Registering for the DANTE autumn meeting 2015

At you can now register to the autumn meeting 2015 of DANTE e.V. It takes place on September 5th at the TU Graz. Besides the member’s meeting and the program with talks, there will be an evening gathering the day before, and a tourist program afterwards. Early registering is extremely helpful for the organizers!

The meeting is also open for TeX friends who are not member of DANTE e.V. Participation at the meeting and at the talks is free.

I registered already, and I will fly Sep 4 from Hamburg to Graz and Sep 6 back. If anybody likes to join me, send me an email: I can get up to 2 cheaper tickets for travelling partners, because I work at the airline.

All information regarding place, travel information, and program can be found here.

15. August 2015 by stefan
Categories: Conferences, DANTE, Events | Leave a comment

TUG 2015

I am currently attending the TUG 2015. I met a lot of great people here.

I posted daily reports on

Maybe I will add some rather personal thoughts here too.

21. July 2015 by stefan
Categories: Conferences, Events, TeX User Group | Leave a comment

TeX Live 2015 pretest is running

The TeX Live mailing list shows increasing traffic: the TeX Live 2015 pretest version is available, and many users already downloaded and tested it.

It contains the LaTeX2e 2015 release, which brought a notable change: the fixes, which were previously available by explicitly loading the fixltx2e package, are now enabled by default. You still can revert to the old behavior: the new latex release package enables you to switch on backwards compatibility to a chosen release date. A small but useful improvement is a new float storage allocation mechanism. By default, LaTeX could handle 18 floats at a time, a higher number would cause an error. Now, you can say \extrafloats{600} to allow 600 more. Under the hood, it improved the support for Unicode engines, and the release uses a new build system.

pdfTeX now supports EXIF metadata in JPEG files.

The shell script fmtutil has been reimplemented in Perl. Now it works with multiple formats at once, and it’s better customizable.

If you would like to download and to test it, note that it’s not yet stable so you may see errors. However, that’s what the test phase is for: you can try it out and report errors or possible improvements to the TeX Live team.

For more information, visit the TeX Live pretest page.

15. April 2015 by stefan
Categories: LaTeX Distributions, LaTeX General, TeX Live | 1 comment

LaTeX Beginner’s Guide available for download today

In agreement with Packt Publishing, I can provide the „LaTeX Beginner’s Guide“ as an ebook for free, only today, March 4, 2015.

For further information and updates and background production story you can visit: LaTeX Community forum announcement.

This is a special thanks to all LaTeX supporters for helping in forums and Q&A sites and personally. I know, our experienced LaTeX supporters don’t need this book, but feel free to get it for curiosity. Your download will prove interest to the publisher, so I could offer them a revised updated edition.

Our LaTeX friends, who may be new in this topic, may benefit. And I thank all for their questions in online forums, because they would not exist without you!

Download LaTeX Beginner's Guide

More details, including table of contents and sample chapter: Publisher’s LaTeX book page.

Tell your friends to download a free copy. :-)

We are always happy to welcome LaTeX friends in the LaTeX Community forum, so it would be great if you would join us in the forum. I will answer any question to the book’s contents there. Experts: our forum also needs your help, perhaps have a look at the unanswered questions. Are you able to answer one, even if it’s older? Orginal poster and later readers would be happy!

04. March 2015 by stefan
Categories: Events, LaTeX General | 1 comment

TUG 2015 Details

These days, the TUG announced details of the upcoming meeting. You can read all here:

This 36th annual meeting will take place July 20 – 22 in Darmstadt, Germany. It’s about 30 kilometers away from Frankfurt, so I plan to fly from Hamburg, where I live, to Frankfurt, then take the direct bus connection. Since I’m an employee of the Lufthansa airline, I’ll take a standby ticket for a nice rate.

Apropos rate: students can register for 75 Euro (TUG member normal price: 260 Euro) And great news: DANTE members can get 50 Euro discount! More details on the above linked web page.


01. March 2015 by stefan
Categories: Conferences, Events, TeX User Group | Leave a comment got a new interface

Today, shines in new splendor.

It’s a project of Paulo Cereda and me. While I maintain the web server and the TeX installation, he contributes layout and programming for the interface. Today Paulo provided a completely new version. Together we tested and adjusted the code. What was developed on his Fedora laptop, now runs on the Debian web server, adaption went like a clockwork while skyping.

Now, TeXdoc runs on the dwoo PHP5 template engine. Something new for me after OSQA, Django, Joomla, WordPress, phpBBx, having Drupal still on the list.

What is it all about? Well, provides an interface to the current TeX documentation, understanding search keywords but also allowing topic browsing. It bases on the texdoc and texdoctk scripts which belong to a TeX Live installation. Via the server, you an access current manuals without having the newest installation or using an tablet like an iPad or a smartphone.

