• writing lecture notes.
– bodo
Nov 16, 2012 at 11:23
• Writing my curriculum vitae/resume. Nov 23, 2012 at 9:22

I use the following version control software for my (La)TeX files:

• Subversion (svn) Jul 19, 2011 at 18:42
• Git (git)
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:43
• Mercurial (hg) Jul 19, 2011 at 18:45
• Bazaar (bzr) Jul 20, 2011 at 4:16
• none (I don't use any version control software for my (La)TeX files.) Jul 20, 2011 at 11:19
• RCS Jul 24, 2011 at 10:25
• CVS Oct 28, 2012 at 15:27
• Dropbox Oct 29, 2012 at 10:07
• Folders/Compressed files with date or version in their name.
– yo'
Jan 12, 2013 at 0:48
• Numbered backups produced by Emacs in a backup directory. Jan 9, 2016 at 22:42
• Vim + undotree Aug 11, 2018 at 21:29

I use the following document viewer (to view PDF, DVI, PS and similar files)...

Please link to the viewer in answers and add the platform for which it is available. This might be interesting for other people. If you use an IDE's viewer write an answer in the form "the viewer of x".

• Evince (Linux, mainly Gnome)
– N.N.
Jul 20, 2011 at 11:54
• Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows, Linux, Mac, ...) Jul 20, 2011 at 12:44
• Skim (OS X) Jul 20, 2011 at 13:03
• SumatraPDF (Windows) Jul 20, 2011 at 13:11
• Xpdf (UNIX, VMS and OS/2) Jul 20, 2011 at 13:12
• Okular (KDE/Linux but supports other platforms)
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 20, 2011 at 14:25
• Preview.app (OS X) Jul 21, 2011 at 13:52
• PDF-XChange Viewer (Windows) Jul 25, 2011 at 9:46
• Adobe Acrobat professional Jul 26, 2011 at 6:32
• The viewer of TeXworks (Windows, Linux, Mac, ...) Jul 26, 2011 at 13:50
• mupdf Jul 28, 2011 at 11:48
• xdvi Aug 11, 2011 at 12:39
• The TexMaker integrated viewer Oct 28, 2011 at 11:36
• zathura Jan 10, 2012 at 13:35
• TeXShop integrated Viewer. This is quite different that the TeXworks viewer. Oct 10, 2012 at 1:26

I create the diagrams for my (La)TeX documents using ...

Possible choices: TikZ, PGF, PSTricks, xypic, picture environment, MS Visio, Inkscape, ...
Select 'PGF' if you really using the low level PGF commands, but 'TikZ' if you use that higher level interface.

• TikZ Jul 20, 2011 at 10:14
• PSTricks Jul 20, 2011 at 13:28
• Asymptote Jul 23, 2011 at 19:13
• Metapost Jul 25, 2011 at 22:32
• Inkscape Jul 26, 2011 at 6:43
• python's matplotlib -> PDF Jul 30, 2011 at 3:08
• XY-pic Aug 11, 2011 at 12:34
• Xfig Aug 11, 2011 at 12:37
• Gnuplot with Metapost or other LaTeX compatible output Aug 12, 2011 at 10:42
• Matlab Nov 1, 2011 at 16:03
• Ipe Jan 10, 2012 at 13:33
• Gnu R Nov 1, 2012 at 21:21
• pgfplots Apr 21, 2013 at 18:39
• Mathematica Apr 21, 2013 at 18:42
• adobe illustrator Apr 21, 2013 at 18:43

What do you dislike in (La)TeX?

