# TeX Community Polls

## Rules

• Answers to these poll questions are placed as "comments" below them. Because this is also an opinion poll subjective questions are welcome.
Please do not ask too specific questions and allow for multiple choices and votes, e.g. instead of something like "My absolute favorite for X is .." use something like "For X I often use ...".
• To participate up-vote the comments which apply for you.
If applicable hyperlink the entry to allow other users to learn more about it. Feel free to flag comments for moderator attention if they should be modified for some valid reason (wrong/missing hyperlink, etc.)
• Feel free to up-vote the poll questions ("answer" posts) as well to indicate that you liked the question. This will push the most favorite questions to the top.

1 Should you be affected by the "Trivial answer converted to comment" feature simply post a longer dummy text and then edit it down to the correct content.

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My favorite (La)TeX editor is...

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Vim/GVim, (Graphical) Vi Improved –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 7:05
TeXworks, cross-platform open source editor. –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 19 '11 at 7:07
gedit, the official text editor of the GNOME desktop environment. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 9:20
emacs+auctex An extensible customisable text editor –  Seamus Jul 19 '11 at 11:42
textmate for Mac OS X with the LaTeX bundle –  Michael Ummels Jul 19 '11 at 18:21
TeXnicCenter, a free editor for developing LaTeX documents under Windows. –  Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '11 at 18:58
Aquamacs, an Aqua-native build of Emacs with AUCTeX already included. –  Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '11 at 19:02
TeXStudio (a.k.a TeXMakerX) –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 21:03
TeXShop for Mac OS X –  Alan Munn Jul 20 '11 at 12:29
WinEdt (Windows) –  Ignasi Jul 25 '11 at 9:49
Emacs but not with auctex –  Loop Space Jul 27 '11 at 18:41
Kile! KDE latex IDE, which rules! –  Oz123 Jul 30 '11 at 3:02
Texmaker, a free cross-platform LaTeX editor. –  DevSolar Sep 13 '11 at 7:25
sublime text 2. –  topskip Jul 3 '12 at 9:36
Eclipse with Texlipse plugin –  jafan Dec 8 '12 at 8:11

I use the following fonts:

(Please link to font's page in the font catalogue http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/ which has examples and the necessary code, not to CTAN.)

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Latin Modern –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:18
Computer Modern –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:20
Linux Libertine –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:21
Palatino –  lockstep Jul 19 '11 at 18:29
Minion Pro –  Michael Ummels Jul 19 '11 at 18:31
Inconsolata –  Michael Ummels Jul 19 '11 at 18:39
Bitstream Charter –  Michael Ummels Jul 19 '11 at 18:43
Computer Modern Unicode –  Andrey Vihrov Jul 22 '11 at 17:30
The TeX gyre font collection –  Seamus Jul 28 '11 at 11:46
Lucida complete font collection –  mas Aug 5 '11 at 16:16
any of the fonts from emerald city fontwerks, provided by the package emerald, like Augie or JD –  Tom Bombadil Sep 4 '11 at 10:29
EB Garamond –  ℝaphink Sep 7 '11 at 10:39
Kpfonts/Kpserif –  zeroth Jan 18 '12 at 9:29
STIX / XITS Math –  canaaerus Nov 16 '12 at 11:20
New Century Schoolbook with the fouriernc package –  Guido Jan 12 '13 at 11:02

I mainly use the following (La)TeX compiler and tool chain:

(Feel free to add combinations like latex+dvips+ps2pdf)

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pdflatex (PDF LaTeX) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 7:10
xelatex –  Caramdir Jul 19 '11 at 15:42
latex + dvips + ps2pdf –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 19:20
context, a wrapper around luatex used to compile ConTeXt Mk.IV. –  Charles Stewart Jul 24 '11 at 10:15
lualatex –  Martin Schröder Jul 24 '11 at 21:21
ini-LuaTeX (no fluff LuaTeX) –  topskip Jul 26 '11 at 6:30
latexmk - LaTeX make script in perl –  Dror Aug 19 '11 at 11:40
Makefile with latex+dvips as well as pdflatex output –  Stefan Waldmann Mar 7 '12 at 17:04
xelatex controlled by latexmk –  Brent.Longborough Jul 6 '12 at 19:01
xetex (plain ). –  morbusg Sep 22 '12 at 16:40
arara –  Xavier Apr 26 '13 at 0:13

I use the TeX distribution ...

