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Regarding the `book`, `report`, and `article` document classes: what are the main differences?

What are the main differences between the book , report , and article document classes?

I am interested in the following:

cfr's user avatar

As Schweinebacke has noted, there are two kind of differences: a) differences in availability of commands and environments b) differences in the default settings. Only the latter may be changed easily using options and commands.

Differences with regard to available commands and environments:

book and report feature the \chapter sectioning command, while article doesn't.

In book and report , \appendix will cause \chapter s to be typeset as "Appendix X" instead of "Chapter X". For article , this isn't applicable.

book and report will start a new page for \part s , while article won't.

book offers the \frontmatter , \mainmatter , and \backmatter commands to control page numbering ( Roman for the front matter, arabic elsewhere) and numbering of sectioning titles (no numbering in the front and back matter), while report and article don't.

book doesn't offer the abstract environment, while report and article do .

Differences with regard to default settings:

The book class uses the twoside class option (which means different margins and headers/footers for even and odd pages), while report and article use oneside .

book uses openright (new parts and chapters start on "right" pages, adding a blank page before if necessary), while report uses openany . (Note that "right" means an odd page in twoside mode, but any page in oneside mode.) For article , the distinction between openright and openany isn't applicable.

book uses the headings pagestyle for non-chapter-starting pages, while report and article always use plain .

book and report use titlepage (the title page and -- if applicable -- the abstract environment will be typeset on pages of their own), while article uses notitlepage .

For book and report , the lowest-level sectioning command which is numbered and incorporated into the table of contents is \subsection , while for article it is \subsubsection .

book and report will use the arguments of \chapter s and \section s for running headings (if such headings are present), while article will use \section s and \subsection s.

book and report will number floats (figures, tables etc.), equations, and footnotes per chapter, while article will number them continuously. Note that footnotes -- even when numbered per chapter -- do not feature a chapter prefix.

book and report will use \bibname (which defaults to "Bibliography") for the heading of bibliographic references, while article will use \refname (which defaults to "References").

All of the above is valid for scrbook v. scrreprt vs. scrartcl as well.

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because LaTeX matters

\documentclass{book, report, article or letter}.

A LaTeX document starts with the command \documentclass [option] {type} . The most common document-classes in LaTex are:

All of them are similar, except letter. The main differences can be summerised as follows:

Available document structure commands:

Book: \part{}, \chapter{}, \section{}, \subsection{}, \subsubsection{}, \paragraph{}, \subparagraph{} .

Report: \part{}, \chapter{}, \section{}, \subsection{}, \subsubsection{}, \paragraph{}, \subparagraph{} .

Article: \part{}, \section{}, \subsection{}, \subsubsection{}, \paragraph{}, \subparagraph{} .

Letter: A letter does not know the same structuring commands as other formats, but more specific commands like \signature{}, \address{}, \opening{} and \closing{} .

Except \part{} , all structuring commands build a hierarchy. They have a standard formating and numeration.

Other less common document-classes:

You can always change the standard document types, by adapting the *.cls-file to your needs.

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LaTeX/Document Structure

The main point of writing a text is to convey ideas, information, or knowledge to the reader. The reader will understand the text better if these ideas are well-structured, and will see and feel this structure much better if the typographical form reflects the logical and semantic structure of the content.

Given only the logical and semantical structure of a text, LaTeX derives the typographical form of the text according to the “rules” given in the document class file and in various style files. LaTeX allows users to structure their documents with a variety of hierarchical constructs, including chapters, sections, subsections and paragraphs.

Global structure [ edit | edit source ]

When LaTeX processes an input file, it expects it to follow a certain structure. Thus every input file must contain the commands

The area between \documentclass { ... } and \begin { document } is called the preamble . It normally contains commands that affect the entire document.

After the preamble, the text of your document is enclosed between two commands which identify the beginning and end of the actual document:

You would put your text where the dots are. The reason for marking off the beginning of your text is that LaTeX allows you to insert extra setup specifications before it (where the blank line is in the example above: we'll be using this soon). The reason for marking off the end of your text is to provide a place for LaTeX to be programmed to do extra stuff automatically at the end of the document, like making an index.

A useful side-effect of marking the end of the document text is that you can store comments or temporary text underneath the \end { document } in the knowledge that LaTeX will never try to typeset them:

Preamble [ edit | edit source ]

Document classes [ edit | edit source ].