• (La)TeX syntax and programming style Jul 28, 2011 at 15:49
• Bad error messages. Oct 15, 2011 at 10:49
• Backslashes. Macro expansion. \expandafter. Missing data structures. Nov 2, 2011 at 20:58
• Exessive numbers of [] and {}. My pinky hurts after a few hours of coding. This gets much worse when you start using LaTeX inline math instead of  Oct 28, 2012 at 1:47
• real utf-8 without extra packages Nov 1, 2012 at 21:26
• nice tables that dont destroy footnotes without extra packages Nov 1, 2012 at 21:27
• long learning curve (I'm not the patient kind...) Nov 29, 2012 at 11:00
• The lack of a proper way to integrate libraries and making them agree on a set of common typesetting goals.
– user10274
Jan 5, 2013 at 2:00
• Compilation is too slow Jan 11, 2013 at 1:49
• Packages that conflict with each other Feb 8, 2013 at 7:54
• To be seen as a geek instead of a cool guy that produces perfect documents ;-) May 15, 2013 at 15:53
• Syntax for tables Jun 24, 2013 at 13:15
• Too much attention to "protecting" styles from modification, not enough attention to easy customizability. Oct 21, 2013 at 18:40
• Having few friends who use it or want to use it. Nov 29, 2013 at 3:24
• Too many folders with the same name on many paths. Dec 1, 2013 at 21:17

I have read the following TeX/LaTeX books:

I'm a member of the user group...

Please add 'none, I'm not in any (La)TeX related user group.' if it applies.

• DANTE, Deutschsprachige Anwendervereinigung TeX e.V. (German TeX Users Group) Jul 18, 2011 at 21:23
• TUG, North American and international TeX Users Group Jul 18, 2011 at 21:54
• UK-TUG: "UK TeX Users' Group"
– Joseph Wright Mod
Jul 19, 2011 at 6:06
• GuIT, Gruppo utilizzatori italiani di TeX (Italian TeX Users Group) Jul 19, 2011 at 18:40
• none (I am not a member of any (La)TeX related user groups) Jul 21, 2011 at 9:45
• GUST Polska Grupa Użytkowników Systemu TeX (Polish TeX Users Group) Jul 24, 2011 at 21:18
• NTG Nederlandstalige TeX Gebruikersgroep (Dutch language oriented TeX Users Group) Jul 24, 2011 at 21:20
• ConTeXt group Oct 4, 2011 at 6:39
• Nordic TeX User Group Nov 10, 2011 at 11:51
• Association GUTenberg (Groupe francophone des Utilisateurs de TeX) Oct 28, 2012 at 14:11
• CSTUG Československé sdružení uživatelů TeXu (Czechoslovak TeX Users Group) Mar 9, 2013 at 13:35

My favorite aspects of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems are...

• Beautiful output.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:58
• The combination of programming and typesetting.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:59
• That it's free software/open-source.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 19:08
• Extensibility, e.g. the possibility to write or rewrite macros.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 19:10
• Their connection to this site (to participate in this community by using them).
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 19:12
• Maturity and possibly long-term support. Jul 20, 2011 at 14:13
• Stability - TeX doesn't crash and it never destroyed my files.
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 20, 2011 at 14:33
• That everything is stored in plain text files. Jul 20, 2011 at 16:31
• The durable value of Knuth's ideas about typesetting. Jul 24, 2011 at 10:27
• It's fun to use
– mas
Aug 6, 2011 at 10:04
• extensible by its users
– mas
Aug 6, 2011 at 10:05
• provides abstraction (not least the potential for the separation of content from presentation allows concentration on the logical structure and the content rather than on the appearance)
– mas
Aug 6, 2011 at 10:07
• Its versatility: articles, books, notes, resumes, presentation slides, sheet music, ... -- one tool for all! Oct 15, 2011 at 10:53
• Their capability for mathematics — the things that (Open)Office and friends simply can’t do (let alone do well). Nov 11, 2011 at 23:31
• Potential to extend the degree of automation almost indefinitely. Dec 3, 2012 at 18:03

I use TeX mainly in the following academic or professional field:

• Mathematics ...
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 27, 2011 at 7:44
• Electronic Engineering Jul 27, 2011 at 7:44
• Computer Science Jul 27, 2011 at 10:06
• Philology (languages & literatures) Jul 27, 2011 at 10:53
• Philosophy..... Jul 28, 2011 at 11:49
• Procrastination ;-) Jul 28, 2011 at 15:50
• Linguistics.... Jul 30, 2011 at 17:15
• Physics (is too short to be accepted as comment) Aug 21, 2011 at 14:36
• Mechanical Engineering Oct 28, 2011 at 11:42
• Chemistry (is too short to be accepted as comment) Feb 15, 2012 at 10:50
• Statistics/Applied Probability/Bioinformatics/Computational Biology Dec 3, 2012 at 17:55
• IT Enterprise Solutions Dec 3, 2012 at 17:57
• Earth Sciences. Dec 27, 2012 at 14:27
• Aeronautical Engineering Jan 18, 2013 at 8:15
• Space Engineering
– Ingo
Apr 11, 2013 at 6:06

This poll is used to know the distribution of TeX users based on their nationalities. Please carefully choose only one option per person, don't make a mistake, and someone with administrative privilege might be watching you!

There is also a Data Explorer query that uses the information entered in the user profiles. Top ten countries by user numbers as reported on 2017-01-20:

Country         Number of users
-------------------------------
United States   2667
Germany         2372
United Kingdom  1624
India           1014
France          852
Brazil          532
Netherlands     515
Australia       475
Italy           456


Or you can monitor the statistics of this polls at Top countries of Meta.TeX.SX members.

• (015) Australia Feb 20, 2013 at 10:02
• (016) Austria . Feb 20, 2013 at 10:02
• (033) Brazil .. Feb 20, 2013 at 10:09
• (043) Canada .. Feb 20, 2013 at 10:21
• (064) Czech Republic Feb 20, 2013 at 10:29
• (065) Denmark . Feb 20, 2013 at 10:30
• (082) France .. Feb 20, 2013 at 10:38
• (090) Germany . Feb 20, 2013 at 10:43
• (111) India ... Feb 20, 2013 at 11:43
• (118) Italy ... Feb 20, 2013 at 11:46
• (166) Netherlands Feb 20, 2013 at 13:22
• (193) Russia .. Feb 21, 2013 at 15:38
• (215) Spain ... Feb 21, 2013 at 16:20
• (243) United Kingdom Feb 22, 2013 at 4:44
• (244) United States Feb 22, 2013 at 4:44

Tips that may be regarded as best practices in LaTeX.

• Consider define a macro for a thing that you use repetitively throughout your document so you can modify its setting in one place later and the changes can affect thoroughly. Jul 20, 2011 at 13:55
• Don't manually adjust line breaks and page breaks until you prepare the final version, which means no changes in page layout or font size can be expected.
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 20, 2011 at 14:30
• Avoid writing a lengthy document in a single input file. Instead, prepare the document structure in advance by creating a separate file for each chapter and/or section and imports them from within a single main input file; This method has some benefits: (1) easing us to rearrange the contents, (2) speeding up the compilation during the development phase by commenting/uncommenting \input or by using \includeonly. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:58
• Use "code formatting" to make the LaTeX source more readable, such as aligning similar lines in a displaymath environment. Aug 13, 2011 at 10:52
• Oct 28, 2011 at 11:50
• Do never put a blank space after a left parenthesis or before a right parenthesis. Jul 30, 2012 at 13:39
• Use structured writing. Use \include and \includeonly and consider using a folding editor.
– user10274
Jan 5, 2013 at 2:10
– yo'
Jan 8, 2013 at 15:47
• When encountering a problem, quickly extract the actual problem into a minimal working example (MWE), and solve it there, then port the solution back into the whole document. Feb 15, 2018 at 15:18

My favorite document class is...