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TeX Live, the collaborative distribution of TeX user groups. –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 18 '11 at 21:11
MiKTeX –  Jake Jul 19 '11 at 1:31
ConTeXt Standalone –  Esteis Jul 13 '12 at 10:50
MacTeX –  John Wickerson May 8 '13 at 13:16

I use the following version control software for my (La)TeX files:

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Subversion (svn) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:42
Git (git) –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:43
Mercurial (hg) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:45
Bazaar (bzr) –  Caramdir Jul 20 '11 at 4:16
none (I don't use any version control software for my (La)TeX files.) –  doncherry Jul 20 '11 at 11:19
RCS –  Charles Stewart Jul 24 '11 at 10:25
CVS –  Paul Gaborit Oct 28 '12 at 15:27
Dropbox –  Silex Oct 29 '12 at 10:07
Folders/Compressed files with date or version in their name. –  tohecz Jan 12 '13 at 0:48

I use (La)TeX on the following platform(s):

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Ubuntu Linux (diverse versions) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 13:41
Mac OS X (10.4.x, 10.5.x or 10.6.x) –  Joseph Wright Jul 19 '11 at 14:24
Windows 7 (any 'flavour') –  Joseph Wright Jul 19 '11 at 14:24
Other Linux distros (Fedora, Debian, OpenSUSE, Slackware, and so forth.) –  Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '11 at 18:30
Gentoo Linux –  Andrey Vihrov Jul 22 '11 at 17:29
Windows XP (Prof.) –  Stephen Aug 21 '11 at 13:47
Mac OS X 10.7 (Update Joseph's comment?) –  qubyte Nov 8 '11 at 15:24
Mac OS X 10.8 (...) –  Philipp Nov 11 '12 at 16:47
Windows 8 (any edition) –  Martin Scharrer Nov 12 '12 at 10:31
iOS (on iPad and iPhone) –  Guido Jan 13 '13 at 15:04
Windows XP (Home) –  Sverre Mar 18 '13 at 18:13
Arch Linux (any version) –  user4514 Mar 7 at 19:20

I use (La)TeX mainly for ...

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Writing letters –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 19 '11 at 13:39
Writing my PhD thesis –  Seamus Jul 19 '11 at 13:47
Writing [project|homework|lab] reports –  Martin Tapankov Jul 19 '11 at 15:00
Writing articles –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:02
Writing LaTeX packages –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:37
Producing books for conference proceedings or textbook –  egreg Jul 19 '11 at 18:41
Writing conference and journal papers –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:51
Creating presentations (e.g. for conference papers) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:52
Creating vector-graphic-based illustrations –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 19:26
Writing materials for teaching. –  Alan Munn Jul 20 '11 at 12:28
Manipulating existing PDF documents (such as extracting certain pages, trimming white spaces) with the help of pdfpages, graphicx packages and an external tool GhostScript directly (or pdfcrop script indirectly). –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 13:43
Fun :-) ..... –  morbusg Jul 25 '11 at 18:04
Writing a book. –  DevSolar Sep 13 '11 at 7:34
writing lecture notes. –  canaaerus Nov 16 '12 at 11:23
Writing my curriculum vitae/resume. –  hakaze Nov 23 '12 at 9:22

I have used the following packages / classes:
(more than once or twice)

Use format:
[<name>](http://www.ctan.org/pkg/<name>)

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listings –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:16
graphicx –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:18
geometry –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:20
hyperref –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:22
babel –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:27
array –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:28
booktabs –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:34
multicol –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:38
amsmath –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:47
fancyhdr –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 17:54
microtype –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:04
biblatex –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:05
TikZ/PGF –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:10
enumitem –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:16
beamer –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 18:42

I use the following document viewer (to view PDF, DVI, PS and similar files)...

Please link to the viewer in answers and add the platform for which it is available. This might be interesting for other people. If you use an IDE's viewer write an answer in the form "the viewer of x".