When processing an input file, LaTeX needs to know which layout standard to use. Layouts standards are contained within 'class files' which have .cls as their filename extension.

Here, the class parameter for the command \documentclass specifies the .cls file to use for the document. It is recommended to put this declaration at the very beginning. The LaTeX distribution provides additional classes for other layouts, including letters and slides. It is also possible to create your own, as is often done by journal publishers, who simply provide you with their own class file, which tells LaTeX how to format your content. But we'll be happy with the standard article class for now. The options parameter customizes the behavior of the document class. The options have to be separated by commas.

Example: an input file for a LaTeX document could start with the line

which instructs LaTeX to typeset the document as an article with a base font size of 11 points, and to produce a layout suitable for double sided printing on A4 paper.

Here are some document classes that can be used with LaTeX:

Here is a comprehensive list of document classes .

The generic document classes that come with LaTeX offer some layout flexibility, which is why they have a lot of options in common. Non-generic classes (those provided by university departments or publication houses) may have different options than those shown below or no options at all. Normally, third-party classes come with their own documentation. The most common options for the generic document classes are listed in the following table:

For example, if you want a report to be in 12pt type on A4, but printed one-sided in draft mode, you would use:

Packages [ edit | edit source ]

While writing your document, you will probably find that there are some areas where basic LaTeX cannot solve your problem. If you want to include graphics, colored text or source code from a file into your document, you need to enhance the capabilities of LaTeX. Such enhancements are called packages. Some packages come with the LaTeX base distribution. Others are provided separately. Modern TeX distributions come with a large number of packages pre-installed. The command to use a package is pretty simple: \usepackage :

command, where package is the name of the package and options is a list of keywords that trigger special features in the package. For example, to use the color package, which lets you typeset in colors, you would type:

You can pass several options to a package, each separated by a comma.

The document environment [ edit | edit source ]

Top matter [ edit | edit source ].

At the beginning of most documents there will be information about the document itself, such as the title and date, and also information about the authors, such as name, address, email etc. All of this type of information within LaTeX is collectively referred to as top matter . Although never explicitly specified (there is no \topmatter command) you are likely to encounter the term within LaTeX documentation.

A simple example:

The \title , \author , and \date commands are self-explanatory. You put the title, author name, and date in curly braces after the relevant command. The title and author are usually compulsory (at least if you want LaTeX to write the title automatically); if you omit the \date command, LaTeX uses today's date by default. You always finish the top matter with the \maketitle command, which tells LaTeX that it's complete and it can typeset the title according to the information you have provided and the class (style) you are using. If you omit \maketitle , the title will never be typeset.

Using this approach, you can only create a title with a fixed layout. If you want to create your title freely, see the Title Creation section. You should remember, however, that the goal of LaTeX is to leave formatting to the documentclass designer, and if you wish to submit your work to multiple publishers then you should avoid designing a custom title.

Abstract [ edit | edit source ]

As most research papers have an abstract, there are predefined commands for telling LaTeX which part of the content makes up the abstract. This should appear in its logical order, therefore, after the top matter, but before the main sections of the body. This command is available for the document classes article and report , but not book .

By default, LaTeX will use the word "Abstract" as a title for your abstract. If you want to change it into anything else, e.g. "Executive Summary", add the following line before you begin the abstract environment:

Sectioning commands [ edit | edit source ]

The commands for inserting sections are fairly intuitive. Of course, certain commands are appropriate to different document classes. For example, a book has chapters but an article doesn't. Here are some of the structure commands found in simple.tex .

Notice that you do not need to specify section numbers; LaTeX will sort that out for you. Also, for sections, you do not need to use \begin and \end commands to indicate which content belongs to a given block.

LaTeX provides 7 levels of depth for defining sections (see table below). Each section in this table is a subsection of the one above it.

All the titles of the sections are added automatically to the table of contents (if you decide to insert one). But if you make manual styling changes to your heading, for example a very long title, or some special line-breaks or unusual font-play, this would appear in the Table of Contents as well, which you almost certainly don't want. LaTeX allows you to give an optional extra version of the heading text which only gets used in the Table of Contents and any running heads, if they are in effect. This optional alternative heading goes in [square brackets] before the curly braces:

Section numbering [ edit | edit source ]

Numbering of the sections is performed automatically by LaTeX, so don't bother adding them explicitly, just insert the heading you want between the curly braces. Parts get roman numerals (Part I, Part II, etc.); chapters and sections get decimal numbering like this document, and appendices (which are just a special case of chapters, and share the same structure) are lettered (A, B, C, etc.).

