Four LaTeX Mistakes

From the excellent TeX Tips twitter feed I got a pointer to a useful article from John Cook. The article is about the top 4 LaTeX mistakes that Cook, a practicing mathematician, sees in books and articles. You might think that these would be esoteric fine points about typesetting but they’re actually elementary things that every \TeX and \LaTeX user should know.

The one I liked the most was the second that concerns adding a thin space before a differential. I always do this because it does look better but it never occurred to me why that is. Cook explains it simply in an “aha! moment” for me: the differential, dx say, is a single unit so you want to set it apart a bit so it doesn’t look like the product, in this case, of d and x. Notice how much better

\int x \, dx looks than \int x dx does. This is actually the most technical of the errors Cook describes. The others are really elementary.

If you’re a \TeX or \LaTeX user, even if you’re merely embedding it in an Org file, be sure to give Cook’s article a read. You definitely don’t want to be making any of the mistakes he describes.

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