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Evince (Linux, mainly Gnome) –  N.N. Jul 20 '11 at 11:54
Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows, Linux, Mac, ...) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 12:44
Skim (OS X) –  Michael Ummels Jul 20 '11 at 13:03
SumatraPDF (Windows) –  Paulo Cereda Jul 20 '11 at 13:11
Xpdf (UNIX, VMS and OS/2) –  Paulo Cereda Jul 20 '11 at 13:12
Okular (KDE/Linux but supports other platforms) –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 20 '11 at 14:25
Preview.app (OS X) –  morbusg Jul 21 '11 at 13:52
PDF-XChange Viewer (Windows) –  Ignasi Jul 25 '11 at 9:46
Adobe Acrobat professional –  topskip Jul 26 '11 at 6:32
The viewer of TeXworks (Windows, Linux, Mac, ...) –  Ignasi Jul 26 '11 at 13:50
mupdf –  Seamus Jul 28 '11 at 11:48
xdvi –  eldering Aug 11 '11 at 12:39
The TexMaker integrated viewer –  matth Oct 28 '11 at 11:36
zathura –  Jan Hlavacek Jan 10 '12 at 13:35
TeXShop integrated Viewer. This is quite different that the TeXworks viewer. –  Peter Grill Oct 10 '12 at 1:26

I create the diagrams for my (La)TeX documents using ...

Possible choices: TikZ, PGF, PSTricks, xypic, picture environment, MS Visio, Inkscape, ...
Select 'PGF' if you really using the low level PGF commands, but 'TikZ' if you use that higher level interface.

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TikZ –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:14
PSTricks –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 13:28
Asymptote –  Stéphane Gimenez Jul 23 '11 at 19:13
Metapost –  egreg Jul 25 '11 at 22:32
Inkscape –  Bruno Le Floch Jul 26 '11 at 6:43
python's matplotlib -> PDF –  Oz123 Jul 30 '11 at 3:08
XY-pic –  eldering Aug 11 '11 at 12:34
Xfig –  eldering Aug 11 '11 at 12:37
Gnuplot with Metapost or other LaTeX compatible output –  AlexG Aug 12 '11 at 10:42
Matlab –  Yossi Farjoun Nov 1 '11 at 16:03
Ipe –  Jan Hlavacek Jan 10 '12 at 13:33
Gnu R –  Jonas Stein Nov 1 '12 at 21:21
pgfplots –  Lev Bishop Apr 21 '13 at 18:39
Mathematica –  Lev Bishop Apr 21 '13 at 18:42
adobe illustrator –  Lev Bishop Apr 21 '13 at 18:43

I'm a member of the user group...

Please add 'none, I'm not in any (La)TeX related user group.' if it applies.

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DANTE, Deutschsprachige Anwendervereinigung TeX e.V. (German TeX Users Group) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 18 '11 at 21:23
TUG, North American and international TeX Users Group –  Martin Scharrer Jul 18 '11 at 21:54
UK-TUG: "UK TeX Users' Group" –  Joseph Wright Jul 19 '11 at 6:06
GuIT, Gruppo utilizzatori italiani di TeX (Italian TeX Users Group) –  egreg Jul 19 '11 at 18:40
none (I am not a member of any (La)TeX related user groups) –  xport Jul 21 '11 at 9:45
GUST Polska Grupa Użytkowników Systemu TeX (Polish TeX Users Group) –  Martin Schröder Jul 24 '11 at 21:18
NTG Nederlandstalige TeX Gebruikersgroep (Dutch language oriented TeX Users Group) –  Martin Schröder Jul 24 '11 at 21:20
ConTeXt group –  Martin Schröder Oct 4 '11 at 6:39
Association GUTenberg (Groupe francophone des Utilisateurs de TeX) –  barbara beeton Oct 28 '12 at 14:11

What do you dislike in (La)TeX?

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(La)TeX syntax and programming style –  xport Jul 28 '11 at 15:49
Bad error messages. –  Raphael Oct 15 '11 at 10:49
Backslashes. Macro expansion. \expandafter. Missing data structures. –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 20:58
Exessive numbers of [] and {}. My pinky hurts after a few hours of coding. This gets much worse when you start using LaTeX inline math instead of  –  Canageek Oct 28 '12 at 1:47
real utf-8 without extra packages –  Jonas Stein Nov 1 '12 at 21:26
nice tables that dont destroy footnotes without extra packages –  Jonas Stein Nov 1 '12 at 21:27
long learning curve (I'm not the patient kind...) –  Count Zero Nov 29 '12 at 11:00
The lack of a proper way to integrate libraries and making them agree on a set of common typesetting goals. –  Marc van Dongen Jan 5 '13 at 2:00
Compilation is too slow –  Jonas Stein Jan 11 '13 at 1:49
Packages that conflict with each other –  Ari Brodsky Feb 8 '13 at 7:54
To be seen as a geek instead of a cool guy that produces perfect documents ;-) –  Penbeuz May 15 '13 at 15:53
Syntax for tables –  moose Jun 24 '13 at 13:15
Too much attention to "protecting" styles from modification, not enough attention to easy customizability. –  alexis Oct 21 '13 at 18:40
Having few friends who use it or want to use it. –  OSjerick Nov 29 '13 at 3:24
Too many folders with the same name on many paths. –  Sigur Dec 1 '13 at 21:17

I manage my bibliography using...