You can change the depth to which section numbering occurs, so you can turn it off selectively. By default it is set to 3. If you only want parts, chapters, and sections numbered, not subsections or subsubsections etc., you can change the value of the secnumdepth counter using the \setcounter command, giving the depth level you wish. For example, if you want to change it to "1":

A related counter is tocdepth , which specifies what depth to take the Table of Contents to. It can be reset in exactly the same way as secnumdepth . For example:

To get an unnumbered section heading which does not go into the Table of Contents, follow the command name with an asterisk before the opening curly brace:

All the divisional commands from \part* to \subparagraph* have this "starred" version which can be used on special occasions for an unnumbered heading when the setting of secnumdepth would normally mean it would be numbered.

If you want the unnumbered section to be in the table of contents anyway, use package unnumberedtotoc [1] . It provides the command

which will take care of a proper header as well. \addpart and \addchap are also available. KOMA classes provide those commands by default.

If you don't want to use package unnumberedtotoc, you have to do everything by hand using \addcontentsline and \markright{} (or even \markboth{}{} ).

Note that if you use PDF bookmarks you will need to add a phantom section so that hyperlinks will lead to the correct place in the document. The \phantomsection command is defined in the hyperref package, and is Commonly used like this:

For chapters you will also need to clear the page (this will also correct page numbering in the ToC):

Section number style [ edit | edit source ]

See Counters .

Ordinary paragraphs [ edit | edit source ]

Paragraphs of text come after section headings. Simply type the text and leave a blank line between paragraphs. The blank line means "start a new paragraph here": it does not mean you get a blank line in the typeset output. For formatting paragraph indents and spacing between paragraphs, refer to the Paragraph Formatting section.

Table of contents [ edit | edit source ]

All auto-numbered headings get entered in the Table of Contents (ToC) automatically. You don't have to print a ToC, but if you want to, just add the command \tableofcontents at the point where you want it printed (usually after the Abstract or Summary).

Entries for the ToC are recorded each time you process your document, and reproduced the next time you process it, so you need to re-run LaTeX one extra time to ensure that all ToC pagenumber references are correctly calculated. We've already seen how to use the optional argument to the sectioning commands to add text to the ToC which is slightly different from the one printed in the body of the document. It is also possible to add extra lines to the ToC, to force extra or unnumbered section headings to be included.

The commands \listoffigures and \listoftables work in exactly the same way as \tableofcontents to automatically list all your tables and figures. If you use them, they normally go after the \tableofcontents command. The \tableofcontents command normally shows only numbered section headings, and only down to the level defined by the tocdepth counter, but you can add extra entries with the \addcontentsline command. For example if you use an unnumbered section heading command to start a preliminary piece of text like a Foreword or Preface, you can write:

This will format an unnumbered ToC entry for "Preface" in the "subsection" style. You can use the same mechanism to add lines to the List of Figures or List of Tables by substituting lof or lot for toc . If the hyperref package is used and the link does not point to the correct chapter, the command \phantomsection in combination with \clearpage or \cleardoublepage can be used (see also Labels and Cross-referencing ):

To change the title of the ToC, you have to paste this command \renewcommand { \contentsname }{ <New table of contents title> } in your document preamble. The List of Figures (LoF) and List of Tables (LoT) names can be changed by replacing the \contentsname with \listfigurename for LoF and \listtablename for LoT.

Depth [ edit | edit source ]

The default ToC will list headings of level 3 and above. To change how deep the table of contents displays automatically the following command can be used in the preamble:

This will make the table of contents include everything down to paragraphs. The levels are defined above on this page. Note that this solution does not permit changing the depth dynamically.

You can change the depth of specific section type, which could be useful for PDF bookmarks (if you are using the hyperref package) :

In order to further tune the display or the numbering of the table of contents, for instance if the appendix should be less detailed, you can make use of the tocvsec2 package ( CTAN , doc ).

Book structure [ edit | edit source ]

The standard LaTeX book class follows the same layout described above with some additions. By default a book will be two-sided, i.e. left and right margins will change according to the page number parity. Furthermore current chapter and section will be printed in the header.

If you do not make use of chapters, it is barely useful to use the book class.

