I think that most people have a preamble that includes packages, and comments that make sense for the person who is writing the document.

\usepackage{⟨package⟩} %⟨comment⟩

but maybe the comment is too personal to be understood by others e.g. written in non-English language, using non-standard abbreviations, or the focus is on the package cooperation with other used packages, ... - or plain wrong.

Does it makes sense to define a standard ⟨comment⟩ string to be used with each ⟨package⟩? So that people could(should?) write that comment in their documents. -it could also be used as an automatic hover text here on TeX.sx.

It could be implemented by writing the string in the package documentation (with special formatting for easy reference), and encourage people to copy and paste into their source.

  • Do you mean that each time a \usepackage is used in a post on TeX.sx it should be encouraged to also contain such an explaining standardized comment?
    – N.N.
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 21:09
  • 1
    @N.N. :Well I did mean to use it(voluntarily) in your preamble, but it would be very nice to have it as an automatic hover text here at TeX.sx Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 21:36
  • while a standardized comment is undoubtedly informative, one package may be used for different reasons in different documents. as a support staff member, when i modify a client's input file by adding a package, i include a comment targeted at the specific need. on the other hand, when i develop a template for general use, the comment is, of course, general, but often it doesn't fit on one line (that judged by printing out the template verbatim using a common document class, e.g. article or book). one size doesn't fit all. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 19:12
  • @barbarabeeton: What if there were two versions of standard comment. A one-liner, and a paragraph. -and of course I do not suggest to disallow personal comments. I think that the standard comment would help you in your work, as you would not have to write one from scratch, or copy it from non-updated non-version controlled personal sources. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 20:49
  • @Hans-Peter -- maybe two versions would be useful, but (1) the comments i'm referring to are not "personal" (although i'm responsible for their content), and (2) the templates i construct are for a publisher's public "author packages", so i would be writing the content anyhow. (and the templates are version controlled.) i'm not saying that such comments couldn't be useful for other people, but i think that different publishers might not agree on what they want to say about, or how they want to recommend, particular packages, so reaching unanimity might be difficult. Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 20:58
  • Rather than a comment, it would be neat if TeX.SX would automatically parse the \usepackage and put a link on the argument to the package page on TeX.SX.
    – Xavier
    Commented Jun 1, 2013 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


Since this question has received very little interest in the past year, it seems to indicate that such a request (or even automation) is not feasible. Or, to echo barbara's comment, that "reaching unanimity [on this topic] might be difficult".

I mostly insert a comment to the location of the package on CTAN using the format

\usepackage{<package>}% http://ctan.org/pkg/<package>

However, others may want to be more verbose in their motivation for including a package:

\usepackage{<package>}% This package is awesome

Regardless of users' choice, what would be the most difficult is to force community members to follow certain policies or ideas that seem to very little justification. While the Stack Exchange network is built by and for the community, it is often that guidelines form and change over time. So, even though these suggestions are well-intended, they may be hard to swallow/conform to for some, but they're also difficult (if not impossible) to enforce and, therefore, not feasible.

  • Yes - I see that the unanimity and forced conformity will be a problem. However, I still believe that an automatic hover text her on TeX.SX will be beneficial. -whenever \usepackage{<package>} is seen. Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 8:33
  • @Hans-PeterE.Kristiansen: It's not always as easy as <package> having a URL http://ctan.org/pkg/<package>. For example, consider kbordermatrix, algpseudocode, algorithmic, tikz, including any manual package/class written by a user and included in a code snippet (say \usepackage{mypackage})...
    – Werner Mod
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 16:47

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