• scrartcl - an extensive article class of the KOMA-Script bundle
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 27, 2011 at 19:01
• article – plain and classic Jul 28, 2011 at 12:21
• memoir (for large documents) Jul 30, 2011 at 17:14
• report (for large as well as short documents) Aug 21, 2011 at 14:37
• scrbook of KOMA-Script. Sep 13, 2011 at 7:42
• artikel3 from the NTG document classes
– user2574
Oct 15, 2011 at 7:47
• beamer for presentations Oct 15, 2011 at 10:48
• moderncv, just beautiful. Oct 15, 2011 at 10:48
• standalone to test TikZ graphics Nov 8, 2011 at 9:36
• book, just a simple one for lecture notes etc Mar 7, 2012 at 17:11
• tufte (for the great layout and font choice) Nov 29, 2012 at 10:59
• amsart formats things nicely and automatically loads amsmath etc. Feb 8, 2013 at 7:40
• the one I maintain ;)
– yo'
Feb 19, 2013 at 18:26
• IEEEtran (Too short for comment) May 7, 2013 at 22:55
• revtex for articles in physics Jan 7, 2015 at 13:06

I manage my bibliography using...

• JabRef jabref.sourceforge.net -- cross-platform standalone bibliography manager. Jul 19, 2011 at 11:53
• Reftex an emacs plugin Jul 19, 2011 at 13:47
• BibDesk for Mac OS X, included in MacTeX Jul 19, 2011 at 18:24
• a plain text file (directly editing the .bib file).
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:37
• Zotero, a Firefox plugin
– Jake
Jul 19, 2011 at 22:23
• nbibtex - Norman Ramsey's substitute for Bibtex that allows a bibliography database to be represented by a set of .bib files. Jul 24, 2011 at 10:17
• RefBase Jul 27, 2011 at 18:41
• Citavi for Windows, free for databases with up to 100 titles, often free for university students. Aug 21, 2011 at 9:37
• Bibsonomy.org - a social bookmark and publication sharing system. It has some nice features, among them a JabRef plugin. Biber can even fetch the .bib file from BibSonomy on the fly Oct 28, 2011 at 11:41
• Mendeley.com - A desktop, web and mobile application for handling and sharing your collection of scientific papers. Nov 1, 2011 at 14:47
• CiteULike - A web based library management solution, with the ability to upload and store documents. Easy to write scripts to automatically download .bib files for particular tags. Nov 8, 2011 at 15:29
• KBibTex, a KDE based application
– mafp
Jan 9, 2013 at 15:44
• Bibweb: a utility for automatically retrieving bibliographical information from MathSciNet May 15, 2013 at 0:57
• ebib for Emacs Aug 31, 2013 at 18:07
• Endnote, and export to bibtex
– Ali
Nov 5, 2013 at 17:24

I find the usage of the following (La)TeX code should be avoided:
and I'm annoyed seeing other users, especially beginners using it.

Expected answers: Most content from l2tabu, bad Word-like typesetting, ...

• {figure}[H!] or similar (trying to place a float at the current position; typical behavior of someone coming from MS Word etc.) Jul 20, 2011 at 10:50
• Using LaTeX2.0 style font macros like \bf, \it, ..., instead of the proper LaTeX2e macros \textbf/\bfseries, ... Jul 20, 2011 at 10:51
• Misusing math mode to get italic text: $text$. Jul 20, 2011 at 14:00
• Using eqnarray instead of the math environments provided by amsmath Jul 20, 2011 at 15:33
• Inserting a blank line right before & after a displayed equation. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:43
• Using \begin{center}...\end{center} instead of \centering in figure environment. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:44
• Using multiple instances of \\ to make blank lines. Jul 20, 2011 at 15:56
• Using single instances of \\ after each source line to break the output line, too (outside of tables). Jul 31, 2011 at 4:09
• \"{a} notation for umlauts instead of utf-8 Nov 1, 2012 at 21:23
• $$...$$ for displayed equations Nov 29, 2012 at 13:48
• Using utf-8 for umlauts instead of \"{a} notation. @JonasStein Sorry I coudn't resist. What's the problem.
– user10274
Jan 5, 2013 at 1:58
• Using math ellipsis for non-mathematical context such as "I am lazy $\ldots$". The correct one is "I am lazy \ldots". Mar 11, 2013 at 23:01
• Using < and > as "angle brackets" instead of \langle and \rangle. Jul 24, 2013 at 8:13
• Using " and " as quotation marks instead of  and ''. Nov 29, 2013 at 3:32
• Using \Large or \textit{} inside \chapter{} or \section{} to format the headings. Dec 1, 2013 at 21:20

What features do you miss in (La)TeX?