Additionally the class provides macros to change the formatting of some places of the document. We will give you some advice on how to use them properly. [2]

Only use the \appendix macro once for all appendices.

As a general rule you should avoid mixing the command order. Nonetheless all commands are optional, so you might consider using only a few.

Note that the special content like the table of contents is considered as an unnumbered chapter.

Page order [ edit | edit source ]

This is one traditional page order for books.

Special pages [ edit | edit source ]

Comprehensive papers often feature special pages at the end, like indices, glossaries and bibliographies. Since this is quite a complex topic, we will give you details in the dedicated part Special Pages .

Bibliography [ edit | edit source ]

Any good research paper will have a complete list of references. LaTeX has two ways of inserting your references into a document:

To learn how to add a bibliography to your document, see the Bibliography Management section.

Notes and references [ edit | edit source ]

book vs report latex

Further reading

Overleaf guides

LaTeX Basics


Figures and tables

References and Citations

Document structure


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Advanced TeX/LaTeX

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Your guide to documentclass latex: types and options, what is documentclass latex.

Every LaTeX document starts with a \begin{document} command and ends with an \end{document} command. LaTeX ignores anything that follows the \end{document}. The part of the source code file that precedes the \begin{document} declaration is called the preamble .

The first command of the preamble has to be \docummentclass (although technically it can be preceded with prepended files). This command takes a single mandatory argument that is one of the predefined classes of document that LaTeX has built-in. In this tutorial, we are going to explain and see the differences and similarities of these document classes , and what should each one be used for. We will also talk about the multiple optional arguments that the \documentclass command takes, and that can be used to customize the appearance of our document .

There are also third-party document classes that are written and distributed as external packages. Some of these classes, like beamer to make presentations and memoir to extend the functionalities of the book class , are very popular and useful, but we won’t cover them here, since they are much more sophisticated and complex than the predefined classes.

LaTeX document classes and their use

The document classes available in plain LaTeX are reported in the following table:

LaTeX book class

In typographical standards, books differ from reports mainly in their front and back matter. The front matter of a book usually includes:

It may also contain:

The back matter usually includes an index and may contain an afterword, also acknowledgments, a bibliography, a colophon, and so on.

The book document class provides some commands to produce the logical structures previously discussed, that the report class isn’t able to deal with by default . However, it does not try to yield tools to all of them. Individual publishers usually have their own packages with additional commands to typeset the structures according to their manual of style.

Front matter, main matter and back matter commands

The front matter, main matter (which contains the main body of the book, starting at the first chapter or part and ending at the appendices), and back matter are begun with the three commands \frontmatter, \mainmatter, and \backmatter, respectively.

In the standard book class, front matter pages are numbered with roman numerals; main and back matter pages are numbered with arabic numerals.
In the front and back matter, the \chapter command does not produce a chapter number, but it does make a table of contents entry; this can be used, for example, to produce a preface or acknowledgments section. Inside these kind of chapters, only the starred versions of other sectioning commands (mainly \section* and \subsection*) should be used.

Illustrative example of Book class

For example, this could be a standard book structure:

You can see the table of contents produced by the previous book in Figure 1. Observe how the numbering of the pages and the sectioning commands change according to the part of the book we are in.

book document class in LaTeX

Odd and even pages in Book class

When printing books, odd and even pages are not structured in the same way. Margins, and usually also headers and footers, change to provide better readability when the book is bound. This is taken into account in the book document class, where you will see that:

No built-in abstract

There is one more difference between the book class and the article and report classes : it doesn’t have a built-in abstract environment .

This environment is used in academic articles, and also reports, to give a brief description of the contents that will be treated along with the document. It is customary for this introduction to have special typesetting, with “Abstract” written in bold over it, and also it is common to find it printed just after the title and before the table of contents. As said, this environment is not implemented in the book document class.

Memoir class

It is worth mentioning here that there is a popular extension of the book document class, called memoir, written by Peter Wilson.

This package aims to integrate multiple design-related packages with the LaTeX book class. It provides:

Opens in a new tab.

LaTeX letter class

As with the slide document class, the letter is slightly old-fashioned. This class is used to make traditional letters, the ones that are put in an envelope and mailed, a somewhat obsolete way of communication (since the email was invented and generalized) but still used in certain official matters. Although the class was designed for traditional letters, still today there are certain documents that have the structure of a letter such as:

and for which this document class may be useful. So let’s briefly discuss the details that characterize this particular document class!

