There are some replies that are used quite often. For example, the first reply to many questions is a demand for a minimal example. These replies should typically include a link with additional information. So I thought that it might be useful to collect some standard replies for quick copy&paste. This “question” is community wiki, so please feel free to add blocks and improve existing ones.

There is also a useful script solution on, see this answer by Martin Scharrer.

Useful Links

  • [TeX.SX starter guide](
  • [minimal working example (MWE)](
  • [Follow-up questions](
  • [How to Ask](
  • [marked as a code sample](
  • [mark your inline code](
  • [My question was closed as a duplicate, but I still need help. What can I do?](
  • [How do you accept an answer?](
  • [MathJaX Help Forums](!forum/mathjax-users)

New users


  • Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at [our starter guide]( to familiarize yourself further with our format.

Minimal examples

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( Please help us to help you and add a [minimal working example (MWE)]( that illustrates your problem. It will be much easier for us to reproduce your situation and find out what the issue is when we see compilable code, starting with `\documentclass{...}` and ending with `\end{document}`.

  • In case the OP posted some code that isn't an MWE:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( Please make your code compilable (if possible), or at least complete it with `\documentclass{...}`, the required `\usepackage`'s, `\begin{document}`, and `\end{document}`. That may seem tedious to you, but think of the extra work it represents for TeX.SX users willing to give you a hand. Help them help you: remove that one hurdle between you and a solution to your problem.

Multiple, unrelated questions in one

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( You seem to be asking two [or more] unrelated questions, here. On TeX.SX, we try to keep unrelated questions on separate pages. If you have multiple questions that are unrelated to one another, you should ask each in a separate TeX.SX "question". You'll stand a better chance of getting a satisfactory answer to each of your questions.


  • Follow-up questions:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( Your question won't be seen by many people here, so it would be best to repost it as a fresh question. [Follow-up questions]( like this are more than welcome! Please use the "[Ask Question](" link for your new question; there you can link to this question to provide the background.

  • “Thank you” by user (≠ OP) rep < 15:

    Instead of posting a “Thank you” as an additional answer, you should give feedback clicking the 'up' arrow you can see above each answer's score. Once you’ve gathered 15 reputation points on this site, you’ll be able to [upvote answers]( to contribute to this score. We want to keep the answer space reserved for actual answers, so this non-answer will be removed from public view soon.

  • “Thank you” by OP rep 15+:

    Instead of posting a “Thank you” as an additional answer, you should thank [user] by upvoting [his/her] answer (with the upward pointing arrow to the left of it; you need 15 reputation points before you can upvote) and accepting it (by clicking on the checkmark ✓). We want to keep the answer space reserved for actual answers, so this non-answer will be removed from public view soon.

  • Additional information:

    Instead of “answering” your own question, you should comment on [user]'s answer or edit the original question to include the additional information.
    And optionally: (You may have to register at in order to do so.)

Answer edited into question

  • We'd like to keep answers separate from questions, so you should write a separate answer instead of editing your answer into the question. Self-answers are perfectly admissible, and a well-written answer may earn you additional reputation.

Migrated questions/answers/users

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( Your post was migrated here from another Stack Exchange site. Please register on this site, too, and make sure that both accounts are associated with each other (by using the same OpenID), otherwise you won't be able to comment on or accept answers or edit your question.

I want to do something very complicated: "Just do it for me"

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( On this site, a question should typically revolve around an abstract issue (e.g. "How do I get a double horizontal line in a table?") rather than a concrete application (e.g. "How do I make this table?"). Questions that look like "Please do this complicated thing for me" tend to get closed because they are either "off topic", "too broad", or "unclear". Please try to make your question clear and simple by giving a [minimal working example (MWE)]( you'll stand a greater chance of getting help.

  • Alternatively (too long to add the Welcome to TeX.SX! block, but this could be posted before as separate comment):

    Your question leaves all the effort to our community, even typing the essentials of a TeX document such as `\documentclass{}...\begin{document}` etc. As it is, most of our users will be very reluctant to touch your question, and you are left to the mercy of our procrastination team who are very few in number and very picky about selecting questions. You can improve your question by adding a [minimal working example (MWE)]( that more users can copy/paste onto their systems to work on. If no hero takes the challenge we might have to close your question.

Minimal effort / homework questions

  • Hi [user] and [welcome to TeX.SX]( In its current form, your question might not receive many answers. Please take a look at the [How to Ask]( and try to improve your question according to the guidance found there. This may require you to show some effort on your part in terms of attempting a solution. If you have questions about what to do or if you don't quite understand what this means, please ask for clarification using the `add comment` function.

