Contributing to the LaTeX reference manual

The LaTeX2e Unofficial Reference Manual aims to provide a reference for the user-level commands of LaTeX. For more information, see the home page.

You can help

We welcome bug reports or suggestions. Please email to (subscribe, archive).

If you would like to contribute more systematically, that's great. Here are some things a person could tackle, following the guidelines below for writing entries.

Write an entry

Each entry is different but over time we have worked out some general guidelines. A good example is the one for \footnote.

Examples are particularly important since they are what most people look for. Here are a few guidelines: (1) Test all examples, no matter how small. (2) Use best practices, both coding and typographic practices, such as including the \, space in $\int x\, dx$. (3) There is such a thing as too many examples. Perhaps two or at most three is enough. (4) Keep them brief. (5) Make them interesting, or at least sensible. If you are illustrating an aspect of formula writing then use an actual formula. For text, use an example from an actual document if reasonable but in any event try to minimize "foo" and "bar." And, "baz" is right out.

Finally, of course we must follow the source license with respect to quoting and attribution.

Send it in

The easiest way to start is to put your suggestion in plain text (or Texinfo is even better, if you wrote it that way; but Texinfo is not required) and email the list. We will mark it up for insertion in the document source.

Making a ready-to-insert entry is more involved and we should have a conversation when you want to do that, but here is an overview. First get the files (see also the directions on our project page): (i) install Subversion, (ii) create a convenient directory; here we illustrate with /home/jim/src/latexrefman/, and (iii) in that directory run

 svn checkout
to fetch the subdirectory trunk/.

The document source is the single file trunk/latex2e.texi. It is marked up in Texinfo. Decide where to put your new entry. The simplest way to actually enter it is to then copy another entry and edit to suit. (The Texinfo manual has all the information but we try to stay away from any advanced stuff.) Besides inserting the entry, you must also put a pointer to that entry into a menu. Again here, find a similar entry and copy and edit. Finally, compile to output by running make in the trunk directory. Once you have gotten used to marking up entries, if you want write access to the repository then let us know on the mailing list. We'll see about an account.

Coding conventions

Here are a few conventions for working inside the texi file.

Document structure

Here are a few points concerning how to change the document structure, if need be.

Unofficial LaTeX2e reference manual
$Date: 2022-01-26 11:23:47 -0700 (Wed, 26 Jan 2022) $