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JabRef jabref.sourceforge.net -- cross-platform standalone bibliography manager. –  Martin Tapankov Jul 19 '11 at 11:53
Reftex an emacs plugin –  Seamus Jul 19 '11 at 13:47
BibDesk for Mac OS X, included in MacTeX –  Michael Ummels Jul 19 '11 at 18:24
a plain text file (directly editing the .bib file). –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:37
Zotero, a Firefox plugin –  Jake Jul 19 '11 at 22:23
Citavi for Windows, free for databases with up to 100 titles, often free for university students. –  Tom Bombadil Aug 21 '11 at 9:37
Bibsonomy.org - a social bookmark and publication sharing system. It has some nice features, among them a JabRef plugin. Biber can even fetch the .bib file from BibSonomy on the fly –  matth Oct 28 '11 at 11:41
Mendeley.com - A desktop, web and mobile application for handling and sharing your collection of scientific papers. –  Speldosa Nov 1 '11 at 14:47

I have read the following TeX/LaTeX books:

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The TeXBook by Donald E. Knuth. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 12:52
LaTeX -- Das Praxisbuch by E. & M. Niedermair, 2003, in German. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 12:56
TeX by Topic by Victor Eijkhout –  Joseph Wright Jul 19 '11 at 14:23
LaTeX: A Document Preparation System by Leslie Lamport –  Joseph Wright Jul 19 '11 at 14:25
The LaTeX Companion by Frank Mittelbach and Michel Goossens –  lockstep Jul 19 '11 at 15:09
Guide to LaTeX by Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly –  lockstep Jul 19 '11 at 15:44
Typesetting Mathematics with LaTeX by Herbert Voß –  Paulo Cereda Jul 19 '11 at 18:55
LaTeX Beginner's Guide by Stefan Kottwitz –  lockstep Jul 19 '11 at 18:57
Wikibooks latex guide –  Oz123 Jul 30 '11 at 3:05
More Math into LaTeX (4th edn), 2007, by George Grätzer (Chapter 1 (LaTeX Short Course) is on CTAN with supporting examples and videos.) –  mas Aug 5 '11 at 16:31
Typesetting tables with LaTeX, 2011, by Herbert Voss –  mas Aug 5 '11 at 19:06
none - I have not read a book about LaTeX, I just started from some template and whenever there was a problem, I searched the internet –  matth Oct 28 '11 at 11:33
'Math into LaTeX' by George Grätzer –  Sony Nov 4 '11 at 23:40
The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX by Tobias Oetiker Hubert Partl, Irene Hyna and Elisabeth Schlegl –  texenthusiast Jun 27 '12 at 5:16
"The Advanced TeXbook" by David Salomon –  barbara beeton Dec 10 '12 at 21:06

I use TeX mainly in the following academic or professional field:

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Mathematics ... –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 27 '11 at 7:44
Electronic Engineering –  Martin Scharrer Jul 27 '11 at 7:44
Computer Science –  Michael Ummels Jul 27 '11 at 10:06
Philology (languages & literatures) –  doncherry Jul 27 '11 at 10:53
Environmental engineering –  Jake Jul 28 '11 at 0:33
Philosophy..... –  Seamus Jul 28 '11 at 11:49
Procrastination ;-) –  Caramdir Jul 28 '11 at 15:50
Linguistics.... –  Alan Munn Jul 30 '11 at 17:15
Physics (is too short to be accepted as comment) –  Stephen Aug 21 '11 at 14:36
Theology ...... –  ℝaphink Oct 1 '11 at 8:59
Mechanical Engineering –  matth Oct 28 '11 at 11:42
Chemistry (is too short to be accepted as comment) –  cgnieder Feb 15 '12 at 10:50
Statistics/Applied Probability/Bioinformatics/Computational Biology –  Faheem Mitha Dec 3 '12 at 17:55
Earth Sciences. –  Peter Jansson Dec 27 '12 at 14:27
Space Engineering –  Ingo Apr 11 '13 at 6:06

My favorite aspects of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems are...

