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When I asked my first question on this site, I was asked to provide "a complete small document that demonstrates the problem." What is "a complete small document" and how do I make one?

marked as duplicate by texenthusiast, Werner, percusse, Claudio Fiandrino, Loop Space Apr 28 '14 at 7:50

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Although texenthusiast already mentioned the question might be duplicate of I've just been asked to write a minimal example, what is that?, it is worth to make some remarks.

Many new users of TeX.SX start with a question about a desired feature or post some fragment(s) of code almost unusable, since this is how TeX (a placeholder for TeX/LaTeX/XeTeX/LuaLaTeX) does not work, as almost any 'programing' language. It has grammar/syntax rules.

And as such, a small complete document starts with a

\documentclass{article}

uses some packages (most probably), say

\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{hyperref}

and eventually some other preamble commands (omitted here).

Finally the true document code, beginning (sic!) and ending with

\begin{document}
  % Some content in between.
\end{document}

This *.tex file should reproduce the error or the efforts what has done so far, not more and not less. This means, that all unnecessary code has to be omitted (preferably) or at least commented out.

So, if your problem has nothing do with

  • mathematical markup --> drop all packages concerning math (amsmath etc.)

  • font issues --> drop all packages using fonts

  • hyperlinks --> omit hyperref

etc.

Only the really experienced TeX users know or can guess which class/packages should be loaded and sometimes this is even ambiguous since there are varities of possible solutions to a problem. A fragment of a code is a starting point, but most time a very crude one.

Finally, this a skeleton of a complete small document:

\documentclass{article}
%%% \usepackage statements here

%%% Other necessary statements here

\begin{document}
%%% Code for **your** document 
\end{document}

Change the documentclass article to one you really use.

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