• Automatic paragraph flow around arbitrary shapes (like images) Nov 2, 2011 at 21:04
• Autokerning based on the shape of the glyphs Nov 2, 2011 at 21:04
• good multi column support (balancing, images/formulae crossing multiple columns) Nov 2, 2011 at 21:04
• text areas with overflow capabilities ("read more on page 3") Nov 2, 2011 at 21:04
• Output to an "open" format such as InDesign (for editing afterwards) or XML Nov 2, 2011 at 21:04
• Some way of splitting a vbox at a point (should break an image in two parts for example) Nov 2, 2011 at 21:05
• XML input (hey, it's 2011) Nov 2, 2011 at 21:05
• Word's track changes feature. The accept/reject changes functionality blows diff away. Oct 29, 2012 at 0:50
• A real document tree, and a high-level language for arbitrary manipulations thereof – instead of TeX's single-pass traversal and macros. Nov 12, 2012 at 23:48
• More complete implementations of Unicode algorithms and OpenType features. Nov 12, 2012 at 23:49
• A proper grid layout (\grid package doesn't work for me).
– user10274
Jan 5, 2013 at 2:11
• JSON input (hey, it's 2013, @topskip) Feb 19, 2013 at 18:20
• Designing support. You get a book design from a designer and you have to implement it in your document all by yourself. Sep 28, 2013 at 9:00
• Tidier syntax, so that external tools can parse a tex file more easily. Jul 4, 2015 at 15:01
• A proper tool-chain Mar 21, 2016 at 13:50

My favorite aspects of TeX.sx are...

• The amount of knowledge in the community.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 19:23
– Jake
Jul 20, 2011 at 4:47
• To be able to see how other people create documents and solve issues (which can be sometimes completely different to your way). Jul 20, 2011 at 10:19
• The nice and easy modern interface for writing, editing, commenting and searching.
– Stefan Kottwitz Mod
Jul 23, 2011 at 13:56
• How friendly it is. No matter how archaic or random my questions is I still get good answers, and people accept me in the chat, despite the fact that everyone else there has forgotten more LaTeX then I know. Oct 28, 2012 at 1:49
• Practising my (La)TeX skills in areas I don't normally use. Dec 3, 2012 at 17:59
• Calling "procrastination" "help".
– yo'
Jan 12, 2013 at 0:51
• I wanted to say a big THANK YOU. I had to produce a class file for my students for their third year report, and I wanted to make things as simple as possible for them. I had many unresolved problems as I am no expert, but every single question was answered on the site. Without the help given by the experts on this site I would simply have abandoned my endeavour. THANKS AGAIN. May 7, 2013 at 19:58
• Keeping track of problems still unresolved after 4 years. Feb 12, 2020 at 16:14

To a total LaTeX beginner (not TeX in this case) I would recommend to start learning LaTeX by reading first ...

Books, online howtos, ...

What small mistakes that you have done make (La)TeX stop working?