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Beautiful output. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:58
The combination of programming and typesetting. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:59
That it's free software/open-source. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 19:08
Extensibility, e.g. the possibility to write or rewrite macros. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 19:10
Maturity and possibly long-term support. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 14:13
Stability - TeX doesn't crash and it never destroyed my files. –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 20 '11 at 14:33
That everything is stored in plain text files. –  Caramdir Jul 20 '11 at 16:31
The durable value of Knuth's ideas about typesetting. –  Charles Stewart Jul 24 '11 at 10:27
It's fun to use –  mas Aug 6 '11 at 10:04
extensible by its users –  mas Aug 6 '11 at 10:05
provides abstraction (not least the potential for the separation of content from presentation allows concentration on the logical structure and the content rather than on the appearance) –  mas Aug 6 '11 at 10:07
Its versatility: articles, books, notes, resumes, presentation slides, sheet music, ... -- one tool for all! –  Raphael Oct 15 '11 at 10:53
Their capability for mathematics — the things that (Open)Office and friends simply can’t do (let alone do well). –  Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Nov 11 '11 at 23:31
concentrate on content rather than typesetting –  texenthusiast Nov 30 '12 at 4:43
Potential to extend the degree of automation almost indefinitely. –  Stephan Lehmke Dec 3 '12 at 18:03

I find the usage of the following (La)TeX code should be avoided:
and I'm annoyed seeing other users, especially beginners using it.

Expected answers: Most content from l2tabu, bad Word-like typesetting, ...

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{figure}[H!] or similar (trying to place a float at the current position; typical behavior of someone coming from MS Word etc.) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:50
Using LaTeX2.0 style font macros like \bf, \it, ..., instead of the proper LaTeX2e macros \textbf/\bfseries, ... –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:51
Misusing math mode to get italic text: $text$. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 14:00
Using eqnarray instead of the math environments provided by amsmath –  lockstep Jul 20 '11 at 15:33
Inserting a blank line right before & after a displayed equation. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 15:43
Using \begin{center}...\end{center} instead of \centering in figure environment. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 15:44
Using multiple instances of \\ to make blank lines. –  Alan Munn Jul 20 '11 at 15:56
Using single instances of \\ after each source line to break the output line, too (outside of tables). –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jul 31 '11 at 4:09
\"{a} notation for umlauts instead of utf-8 –  Jonas Stein Nov 1 '12 at 21:23
$$...$$ for displayed equations –  Federico Poloni Nov 29 '12 at 13:48
Using utf-8 for umlauts instead of \"{a} notation. @JonasStein Sorry I coudn't resist. What's the problem. –  Marc van Dongen Jan 5 '13 at 1:58
Using math ellipsis for non-mathematical context such as "I am lazy $\ldots$". The correct one is "I am lazy \ldots". –  Who is crazy first Mar 11 '13 at 23:01
Using < and > as "angle brackets" instead of \langle and \rangle. –  Zev Chonoles Jul 24 '13 at 8:13
Using " and " as quotation marks instead of  and ''. –  OSjerick Nov 29 '13 at 3:32
Using \Large or \textit{} inside \chapter{} or \section{} to format the headings. –  Sigur Dec 1 '13 at 21:20

My favorite document class is...

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scrartcl - an extensive article class of the KOMA-Script bundle –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 27 '11 at 19:01
article – plain and classic –  doncherry Jul 28 '11 at 12:21
memoir (for large documents) –  Alan Munn Jul 30 '11 at 17:14
report (for large as well as short documents) –  Stephen Aug 21 '11 at 14:37
scrbook of KOMA-Script. –  DevSolar Sep 13 '11 at 7:42
beamer for presentations –  Raphael Oct 15 '11 at 10:48
moderncv, just beautiful. –  Raphael Oct 15 '11 at 10:48
standalone to test TikZ graphics –  Ignasi Nov 8 '11 at 9:36
book, just a simple one for lecture notes etc –  Stefan Waldmann Mar 7 '12 at 17:11
tufte (for the great layout and font choice) –  Count Zero Nov 29 '12 at 10:59
amsart formats things nicely and automatically loads amsmath etc. –  Ari Brodsky Feb 8 '13 at 7:40

My favorite aspects of TeX.sx are...

