[Tex/LaTex] Which manuals are on your “TeX Reference” shelf


This is a community wiki since there is no "one true answer"- if you find an answer that contains a lot of your choices, but is missing something you feel is incredibly useful. Feel free to add it. A short description of what topics the reference covers would be nice as well.

Organize by subject please.

For example: I always keep the following PDFs at my fingertips.

Document Layout

  • The Memoir manual: Covers, in exquisite detail, how to produce just about any document using the memoir LaTeX class. (PDF 4.5 MB)

Mathematical Typesetting

  • Math Mode: A document by Herbert Voß that explains how to typeset just about any mathematical expression in LaTeX. (PDF 2 MB)


  • The PGF Manual: Explains, with examples, how to draw just about any figure using PGF/TikZ. Also a good example of what awesome documentation should look like. (PDF 9.5 MB)

Best Answer

For now, I will post reference manuals that haven't been mentioned here yet.


  • For LaTeX itself there's a great reference: source2e.pdf. It's usually part of a LateX distribution, so I quickly access it by texdoc source2e and enter a keyword to the search feature of the pdf browser.


  • The beamer manual is so comprehensive that it serves me often as reference. Again, I use texdoc beamer.

Document Layout

  • I appreciate the KOMA-Script manual by Markus Kohm. In German it's still more extensive, but I hope the English version will be improved as well. The manual addresses many aspects of layout and typographic style. texdoc scrguien or texdoc scrguide.

Mathematical Typesetting

  • Besides Herbert Voss' great Mathmode.pdf, the amsmath user's guide is a valuable reference because amsmath is the standard package for mathematica typesetting. texdoc amsldoc


Hypertext and PDF features

  • The probably most important reference is the hyperref manual. It deals with nearly all you need to know about hyperlinks and PDF bookmarks. What it doesn't tell yet, may be read in the README file to that package. texdoc hyperref/manual and texdoc hyperref/readme

  • Further there's the pdfTeX user manual. texdoc pdftex-a


  • Besides the great TeX-by-Topic reference, the TeXbook by Donald E. Knuth is my reference because I like to read the documentation written by the TeX creator itself even if it's not so accessible like the first mentioned book.


  • BibTeXing by Oren patashnik is a good reference for BibTeX. For instance, it lists entry and field types. texdc btxdoc

texdoc is the tool for quick access, but one should know for what to look out. Earlier it was difficult because one had to remember complicated file names, but today texdoc understands commonly used aliases.

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