Using XeLaTeX

According to the Stats plugin which I use on this weblog the search term ‘memoir latex’ is the third most popular search term for my weblog. That, and considering that I’ve got something new to discuss, warrants another blog post on the topic. In my previous post on the subject I gave a paper for Research Seminar 2 as an example. That paper received an inadequate grade and I had to correct it. I have done so succesfully, and while I was working on it I also decided to use XeLaTeX for the improved version of the paper. The PDF document can be found here and it’s source here.

The important change in the improved version of the paper is the use of XeTeX, which is used in LaTeX through the xelatex command. If I’m correct all you need on Ubuntu is the texlive-xetex package. In summary the advantages of XeTeX are that you can very easily use fonts already installed on the system, that you can input Unicode in the source file and the advanced typography features which should result in better looking documents. The ability to use system fonts is very useful, because the ‘old’ method of packaging a font for LaTeX is beyond my comprehension. In the Dutch language the double dot and other diacretical marks are not uncommon, so it’s very useful to be able to input them in a LaTeX document without having to use the special LaTeX ways to get them to show up. I’m not sure if my new document using XeTeX is looking much better than the old one, but I haven’t explored all the options you can give to XeTeX which might improve the result. I’ll have to think about that in the future, possibly that’s food for a new blog post. I like XeTeX and I’m using it for all my LaTeX documents from now on.

The old paper used the Bitstream Charter font, the improved version uses Gentium. Charter was okay, but I think I like Gentium slightly more. Apparently Linux Libertine seems to be a good choice too. The last two fonts can be pulled in by apt-getting the ttf-sil-gentium, ttf-sil-gentium-basic and ttf-linux-libertine on Ubuntu.

Concerning the Memoir class and other things, for my next paper I want to make a better title page, because the current one doesn’t look exciting enough. I’ll also want to use a different section style, because the current section headings are a bit too prominent for me. I’d like to see the numbers of the sections outside of the left margin, just like the chapter style. I the previous post I mentioned that I needed to make a custom citation style for the biblatex package to make it conform to the guidelines for literature references given by the faculty of History of my university. However, the person who graded my paper didn’t seem to care, because one of the stock citation styles which comes with biblatex resembles the guidelines very closely. That’s fortunate, because designing a custom citation style for biblatex is still rocket science for me.

1 thought on “Using XeLaTeX”

  1. Pingback: My bachelor’s thesis, produced with XeLaTeX « Information Overload

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