• Using pdflatex to compile an input file that either imports EPS or contains PSTricks code. Jul 19, 2011 at 20:19
• Using latex.exe to compile an input file that imports PNG, PDF or JPEG images. Jul 20, 2011 at 9:30
• Programmed a recursive macro with a faulty abort mechanism. Jul 20, 2011 at 9:57
• Forgot a semicolon inside a TikZ picture Jul 20, 2011 at 13:02
• Forgot to add fragile option to Beamer's frame environment that contains verbatim blocks. Jul 20, 2011 at 13:46
• Confusion between length macros that need \ and counter macros that don't need \ leads us to make mistakes such as typing \setlength{paperwidth}{10cm} or \setcounter{\enumi}{10}. Aug 5, 2011 at 18:57
• Forgot \\ somewhere in a table. Sep 13, 2011 at 7:40
• Didn't know the difference between TeX and LaTeX. (Undefined control sequence \documentclass...) Nov 2, 2011 at 20:57
• Introduced a small bug into \fbox that stopped it working for everybody. 1994-06-06 David Carlisle <latex-bugs@latex-project.org> * ltboxes.dtx: Fix bug introduced last week. Add \leavevmode to \fbox, and make \long. At the same time make \sbox and \mbox \long even though they were not \long in 2.09. Dec 3, 2012 at 17:52
• Gave a macro less arguments than it needs. Dec 3, 2012 at 18:05
• Unbalanced \if constructs. Dec 3, 2012 at 18:05
• created a "circular" macro; of course tex didn't stop -- i had to crash it manually. Dec 10, 2012 at 21:13
• put in too many open braces/groups, or not enough closing ones; also, mismatched $ signs. either one can get you out of synch really fast! Dec 10, 2012 at 21:16 • Using {} instead of [] for optional arguments of macro and [] for mandatory arguments, and forgetting which arguments are mandatory and which are optional. Jan 12, 2013 at 11:30 • Forgot to escape _ (e.g. in URLs) Jun 24, 2013 at 13:20 What small mistakes that you have made allow (La)TeX to continue working, but produce an unexpected result? The objective of this poll is to collect mistakes that are frequently made by us (especially for the beginner). • Forgot to append a trailing \  or {}  right after a macro that eats white spaces. For example writing \LaTeXe is... will produce "LaTeX2eis" instead of "LaTeX2e is". Jul 20, 2011 at 10:15 • Forgot to add a % to remove unnecessary white spaces. Jul 20, 2011 at 13:10 • Forgot to prefix a period following a capital letter with \@ such that the period is intended to end a sentence. Aug 5, 2011 at 4:30 • Forgot to append a period following a non-capital letter with \  such that the period is supposed not to be the end of sentence. Aug 5, 2011 at 5:50 • Kept subversion conflict markers (<<<<<<<<<) in the text body Nov 2, 2011 at 21:00 • Misspelled label name in either \label, \ref or \cite. – yo' Jul 7, 2012 at 14:58 • Forgot to specify non-breaking space with ~ (e.g. Figure~\ref{fig:somefig}. Nov 30, 2012 at 9:54 • Hoping $\tiny abc\$ (font size change in math mode) can produce the expected result. Actually it will never work because the developers chose to disable font changing commands inside formulas. Feb 17, 2013 at 11:26
• Forgot to use \ignorespaces when we use \noindent (or \indent) at the end of a macro with arguments. Mar 11, 2013 at 22:52
• A wrong placement of \noindent. For example \par\noindent\vspace{\baselineskip} <text> that should be \par\vspace{\baselineskip}\noindent <text>. Mar 17, 2013 at 14:49
• Forgot to end the paragraph with \par before the closing } in {\Huge long text spanning 2 or more lines}. Mar 21, 2013 at 23:09
• Using longtable inside table environment because of a wrong assumption that longtable is long version of tabular. The same syntax and column specifiers lead us to this wrong assumption. Mar 25, 2013 at 16:01
• Used \label before \caption, so that the referencing of the Float did not work as expected. Jan 28, 2014 at 9:35
• Forgot to put a backslash before "underscore and ampersand (symbol)"
– M S
Jan 17, 2017 at 9:52
• Trying to pass an argument to a switch-type command that would need grouping instead: \command{...} instead of {\command ...}
– lblb
Mar 19, 2017 at 10:42

As a TeX user, I favour

1. logical punctuation, a.k.a. "British style"; or

2. rhetorical punctuation, a.k.a. "American style."