"Just do it for me" graphics questions

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX]( Questions about how to draw specific graphics that just post an image of the desired result are really not reasonable questions to ask on the site. Please post a minimal compilable document showing that you've tried to produce the image and then people will be happy to help you with any specific problems you may have. See [minimal working example (MWE)]( for what needs to go into such a document.

Marking code

  • Code blocks:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( A tip: If you indent lines by 4 spaces, they'll be [marked as a code sample]( You can also highlight the code and click the "code" button (with "{}" on it).

  • Inline code:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( A tip: You can use backticks `\`` to [mark your inline code]( as I did in my edit.

  • Code blocks and inline code:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( A tip: If you [indent lines by 4 spaces]( or [enclose words in backticks `\``](, they'll be marked as code, as can be seen in my edit. You can also highlight the code and click the "code" button (with "{}" on it).

Intro / closing

  • [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( You don't have to sign with your name since [it automatically appears in the lower right corner]( of your post.


    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( It's not necessary to sign your questions (as [there is already a box with your username below it]( or to begin them with a greeting.


    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( Usually, we don't put a greeting or a “thank you” in our posts. While this might seem strange at first, it is not a sign of lack of politeness, but rather part of our trying to keep everything very concise. [Accepting and upvoting answers is the preferred way here]( to say “thank you” to users who helped you.

    And optionally for all:

    A suggestion: Do us a favour and change your username to something more telling than "user1234".

Merging accounts

  • It looks like you've got two separate accounts, which means you cannot edit your original post or leave comments. The StackExchange staff can [merge them together for you](

Possible duplicates

See discussion in Closing questions as exact duplications: 'best practice' for notes on these messages!

  • For new(ish) users whose question looks like it might get closed as a duplicate:

    [Welcome to TeX.SX!]( This question is very similar to [link]. Please take a look at it as the information there might help you. If so, that's great, and we'll probably close this question as a duplicate just to keep the place tidy and to help people find answers quickly. If not, please edit your question here to explain why so that people can better focus their attention to help you.

  • On casting first dupe vote on a question where the OP has not said 'Oh yes, it's a dupe':

    I've voted to close this as a duplicate because currently, the question looks very similar to [link]. Note that closing a question is not final. If you feel that this question is not a duplicate you can edit it to add more information, in which case it may be reopened.

For questions that are likely to be closed

  • If your question is closed and you still need help, don't worry, [here you'll find help on what to do next](

  • Alternatively, for already closed questions:

    If the linked question doesn't solve your problem, please edit your question to explain why and we'll reopen it. Closing as a duplicate is just a way of ensuring that people who find this question easily find the other one.

  • MathJax questions:

    While [tag:MathJax] uses LaTeX syntax, it uses Javascript and HTML's DOM model rather than TeX technology, making it mostly off topic for this site. You might try instead searching among the [questions tagged with mathjax on StackOverflow](, or in the official [mathjax-users]( Google group.

Please ‘accept’ an answer below

One should wait a day before leaving this comment:

  • Since you have some responses below that seem to answer your question, please consider marking one of them as ‘Accepted’ by clicking on the tickmark below their vote count (see [How do you accept an answer?]( This shows which answer helped you most, and it assigns reputation points to the author of the answer (and to you!). It's part of [this site's idea to identify good questions and answers through upvotes and acceptance of answers](

Note that in case of a self-answer one has to wait 48 hours (after the question was posted) before accepting.

How to look up a symbol

  • Have a look at [“How to look up a symbol?”]( for ideas how you can easily find a particular symbol.

Do not use Debian packages (For the future, as for now it has TL 2012)

  • Debian (except unstable) and Ubuntu still contain TeX Live 2012. Many packages have been significantly improved since then. I would recommend installing TeX Live directly from [TUG]( instead of using the Debian packages. That way you can always get current package versions by running `sudo tlmgr update --all`.

Upload images only over the official interface

  • Please make sure that all images are uploaded using the official Stack Exchange interface, i.e. the image icon on top of the text field (shortcut: Ctrl+G). This ensures that all images will always be accessible and won't expire.

  • As new user without image posting privileges simply include the image as normal and remove the `!` in front of it to turn it into a link. A moderator or another user with edit privileges can then reinsert the `!` to turn it into an image again.

Reminder for being clement

  • Please don't downvote below a score of -1, even if the question in its current form needs some improvement. A score of -1 is enough to show that the question needs work, anything below that is of no use. Also, if you downvote or vote to close, please leave a comment explaining why you did so, but wait at least 24 hours after asking the OP for improvements to the question before voting to close.