With it, you can make any number of letters with a single input file:

These declarations are usually put in the preamble because they are common to all letters, but they are normal declarations with the customary scoping rules and can appear anywhere in the document. In particular, this means that you can change the return address and signature at any point.

Each letter is produced by a separate letter environment, having the name and address of the recipient as its mandatory argument.

These may seem a lot of commands, but they are all very easy to use, and also very powerful since LaTeX automatically will take care of the formatting of the letter, without you having to worry about it at all.

In case you are not convinced yet, let me show you a clarifying example where all the commands are put into practice so that you can use it as a template for your letters:

You can see the letter generated in Figure 2. Note how LaTeX automatically formates everything, and even inserts the current date without you asking for it. I find generating letters with LaTeX easier than doing it by hand!

letter document class in LaTeX

We said that the date on the letters is automatically inserted by LaTeX and that it uses today’s date. We can, however, change this behavior by redefining the \today command, which is where LaTeX saves the name of the day. For example:

\renewcommand{\today}{12th of October of 1492}

will make \today print the content “12th of October of 1492”. This declaration can either be used on the preamble, to affect all letters or inside a certain letter environment, to only affect that letter.

documentclass latex options

As was stated in the introduction, there are some optional arguments that can be passed to the \documentclass command. Here we are going to explain these options:

The options 10pt, 11pt, and 12pt choose the normal type size of the document. The default value is 10pt. This option is not recognized by the slides class.

The paper size can be selected between the following options:

By default, the paper size is letterpaper.

The landscape option causes the output to be formatted for landscape printing on the selected paper size. Effectively, this option interchanges the width and the height dimensions of the paper size.

If TeX has trouble finding good places to break lines, it can produce lines that extend past the right margin (which produce the output warnings called “overfull hboxes”). The draft option causes such lines to be marked by black boxes in the output. The final option, which does not mark these lines, is the default.

Two sides printing

The oneside and twoside options format the output to be printed on one side or both sides of a page, respectively. The default is oneside, except for the book class, for which it is twoside. However, the twoside option is not available with the slides document class.

Opening page of chapters

If the openright option is used, then all chapters will begin on a right-hand page. Instead, with the openany option you can make them start on any page. These options apply only to the report class (whose default is openany) and the book class (whose default is openright).

Two column pages

The option twocolumn specifies two-column pages. The default is onecolumn, for one-column pages. The twocolumn option cannot be used with the letter or slides classes.

Page for the title

The titlepage option causes the \maketitle command to make a separate title page and the abstract environment to put the abstract on a separate page. The default is titlepage for all classes except article, for which it is notitlepage. hese options, however, are not recognized by the letter class.

Open bibliography style

openbib causes the bibliography to be formatted in an open style. This option is not recognized by the letter and slides classes.

Numbered formulas

The option leqno puts formula numbers on the left side, instead of the right, which is the default.

Formulas alignment

The option fleqn left-aligns formulas, which by default are centered.

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  1. Regarding the `book`, `report`, and `article` document

    The book class uses the twoside class option (which means different margins and headers/footers for even and odd pages), while report and article use oneside. book uses openright (new parts and chapters start on "right" pages, adding a blank page before if necessary), while report uses openany.

  2. \documentclass{book, report, article or letter}

    In a “book”, a header is automatically added to each page indicating the page number as well as the chapter name on even pages and the section name on odd pages A “book” is always 2-sided whereas in a “report” or “article” you have to specify it by using the “twoside” option.

  3. Single sided and double sided documents

    LaTeX is shipped with a number of “standard” classes which can be used for creating different types of document, including: article, book, report, letter, slides and proc (for conference proceedings). LaTeX also provides the minimal class for debugging purposes or as a basis for writing your own class file.

  4. Standard Document Classes for LaTeX version 2e

    the report class is no; for the book class it’s yes. 7 !article ewif\[email protected] \[email protected] The switch \[email protected], only available in the document class book, indicates whether we are processing the main material in the book. 8 book ewif\[email protected] \@mainmattertrue 3

  5. Your Guide to documentclass LaTeX: Types and options

    There is one more difference between the book class and the article and report classes: it doesn’t have a built-in abstract environment. This environment is used in academic articles, and also reports, to give a brief description of the contents that will be treated along with the document.