biblatex manual [was: Can I make a document that looks like this?]

Robin wrote:

and I really like the clean modern look to the class/style - I
haven't seen anything like that in latex before. Unfortunately I
couldn't find the source in the package so I was wondering if anyone
knew what was used here or how I could recreate this or a similar

I get similar inquiries on a more or less regular basis so here are
some general hints for the record. I'm using this style for other
packages as well. You will find sources here:

but that won't teach you much except that I like to move class and
package configuration code to external files as much as possible ;)

Essentially, latexdoc.cls is a simple wrapper class which loads a very
flexible backend class plus latexdoc.sty and sets up the fonts etc.
The backend class has also been used to typeset this manual:

I've been planning to release this class for years but truth be said,
it's just not going to happen. I simply don't find the time to write
another manual with those 150 pages of instructions it would take to
document a class comparable in complexity to memoir. In fact, it's
very similar in concept to memoir so there's no pressing need to
release it because memoir is readily available and extremely well

I do plan to release latexdoc.sty one of these days but that's not
what most people inquire about. All latexdoc.sty does is to provide
class-independent facilities like the ltxsyntax, changelog,
ltxexample etc. environments as well as markup commands such as
\ltxcmd, \ltxenv. However, most inquiries I get are concerned with
things like fonts, headings, and so on which are handled by the
backend class.

If you like the style of the package manuals, I recommend starting
with a configurable class such as memoir or scrbook & friends (from
the KOMA-script bundle). Except for a few finicky features related to
footnote/endnote formatting, special TOC layouts, and PDF hyperlinks,
there's nothing in that class which you couldn't do with memoir or
scrartcl/scrbook. For example, the section heading setup involves
code such as this:


As you can see, there is no magic involved. You simply need a class
which supports configurable headings or article/book.cls plus the
section heading packages mentioned by Dan. The rest is standard LaTeX
(font switching) or based on core LaTeX packages (color.sty).

I'd browse the memoir manual and the KOMA manual and settle on one of
these classes. That's much easier than using one of the standard
LaTeX classes plus half a dozen add-on packages. You get a consistent
user interface and all the instructions are in a single manual.

Both memoir and the KOMA classes are full-featured, flexible,
well-maintained, and extensively documented. My impression is that
memoir is a bit more flexible whereas the latest KOMA classes have a
cleaner user interface. Note that memoir mimics book.cls by default so
you need to configure a lot if you want a different style.

scrartcl/scrbook provide a more 'modern' look by default (sans serif
headings with tighter spacing being the most noticeable difference).
If that's closer to what you want, you may get started faster with
the KOMA classes. I'm pretty sure that everything you can do with
scrartcl/scrbook could also be done with memoir, though. Go with the
class you like better. You won't go wrong either way.

Here are a few more hints:

* The fonts used in the package manuals are, for the body text,
Bitstream Charter with SC/OsF extensions; for the headings, Adobe
Frutiger; for inline verbatim, Latin Modern Typewriter; for display
verbatim, Bistream Letter Gothic. Except for Computer/Latin Modern TT,
these fonts are commercial.

The base set of Charter is available from CTAN for free. Frutiger
could be replaced by a Helvetica clone (helvet.sty). I don't know of
any free font similar to Letter Gothic but if you want something
different from Computer/Latin Modern TT, check out Luxi Mono on CTAN
for a change.

* The spot color is RGB 0/50/152 (#003298 in HTML notation).

* For two column text, use multicol.sty.

* For clean table layouts, use tabularx.sty with booktabs.sty.
See also:

The tutorial is in German but you can still learn a lot from looking
at the examples and code snippets. This is a must-read!

* For code listings, use listings.sty.

I think that's it.

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