    Optional addition: Don't forget, it's a new user!

  • This should not have been closed. Please wait at least 24 hours after asking the OP for improvements to the question before voting to close. Also, if you downvote, please don't forget to revert the vote after the question is improved.

  • Enhanced version:

    This should not have been closed: The question has been improved significantly from its first version. Please wait at least 24 hours after asking the OP for improvements to the question before voting to close. Also, if you downvote, please don't forget to revert the vote after the question is improved.

Packages for creating MWEs

  • (The [lipsum]( package is only used to add some dummy text to the example.)

  • (The [blindtext]( package is only used to add some dummy text to the example.)

  • (The [kantlipsum]( package is only used to add some dummy text to the example.)

  • (The filecontents environment is only used to include some external files directly into the example, so that it compiles. It is not necessary for the solution.)

For moderators

  • Just a note to confirm _X_'s comment, this ought to be reposted as a question for you to get the best chance of it being answered. Also, it's a little confusing to have fresh questions in the _answers_ section, so this answer will be removed from public view in _N_ days.
N.B. You can use the filecontents environment without loading the filecontents package. –  Will Robertson Oct 26 '10 at 14:26
Do you want TikZ with that? –  Andrew Stacey Jan 6 '11 at 20:15
@Caramdir: I'd also wait longer. (My text building block is "In principle you're right, but usually one should wait a day before accepting an answer, so it's better if you wait with such comments." :-)) In some cases it might be OK earlier that a day, but for now I'll change it above. –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 7 '11 at 17:33
@lockstep: Thanks. I actually think when I wrote that the first time, I was just dead serious (as opposed to tongue-in-cheek). I only added the "don't have to (and" to make it sound less harsh. I also like about Caramdir's that it contains a part about greetings (of course only when applicable; his one was actually about formal greetings). –  Hendrik Vogt Feb 21 '11 at 6:44
Am I correct in assuming that these text blocks (except for the last one) can be used by anyone? –  doncherry Apr 28 '11 at 11:03
@don: sure. That is the point of having them here. –  Caramdir Apr 28 '11 at 14:29
@Caramdir: Thanks. They just all seemed so moderator-y and since the editing privilege threshold is pretty high, I was uncertain. –  doncherry Apr 28 '11 at 14:38
@Speravir: I liked your addition to the MWE block, but I thought the wording was a bit awkward and elusive, so I tried something else. I hope, it still carries what you wanted to say? (I added the document class etc. stuff because I deemed it helpful to keep users from posting snippets. I hope it won't lead to users posting full, unminimalized documents. If this happens, we'll definitely have to reconsider. –  doncherry Nov 26 '12 at 3:45
@doncherry I just have copied it from another user … and your’s I like better! Yes, that they overread the “minimal working example” with the link, is unfortunately possible. –  Speravir Nov 26 '12 at 4:18
Regarding "Welcome to TeX.SX! Usually, we don't put a greeting or a “thank you” in our posts. [...]", shouldn't the "usually" be removed? Maybe replaced by "Note that" to keep the (I guess) intended soft tone of "usually" but be more correct? –  Xavier Jul 12 '13 at 20:07
@xavier: since this is the first interaction many users will have wit texts, I'd keep it as friendly as possible. Also, if you look around a bit, regular users do get away with quite a bit of chitchat (though it is often more subtle than just "thank you". –  Caramdir Jul 13 '13 at 18:17
Can users not accept answers until they have 15 points? I thought they could but the text block above makes me think I must be wrong since the possibility of doing this is only mentioned in the >15 block. But since they can't upvote until then either, why not mention that the tick delight, too, awaits them when the great day comes? –  cfr Apr 15 at 2:14
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6 Answers


[Welcome to!]( Your question won't be seen by many people here, so it would be best to repost it as a fresh question. [Follow-up questions]( like this are more than welcome! Please use the "Ask Question" link for your new question; there you can link to this question to provide the background.

I really don't like the highlighted part. It gives the suggestion that posting follow-up question is good for visibility ("won't be seen") and not fully mandatory ("would be best").

Instead the text should make it clear how a Q&A site works and that there should be only one question per thread, with only solutions as answer posts.

My first suggestion:

[Welcome to!]( Answer posts are intended for solutions to the original question. If you have a similar question which is not answered here, please post it as a fresh one using the "Ask Question" link above. [Follow-up questions]( like this are more than welcome! Please also include a link to this question to provide the background.