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The amount of knowledge in the community. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 19:23
The high activity on the site (quick answers, frequently multiple answers, quality control through votes and comments) –  Jake Jul 20 '11 at 4:47
The possibility to always learn more about (La)TeX even if you already know a lot. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:17
To be able to see how other people create documents and solve issues (which can be sometimes completely different to your way). –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:19
The nice and easy modern interface for writing, editing, commenting and searching. –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 23 '11 at 13:56
How friendly it is. No matter how archaic or random my questions is I still get good answers, and people accept me in the chat, despite the fact that everyone else there has forgotten more LaTeX then I know. –  Canageek Oct 28 '12 at 1:49
Practising my (La)TeX skills in areas I don't normally use. –  Stephan Lehmke Dec 3 '12 at 17:59
Calling "procrastination" "help". –  tohecz Jan 12 '13 at 0:51
I wanted to say a big THANK YOU. I had to produce a class file for my students for their third year report, and I wanted to make things as simple as possible for them. I had many unresolved problems as I am no expert, but every single question was answered on the site. Without the help given by the experts on this site I would simply have abandoned my endeavour. THANKS AGAIN. –  Pierre May 7 '13 at 19:58

To a total LaTeX beginner (not TeX in this case) I would recommend to start learning LaTeX by reading first ...

Books, online howtos, ...

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L'Arte di Scrivere con LaTeX (It's in Italian, though.) –  egreg Jul 25 '11 at 22:34
LaTeX and Friends by Marc van Dongen –  Alan Munn Jul 30 '11 at 17:19
LaTeX -- Das Praxisbuch by E. & M. Niedermair, 2003, in German. –  Tom Bombadil Aug 21 '11 at 9:29
LaTeX Beginner's Guide by Stefan Kottwitz –  texenthusiast Nov 30 '12 at 4:41
More Math into LaTeX (4th edn), 2007, by George Grätzer (Chapter 1 (LaTeX Short Course) is on CTAN with supporting examples and videos.) (Thanks to mas for the link info in his comment here) –  Ari Brodsky Feb 8 '13 at 7:47
–  Who is crazy first Mar 17 '13 at 14:57

What features do you miss in (La)TeX?

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Automatic paragraph flow around arbitrary shapes (like images) –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:04
Autokerning based on the shape of the glyphs –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:04
good multi column support (balancing, images/formulae crossing multiple columns) –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:04
text areas with overflow capabilities ("read more on page 3") –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:04
Output to an "open" format such as InDesign (for editing afterwards) or XML –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:04
Some way of splitting a vbox at a point (should break an image in two parts for example) –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:05
XML input (hey, it's 2011) –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:05
Word's track changes feature. The accept/reject changes functionality blows diff away. –  Canageek Oct 29 '12 at 0:50
A real document tree, and a high-level language for arbitrary manipulations thereof – instead of TeX's single-pass traversal and macros. –  Philipp Nov 12 '12 at 23:48
More complete implementations of Unicode algorithms and OpenType features. –  Philipp Nov 12 '12 at 23:49
A proper grid layout (\grid package doesn't work for me). –  Marc van Dongen Jan 5 '13 at 2:11
JSON input (hey, it's 2013, @topskip) –  BeniBela Feb 19 '13 at 18:20
Designing support. You get a book design from a designer and you have to implement it in your document all by yourself. –  Pygmalion Sep 28 '13 at 9:00

Tips that may be regarded as best practices in LaTeX.

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Consider define a macro for a thing that you use repetitively throughout your document so you can modify its setting in one place later and the changes can affect thoroughly. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 13:55
Don't manually adjust line breaks and page breaks until you prepare the final version, which means no changes in page layout or font size can be expected. –  Stefan Kottwitz Jul 20 '11 at 14:30
Avoid writing a lengthy document in a single input file. Instead, prepare the document structure in advance by creating a separate file for each chapter and/or section and imports them from within a single main input file; This method has some benefits: (1) easing us to rearrange the contents, (2) speeding up the compilation during the development phase by commenting/uncommenting \input or by using \includeonly. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 15:58
Use "code formatting" to make the LaTeX source more readable, such as aligning similar lines in a displaymath environment. –  eldering Aug 13 '11 at 10:52
–  matth Oct 28 '11 at 11:50
Use structured writing. Use \include and \includeonly and consider using a folding editor. –  Marc van Dongen Jan 5 '13 at 2:10
Instead of several-hour struggle with some LaTeX problem, ask here. –  tohecz Jan 8 '13 at 15:47

This poll is used to know the distribution of TeX users based on their nationalities. Please carefully choose only one option per person, don't make a mistake, and someone with administrative privilege might be watching you!