The following example, taken from Edward D. Johnson's The Handbook of Good English (Simon & Schuster, 1991), illustrates the difference between the two:

I'm not sure what is meant by 'fail-safe'. (logical punctuation)

I'm not sure what is meant by 'fail-safe.' (rhetorical punctuation)

• logical punctuation Mar 27, 2013 at 16:42
• In my language, German, only logical punctuation exists. I did not knew there were other styles up until now. The rhetorical style looks ugly and wrong. Mar 27, 2013 at 16:47
• logical, for sure. if you've ever been burned by having an unenlightened editor (person) insist that the period (or comma) be placed inside the quotes that delimit a typing command instruction, you wouldn't accept any other option. that was the situation that permitted a change in tex-related user manuals at ams. (i can't speak for other publications, but at least we're freed from questions about why something doesn't work when directions were followed to the letter/punctuation symbol.) likewise for tugboat. logic rules. Mar 27, 2013 at 16:54
• rhetorical punctuation Mar 27, 2013 at 16:55
• Logical punctuation, because the full stop [period] belongs to the whole sentence, not just the term in quotes. IMNSHO, rhetorical punctuation lives in the same cave as "rhetorical dates", the ones where the day comes between the month and the year... Mar 27, 2013 at 17:55

On which other stackexchange sites you are a member? (Let's say being a "member" means ask a question or provide an answer there.)

The comment format should be:

[TeX](http://tex.stackexchange.com/)


I found TeX.sx via...

• some search engine.
– N.N.
Jul 19, 2011 at 18:36
• StackExchange menu on the top. Jul 19, 2011 at 21:07
• Migration from StackOverflow. Jul 19, 2011 at 21:09
• Area 51 (participated on the private beta)
– Vivi
Jul 20, 2011 at 1:29
• Via Joseph Wright's blog Some TeX developments. Jul 31, 2011 at 4:15
• Am I supposed to remember this? Nov 1, 2011 at 14:49
• Some comment in comp.text.tex Nov 8, 2011 at 9:40
• Migration from MathOverflow Nov 11, 2011 at 23:33
• Area 51 (didn't participate in the private beta). Nov 14, 2013 at 15:40
• I liked formatting the equations on the physics.SE and was messing with detexify, and then I was like, hmmm, maybe I should learn more about this, it's so fun. Aug 15, 2016 at 14:00

How is your activity or behavior on this site?

• I read all questions of one topic and try to answer most of them. Jul 3, 2012 at 9:32
• I try to read all questions unless I know I'm not interested and not able to provide any support.
– yo'
Jul 7, 2012 at 15:01
• I only read several new questions on that day. Jul 8, 2012 at 15:12
• I scan for things I'm likely to be able to answer. Oct 29, 2012 at 0:52
• I read questions that are likely to be of interest to me Oct 29, 2012 at 0:52
• I use subscriptions on several tags that alert me of questions of possible interest. Feb 22, 2013 at 16:14
• I don't read the questions and answers. Instead I am just logged in the chat room for fun. Mar 19, 2013 at 2:10
• I am only interested in reading old unanswered questions that are randomly poked by the bot Community. Mar 19, 2013 at 9:17
• I only ask questions. I am not knowledgeable enough to provide answers. Mar 20, 2013 at 15:32
• I always collect and save reputation and don't want to spend them for bounties. Mar 22, 2013 at 23:00
• I mostly search and ask for current problems I have. May find the occasional question I can answer, or post my own question-answer pair. Sep 12, 2013 at 8:19
• I will see what I can learn from questions in chat. Sometimes I answer questions on the site, only to find on refresh that egreg and davidcarlisle has pounced the question a couple of seconds later, deleting my answer, and skulking further in the shadows. Oct 22, 2013 at 22:36
• I mostly ask questions. Feb 13, 2020 at 16:15

I use Windows and the TeX Distribution ...

Since Windows users are the only ones who have MiKTeX as an option, I thought it'd be interesting to see how the user distribution between and MiKTeX and TeX Live on Windows is. See also the cross-platform question.

• MiKTeX ........ Jan 2, 2013 at 7:04
• TeX Live ...... Jan 2, 2013 at 7:05
• putty to my school server (yes, I really do it).
– yo'
Jan 8, 2013 at 15:42
• KerTeX on Cygwin May 17, 2013 at 1:27
• teTeX on Cygwin (Actually a few times I had to use Windows in my life that is how I used TeX). May 17, 2013 at 1:28