Formatting information

A beginner's introduction to typesetting with LATEX

Appendix B — Users Group membership

Peter Flynn

Silmaril Consultants
Textual Therapy Division

v. 3.6 (March 2005)


  1. Installing TEX and LATEX
  2. Using your editor to create documents
  3. Basic document structures
  4. Typesetting, viewing and printing
  5. CTAN, packages, and online help
  6. Other document structures
  7. Textual tools
  8. Fonts and layouts
  9. Programmability (macros)
  10. Compatibility with other systems
  1. Configuring TEX search paths
  2. TEX Users Group membership
  3. The ASCII character set
  4. GNU Free Documentation License

This edition of Formatting Information was prompted by the generous help I have received from TEX users too numerous to mention individually. Shortly after TUGboat published the November 2003 edition, I was reminded by a spate of email of the fragility of documentation for a system like LATEX which is constantly under development. There have been revisions to packages; issues of new distributions, new tools, and new interfaces; new books and other new documents; corrections to my own errors; suggestions for rewording; and in one or two cases mild abuse for having omitted package X which the author felt to be indispensable to users. ¶ I am grateful as always to the people who sent me corrections and suggestions for improvement. Please keep them coming: only this way can this book reflect what people want to learn. The same limitation still applies, however: no mathematics, as there are already a dozen or more excellent books on the market — as well as other online documents — dealing with mathematical typesetting in TEX and LATEX in finer and better detail than I am capable of. ¶ The structure remains the same, but I have revised and rephrased a lot of material, especially in the earlier chapters where a new user cannot be expected yet to have acquired any depth of knowledge. Many of the screenshots have been updated, and most of the examples and code fragments have been retested. ¶ As I was finishing this edition, I was asked to review an article for The PracTEX Journal, which grew out of the Practical TEX Conference in 2004. The author specifically took the writers of documentation to task for failing to explain things more clearly, and as I read more, I found myself agreeing, and resolving to clear up some specific problems areas as far as possible. It is very difficult for people who write technical documentation to remember how they struggled to learn what has now become a familiar system. So much of what we do is second nature, and a lot of it actually has nothing to do with the software, but more with the way in which we view and approach information, and the general level of knowledge of computing. If I have obscured something by making unreasonable assumptions about your knowledge, please let me know so that I can correct it.

Peter Flynn is author of The HTML Handbook and Understanding SGML and XML Tools, and editor of The XML FAQ.



TEX Users Group membership



    The TEX Users Group (TUG) was founded in 1980 for educational and scientific purposes: to provide an organization for those who have an interest in typography and font design, and are users of the TEX typesetting system invented by Donald Knuth. TUG is run by and for its members and represents the interests of TEX users worldwide.

    ToCTUG membership benefits

    Members of TUG help to support and promote the use of TEX, METAFONT, and related systems worldwide. All members receive TUGboat, the journal of the TEX Users Group, the TEX Live software distribution (a runnable TEX system), and the CTAN software distribution (containing most of the CTAN archive).

    In addition, TUG members vote in TUG elections, and receive discounts on annual meeting fees, store purchases, and TUG-sponsored courses. TUG membership (less benefits) is tax-deductible, at least in the USA. See the TUG Web site for details.

    ToCBecoming a TUG member

    Please see the forms and information at You can join online, or by filling out a paper form. The NTG (Dutch) and UKTUG (United Kingdom) TEX user groups have joint membership agreements with TUG whereby you can receive a discount for joining both user groups. To do this, please join via (the NTG membership page) or (the UKTUG page), respectively, and select the option for joint membership.

    Each year's membership entitles you to the software and TUGboat produced for that year (even if it is produced in a subsequent calendar year, as is currently the case with TUGboat). You can order older issues of TUGboat and TEX memorabilia through the TUG store (

    The current TUG membership fee is $65 (US) per year for individuals and $35 for students and seniors. Add $10 to the membership fee after May 31 to cover additional shipping and processing costs. The current rate for non-voting subscription memberships (for libraries, for example) is $85. The current institutional rate is $500, which includes up to seven individual memberships.


    TUG uses your personal information only to mail you products, publications, notices, and (for voting members) official ballots. Also, if you give explicit agreement, we may incorporate it into a membership directory which will be made available only to TUG members.

    TUG neither sells its membership list nor provides it to anyone outside of its own membership.

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