There is also a Data Explorer query that uses the information entered in the user profiles. Top ten countries by user numbers as reported on 2014-08-05:

Country         Number of users
-------------------------------
United States   1318
Germany         1264
United Kingdom  973
India           524
France          464
Netherlands     310
Italy           273
Australia       270
Brazil          261


Or you can monitor the statistics of this polls at Top countries of Meta.TeX.SX members.

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(015) Australia –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:02
(016) Austria . –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:02
(033) Brazil .. –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:09
(043) Canada .. –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:21
(049) China ... –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:24
(065) Denmark . –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:30
(082) France .. –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:38
(090) Germany . –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 10:43
(111) India ... –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 11:43
(118) Italy ... –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 11:46
(166) Netherlands –  Who is crazy first Feb 20 '13 at 13:22
(176) Norway .. –  Who is crazy first Feb 21 '13 at 10:19
(215) Spain ... –  Who is crazy first Feb 21 '13 at 16:20
(243) United Kingdom –  Who is crazy first Feb 22 '13 at 4:44
(244) United States –  Who is crazy first Feb 22 '13 at 4:44

What small mistakes that you have done make (La)TeX stop working?

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Using pdflatex to compile an input file that either imports EPS or contains PSTricks code. –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 20:19
Using latex.exe to compile an input file that imports PNG, PDF or JPEG images. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 9:30
Programmed a recursive macro with a faulty abort mechanism. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 9:57
Forgot a semicolon inside a TikZ picture –  Michael Ummels Jul 20 '11 at 13:02
Forgot to add fragile option to Beamer's frame environment that contains verbatim blocks. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 13:46
Tweak the source code of pdftex with too little understanding of Pascal or the Web programming language. –  Bruno Le Floch Jul 26 '11 at 6:48
Confusion between length macros that need \ and counter macros that don't need \ leads us to make mistakes such as typing \setlength{paperwidth}{10cm} or \setcounter{\enumi}{10}. –  xport Aug 5 '11 at 18:57
Forgot \\ somewhere in a table. –  DevSolar Sep 13 '11 at 7:40
Didn't know the difference between TeX and LaTeX. (Undefined control sequence \documentclass...) –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 20:57
Introduced a small bug into \fbox that stopped it working for everybody. 1994-06-06 David Carlisle <latex-bugs@latex-project.org> * ltboxes.dtx: Fix bug introduced last week. Add \leavevmode to \fbox, and make \long. At the same time make \sbox and \mbox \long even though they were not \long in 2.09. –  David Carlisle Dec 3 '12 at 17:52
Gave a macro less arguments than it needs. –  Stephan Lehmke Dec 3 '12 at 18:05
Unbalanced \if constructs. –  Stephan Lehmke Dec 3 '12 at 18:05
put in too many open braces/groups, or not enough closing ones; also, mismatched \$ signs. either one can get you out of synch really fast! –  barbara beeton Dec 10 '12 at 21:16
Using {} instead of [] for optional arguments of macro and [] for mandatory arguments, and forgetting which arguments are mandatory and which are optional. –  Guido Jan 12 '13 at 11:30
Forgot to escape _ (e.g. in URLs) –  moose Jun 24 '13 at 13:20

What small mistakes that you have made allow (La)TeX to continue working, but produce an unexpected result?

The objective of this poll is to collect mistakes that are frequently made by us (especially for the beginner).

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Forgot to append a trailing \  or {}  right after a macro that eats white spaces. For example writing \LaTeXe is... will produce "LaTeX2eis" instead of "LaTeX2e is". –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 10:15
Forgot to add a % to remove unnecessary white spaces. –  xport Jul 20 '11 at 13:10
Forgot to prefix a period following a capital letter with \@ such that the period is intended to end a sentence. –  xport Aug 5 '11 at 4:30
Forgot to append a period following a non-capital letter with \  such that the period is supposed not to be the end of sentence. –  xport Aug 5 '11 at 5:50
Kept subversion conflict markers (<<<<<<<<<) in the text body –  topskip Nov 2 '11 at 21:00
Misspelled label name in either \label, \ref or \cite. –  tohecz Jul 7 '12 at 14:58
Forgot to specify non-breaking space with ~ (e.g. Figure~\ref{fig:somefig}. –  Count Zero Nov 30 '12 at 9:54
Using longtable inside table environment because of a wrong assumption that longtable is long version of tabular. The same syntax and column specifiers lead us to this wrong assumption. –  Who is crazy first Mar 25 '13 at 16:01
Used \label before \caption, so that the referencing of the Float did not work as expected. –  Adam B. Jan 28 at 9:35

On which other stackexchange sites you are a member? (Let's say being a "member" means ask a question or provide an answer there.)