+1, I added a comma and fixed a typo (I don't think we want to welcome new users with a pun on intended and indented ;)). A couple of things I'm not sure about, perhaps a native speaker of English can help: Is fresh a common choice of word here? I'm also thinking Follow-up questions like that, not like this. –  doncherry Apr 13 '12 at 18:48
@doncherry: As a native English speaker, I can assure you that both that and this are correct here and, in this particular usage, mean almost exactly the same thing. The term fresh question is a metaphor: implicitly, an old question (or thread) is being compared to a stale piece of food. Using "fresh" this way in online forums is common, and most people do not notice it is a metaphor unless they think about it. The term stale question for an "old question" is not common and would sound strange, even though it is the same metaphor. –  Charles Staats Aug 17 '12 at 20:41
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I just looked through the first questions-review section and read through a question that was perfect already, so I didn't edit anything and didn't leave a comment. This made me think though: Do we not want to welcome users that ask a formally great first question? We could add a block like

[Welcome to!]( Thanks for your question or this great question, we're looking forward to your future contributions to this Q&A.

Or is this missing the point of the text building blocks being time-savers for dealing with actual problems? New users probably are automatically greeted, but a personal greeting from a real community member might be nice and the new user might come across something they hadn't known on the Welcome to TeX.SX! page (unless they're automatically pointed there upon registration?). Then again, this site is really not about chit-chatting and exchanging birthday wishes.

Well, I'm torn, maybe there are some opinions on this?

I think this should be discussed in separate question. –  Caramdir Jul 10 '11 at 18:17
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I'm not a huge fan of any automated "one size fits all" processes like this, but as an experiment to see what happens, it's OK.

You might also be interested in this script

Which would make it easier to refer and use to this set of standard comments.

The (original) idea for these blocks is that they make it easy to include links to relevant faq questions without having to hunt down the link every time. At least I do quite often adapt the wording to the particular case. That script looks nice (it also seems to let you adapt the wording before submitting). –  Caramdir Mar 24 '11 at 4:25
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So do we want a link to here from the answer-posting interface somehow? Hmm, not exactly sure how that would work; there don't exactly seem to be any boilerplate text boxes in the neighborhood...

Sam: That's what the featured does. It makes it appear in the list of meta questions on the main page. –  Andrew Stacey Feb 21 '11 at 8:57
@Andrew: That's a bit high up the page, in my thinking, though I guess it's good once you know it's there. (Assuming the tag is even permanent, which it sounds like it might not be.) –  SamB Feb 22 '11 at 0:00
I agree that it's not optimal, but with the available tools it's the best possible. In addition, this list is probably only useful to people who already know of its existence. –  Andrew Stacey Feb 22 '11 at 7:12
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A lot of non-answers I see are really comments by users who don't have enough rep to comment, so the text about follow-up questions is not really appropriate.

The question is what should be the correct advice? They don't really have an alternative, but it would really be an abuse of the system (and the mods) to make "some mod will move your answer to a comment" a standard procedure in this case.

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Two comments:

  1. The following two pieces of advice seem contradictory to me (and then possibly to other users as well):

    Instead of “answering” your own question, you should [...] edit the original question to include the additional information.

    Followed by

    We'd like to keep answers separate from questions, so you should write a separate answer instead of editing your answer into the question.

  2. Under Minimal examples, I'd like to see a piece of advice pointing out when a compilable example isn't minimal. In my experience, most MWEs posted are more or less minimal with respect to the part between \begin{document} and \end{document}, but far from minimal with respect to the preamble (the OPs could often identify the problem if they tried to minimize it). A link to the excellent answer given here would suffice.

If I only knew why 1. 2. comes out as 1. 1. ... –  Sverre Feb 10 at 17:47
You have to indent everything in the list item by 4 spaces, or a new list will be started. –  Caramdir Feb 10 at 18:51
The first is for non-answers that provide additional information (eg, if when asked for a MWE the asker adds it as an answer). Hence “answering”. The second is when the asker provides an answer themselves, but directly in the original question. –  Caramdir Feb 10 at 18:52
2. The MWE block has a link to anyway. These templates are not to be just copy-and-pasted as is all the time, but should generally be edited for the specific occasion. –  Caramdir Feb 10 at 18:57
1. In that case I suggest a clearer wording, e.g. "Instead of providing additional information to your question as an "answer", please edit your original question". 2. I am aware, but the existing phrase focuses on the W of MWE. I think it would be helpful with a phrase focusing on the M, which typically is ignored. –  Sverre Feb 10 at 19:06
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