The main motivation was to provide a generic shortcut for web forums. By highlighting a package name, and clicking a button, you can generate a link to the package documentation. Handy while talking. It is integrated for example on, and by buttons and markup code but used anywhere people know the link syntax.

Finally, its OpenSearch feature integrates with the quick-search field in browsers such as Firefox.






11. February 2015 by stefan
Categories: Events, Online Ressources, Tools for LaTeX | Leave a comment

Matheplanet Award

These days, the voting phase of the Matheplanet Member Award ended. Among the 15 categories, there’s an award for the best LaTeX advisor.

Continue Reading →

27. January 2015 by stefan
Categories: Events, Mathematics, Online Ressources | Leave a comment

News from goLaTeX

The web site and forum moved to a new server, which is maintained by me. Johannes already wrote about it on (Neuigkeiten bei goLaTeX), and I posted the news here: Server-Umzug.

The appearance stays the same but with improvements:
Continue Reading →

19. January 2015 by stefan
Categories: Events, Online Ressources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

writeLaTeX is now Overleaf

The company behind the collaborative writing and publishing system, Writelatex Limited, decided to rebrand. From now on, the system will carry the name Overleaf.

It continues as a free service with additional advanced features for paid subscriptions. Existing projects, files and links will remain fully accessible, even though a major upgrade is planned for 2015. We can expect faster rendering and higher quality of the real-time preview.

Changing the name is often a challenge. They chose a rather quite time of the year, so it won’t affect users much. More of a risk may be dropping a popular name and needing to establish a new brand, but the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Specifically, the rich text mode may hide to occasional co-authors that there’s LaTeX under the hood: like in LyX there’s a WYSIWYM mode which makes editing possible for users without LaTeX knowledge. So it’s just consequent to omit LaTeX also in the service name.

You can read the official announcement here: WriteLaTeX is continued Overleaf.

26. December 2014 by stefan
Categories: Online Ressources | Leave a comment

PGFPlots 1.11 released

Christian Feuersänger released version 1.11 of PGFPlots. It’s already one week ago, but regarding this special package that news is important for me, so I share it also here. Furthermore, there are news about the future development.

Parametric Breather Pseudospherical SurfaceI would live to highlight two of the new features. Now you can use radian in arguments for trigonometric functions, besides degree. Before, we could convert radian to degree using the deg() function, such as by sin(deg(x)), if x wasn’t given in degree. So the input of complex trigonometric expressions can be simplified. You just need to specify trig format plots=rad once as an option.

The code for the picture on the right shows “before and after”, in the answer by Christian on TeXwelt to the question, if you can switch from degree to radian with PGFPlots together with the announcement of the upcoming feature.

Or let’s have a look how it’s applied in a small example – here I plotted a spherical harmonics map (used in quantum mechanics), originally requested by Henri in PSTricks:

Spherical Harmonics

\pgfplotsset{trig format plots=rad, compat=1.11}
  \begin{axis}[colormap/violet, hide axis]
      domain     = 0:pi,
      domain y   = 0:2*pi,
      samples    = 50,
      samples y  = 70,
      z buffer   = sort
    ( {sin(x)*cos(y)*(sqrt(3/(4*pi))*sin(x)*cos(y))^2},
      {cos(x)*(sqrt(3/(4*pi))*sin(x)*cos(y))^2} );

NormalverteilungFurthermore, adding custom annotations became simpler. Until now, you could refer to the coordinate system using the axis cs:syntax, for drawing additional lines, arrows, labels or annotations. In contrast to low level pgf/TikZ coordinates, axis cs applies logarithms, data scaling and custom transformations, so that should be choosen. Now, that’s implicitly done. For example, it could look like Elke’s filled area below a normal distribution:

\draw [dotted] (axis cs:2.698,-4) -- (axis cs:2.698,4.5);
\node at (axis cs:0,1.4) [anchor=east, rotate=90] {50\,\%};

With the new version it can be simplified to

\draw [dotted] (2.698,-4) -- (2.698,4.5);
\node at (0,1.4) [anchor=east, rotate=90] {50\,\%};

So less writing work and easier to read, especially if i’s used many times, such as in Elke’s plot.

That small update fixed also several bugs. With my frequent usage I stumbled only across one of them, which as now been fixed (too much whitespace with the units library under certain circumstances – i.e. bounding box too big). The README file provides further information.

Regarding the future development: in a comment to zu a question about rotation transformation with PGFPlots Christian announced, that current development of PGFPlots focuses on scalability and performance, motivated by the many 3d surface plots on TeXwelt. He already finished a prototype version, which can double the speed. This version bases on a Lua backend. I look forward to this development, since I frequently generate complex plots and compile a lot of times, until viewing angle, sampling rate, coloring and further options result in the best possible visualization.

You can use your package manager for updating PGFPlots, alternatively you can download the new version from SourceForge or from CTAN.

15. August 2014 by stefan
Categories: Graphics, News, pgf/TikZ | Leave a comment

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