Anyone got any thoughts on the LaTeX companion?

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Should I shell out £23 for The Latex Companion to ensure I can most effectively write my documents and design my slides for university? I have The LATEX Graphics Companion and there is no doubt it is a good book, but the number of books I could buy increases exponentially the more I think about the work I need to do. So, anyone have any practical experience with the book’s usefulness to a computer science research student with a middling level of LaTeX experience, who is likely to use LyX for a lot of his work?

4 thoughts on “Anyone got any thoughts on the LaTeX companion?

  1. Don’t know about “The LaTeX Companion”, but I have a copy of Kopka & Daley “Guide to LaTeX” (earlier than the current edition, I think) to which I still refer from time to time. LyX removes a considerable amount of the need for LaTeX wizardry, and the Beamer package (for presentations) has a truly excellent manual. After that, Google is my friend. I originally bought K&D to learn LaTeX (pre-LyX, and I think before I found myself online all the time). Now it’s a fallback for the occasional sticky bit, but Google is faster.

    • My experience with the “Graphics” volume is that, by linking things together, it makes you think about different ways of doing things – e.g. I would never have thought of using LaTeX to display a red-black tree until I stumbled across it in the book. This book might stimulate the same thing.
      My immediate problem is (and I had this with the MSc report too) displaying references/citations properly/consistently – for some reason LyX has taken it upon itself to decide which parts of titles get capitalised and decided to ignore what I have actually put into the citation list😦

      • The capitalization would be a LaTeX issue, not a LyX issue. Are you using BibTeX (or BibLaTeX) for citations, or adding them directly to the document?

        With BibTeX, capitalization is determined by the style file you use (a drop-down selection in one of the LyX dialogs). That makes sense, since every journal has its own (anal retentive) style. To force capitalization (such as an acronym), you can surround the letters with braces {} in the .bib file, as in “Introduction to {FORTRAN} Programming”.

  2. Yes, it’s BibTeX – thanks for the tip. I’ll have a look. Cannot see why it would make sense to have a style that stripped capitals out of dates, but I am sure you are correct.

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