[Tex/LaTex] Consistent typography


When working with large documents, or even across multiple (smaller) documents, I often find that I forget which typographical consistencies I should stick to.

With TeX being inherently consistent in the way it does things, most things are kept organized without the user even knowing about it. Additionally, using a customized documentclass (like memoir, for example) or packages (like xspace and titlesec, to name two) improves on this consistency by user's choice. Sometimes, however, you are left to your own devices and have to do things manually. Of course, the latter could also stem from not knowing that a package exists to do the job for you, or because you'd rather have more control over the placement/use of a certain things without having it automated or globally set.

To this extent, I though this would be a good place to ask the question: "Which tools/techniques do you use to maintain consistency within your document?"

Sure, the question sounds broad. Many answers are scattered across this site and elsewhere (like the Chicago Manual of Style or Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style). I was hoping to contain this diverse knowledge base in one location on TeX.SX (similar to what was done for Showcase of beautiful typography done in TeX & friends and LaTeX IDEs).

Here are some examples of useful (manual) tips/tricks:

  • The TeX Book mentions (p 25) the use of ties (~) in the context of Thor's "A SHORT STORY" when typesetting Mr.~Drofnats:

    A good typist will use ties within names…

  • \emph or \textit provides a good example of when/why to use either \emph or \textit.

  • The contents of DO’s and DON’Ts when typesetting a document has some very relevant manual application of consistencies, including:

    • Put a tilde before references or citations, e.g., Jie~\cite{habit06}.
    • Differentiate between text comma and math comma, e.g., type for $x=a$, $b$, or~$c$ instead of for $x=a,b$, or $c$.
    • Write ellipsis using \ldots instead of three dots.
  • The l2tabu documentation also provides an interesting list of "do's and dont's".

Any more?

Best Answer

Define commands for common structures; for instance, even if keywords will be typeset with \textsf, it's better to define


and use \keyword{mykey}. This not only adds visual clues when writing and reading the TeX document, but makes possible to change the typographical aspect at once everywhere.

Similarly, define environments for common logical units that might deserve particular typographical treatment.

Put structured comments around things like \enlargethispage or \pagebreak used during the final revision (which often turns out not to be really definitive). Make liberal use of comments in general.

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