[Tex/LaTex] Class for the thesis (I am a beginner, just installed LaTeX)… which document class and packages should I consider?


I am in the process of writing up a PhD thesis (Economics) in the TeXStudio environment, and I'm trying to decide what class/layout to use. I'm new to TeXStudio & LaTeX.

I must say that the documentation is too long and horrible in comparison to mathematical programming languages like R. I still do not have any idea how to get a grasp on features of packages and how to properly use it. It seems like that I have to read all those manuals consisting of >200 pages to understand what is going on… There seems to be no fast 'help' way denoting a half page summary of commands like in R.

Basically, I just want to get the format nice (as nice as I can make it). I want to blow everyone away with a beautiful style with my thesis. Maybe some old fashioned book style? Or report? Or something like memoir or something?

Can you recommend a document class I should use? I have read a bit about the memoir class, but I'm not sure if that is the best option. Alternatively, I have read about KOMA-Script classes, which are maybe another option?

Keen for your insight – because at the moment I'm not sure whether I even should use LaTeX as I do not want any problems with licenses or something, because I want my thesis to not be licensed under anything. My thesis is my thesis. So maybe it is better to just use Word?

Best Answer

Don't worry about the length of package documentation, you don't need to read everything!

If you use just the packages present in TeX Live (or MiKTeK or any other official distribution), I don't think you have license problems.

If your faculty already has a template, use it.

If not, just start with:











and in every .tex file put the relative content (for the difference between \include and \input, see here: When should I use \input vs. \include?).

In your preamble, load your packages, I use:

in general:

% linguistic package

to set the page margin:


to set headers and footers:


if you have some math formulae:


if you have some tables:

% for having numbers aligned to the decimal point

for figure and table captions:


if you have some graphics:


(to include external images - and not only - also not made in LaTeX)



(if you like to draw your graphics directly in LaTeX)

for the bibliography:

\usepackage{biblatex} % or any other you like

for hyperlinks:


Of course, you'll have to refine their options to your needs.

Then add other packages only if you need them.

Taking a look at The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2ε or another guide listed here: What are good learning resources for a LaTeX beginner? is surely useful.

When your thesis will be finished, you could use beamer documentclass to create the presentation for its defense.

For any problem, we are here to help.

If you have no time to learn and you are full of doubt, just use Word (even if LaTeX is MUCH better).


Eventually, as marmot said in chat, nowadays it is virtually impossible to write a proper thesis without samcarter's tikzducks package.