The comment format should be:

[TeX](http://tex.stackexchange.com/)

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Meta.StackOverflow –  tohecz Sep 22 '12 at 10:07
Graphic Design –  tohecz Sep 22 '12 at 10:44
Stack Overflow –  Who is crazy first Sep 22 '12 at 12:12
Physics –  Who is crazy first Sep 22 '12 at 12:14
Mathematics –  Who is crazy first Sep 22 '12 at 12:15
RPG –  Canageek Oct 29 '12 at 0:57
Ask Ubuntu –  Silex Nov 29 '12 at 13:26
Electrical Engineering –  Count Zero Nov 30 '12 at 9:57
Unix and Linux SE. –  Faheem Mitha Dec 3 '12 at 18:00
Academia –  Federico Poloni Dec 16 '12 at 16:17
Scifi+Fantasy –  BeniBela Feb 19 '13 at 18:22
ELL (English Language Learners) –  Stephen Mar 11 '13 at 21:31
Cross Validated –  Sverre Mar 20 '13 at 15:28
Linguistics –  Sverre Mar 20 '13 at 15:29

How is your activity or behavior on this site?

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I read all questions of one topic and try to answer most of them. –  topskip Jul 3 '12 at 9:32
I try to read all questions unless I know I'm not interested and not able to provide any support. –  tohecz Jul 7 '12 at 15:01
I only read several new questions on that day. –  Who is crazy first Jul 8 '12 at 15:12
I scan for things I'm likely to be able to answer. –  Canageek Oct 29 '12 at 0:52
I read questions that are likely to be of interest to me –  Canageek Oct 29 '12 at 0:52
I use subscriptions on several tags that alert me of questions of possible interest. –  Martin Schröder Feb 22 '13 at 16:14
I only ask questions. I am not knowledgeable enough to provide answers. –  Sverre Mar 20 '13 at 15:32
I always collect and save reputation and don't want to spend them for bounties. –  Who is crazy first Mar 22 '13 at 23:00
I mostly search and ask for current problems I have. May find the occasional question I can answer, or post my own question-answer pair. –  Raphael Sep 12 '13 at 8:19
I will see what I can learn from questions in chat. Sometimes I answer questions on the site, only to find on refresh that egreg and davidcarlisle has pounced the question a couple of seconds later, deleting my answer, and skulking further in the shadows. –  Forkrul Assail Oct 22 '13 at 22:36

I found TeX.sx via...

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some search engine. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:36
StackExchange menu on the top. –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 21:07
Migration from StackOverflow. –  xport Jul 19 '11 at 21:09
Area 51 (participated on the private beta) –  Vivi Jul 20 '11 at 1:29
Via Joseph Wright's blog Some TeX developments. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jul 31 '11 at 4:15
Am I supposed to remember this? –  Speldosa Nov 1 '11 at 14:49
Some comment in comp.text.tex –  Ignasi Nov 8 '11 at 9:40
Migration from MathOverflow –  Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Nov 11 '11 at 23:33

Have you found an error in any of Donald Knuth's publications for which you were rewarded?

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No, I have not. –  N.N. Jul 19 '11 at 18:42
No, not yet! (still looking) –  Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 18:44
yes, several. my favorite was an extra space in a texbook running head, noticeable only by the fact that it didn't line up with the text margin. (confession: i sometimes get to look at proofs of tex-related material before publication, so nobody else gets a chance to find errors that i see first.) –  barbara beeton Jul 2 '12 at 19:30
No, never! (still looking only for answers) –  Fran Oct 26 '13 at 23:38

I use Windows and the TeX Distribution ...

Since Windows users are the only ones who have MiKTeX as an option, I thought it'd be interesting to see how the user distribution between and MiKTeX and TeX Live on Windows is. See also the cross-platform question.

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MiKTeX ........ –  doncherry Jan 2 '13 at 7:04
TeX Live ...... –  doncherry Jan 2 '13 at 7:05