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Recomended Packages

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The document files are palaced on the doc folder of texmf tree. Recomend to see following documents:
The document of package are placed inside of  folder with name of package, in doc\generic or doc\latex, depending the package are of generic Tex package or LaTex specific one. Some package documents will not compiled. If document files is not found (for example, only readme file are on package document folder), see the folder with same name of package, inside of source or source\latex. Norrmally this folder contain source files (dtx and ins) for style and document of package. Copy dtx and ins file to temporary folder and execute latex as
c:\temp>latex [dtx file name with extensin]
When document use grossary or like, will require more calling of above, in way to solve cross reference problem. Note that the extensin is required because extensionless file are assumed as tex (processing ins file in similar manner, will generate package file such as sty file).

The general documents for LaTeX are found on http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info/, http://www.tug.org/, and http://www.latex-project.org/.

Intalling the package on TDS compliant systems

To install package on TDS (TeX directory Structure) compliant TeX systems without apropriate instalation script, you need to put each files in the correct place. If the package becomes with dtx file and insfile, need to process using latex in the command line:
c:\temp>latex [dtx file with extensin]
c:\temp>latex [ins file with extension]
Will be necessary to execute LaTex command more that one times fordtxfile to solve cross reference problem. Note that extension are required because the file extensions are not the tex. Thedtxfile produce package document file and ins file produce package files such as style file.
  1. If package are for LaTex only, create the folder with package name inside of tex\latex and copy the the style and support file (sty, cls, clo, cfg, def). Copy fd (Font Definition) file if exist.
  2. If package are for Tex or Tex and LaTex, create folder with package name inside tex\generic and copy Tex support file (tex, but check the file first because document file will be tex too) and LaTex style and support file (sty, cls, clo, cfg, def). Copy fd (Font Definition) file if present.
  3. Create folder with package name inside of doc\generic or doc\latex according to place of Tex support file or/and LaTex style support files are inside of tex\generic or tex\latex. Copy the document files (doc, inf, tex, dvi, pdf, ps, txt, etc).
  4. Create folder with package name inside of bibtex\bstand copy BibTex support files (bst).
  5. Create folder with package name inside dvips and copy dvips support file (pro.map).
  6. Create folder with package name inside of metapost and copy the Meta Post file (mp).
  7. Fonts: The fd (Font Definition) file are placed in the same folder as Tex support file (tex) and/ou LaTex style support files (sty, cls, clo, cfg, def). Other fonts file are placed in the folder with package name inside of corresponding font folders. Create theses folders and copy it:
    tfm (Tex Font Metric) -> fonts\tfm\public
    mf (Meta Font) -> fonts\source\public
    afm (Adobe Font Metric)->fonts\afm\public
    ofm (Omega font Metric) ->fonts\ofm\public
    vf (Virtual Fonts)->fonts\vf\public
    pfb (Post Script Fonts)-> fonts\type1\public
    ttf (True Type fonts)->fonts\truetype\public
    and so on.
  8. Are not recomended to install personal style files (sty, def, tex, etc) in the texmf tree. Put theses files in the  working folder (on the same folder of your tex files that use theses files) or on the folder pointed by envilonment variable TEXINPUTS.
For more details for file distribuiton on the texmf tree, see the tds (Tex Directory Structures) documentation (doc\tds).
Obs.: The user will install their own package, puting all required files into folder pointed by environment variable TEXINPUTS (it works for all systems).

Recomended Packages

The package of "base" or "required" category are included on all LaTex distributions. The package that are not "base" and "required" category will require separate instalations. Thus, when have several similar packages, opto for "base" or "required" category one.

Base classes:
article, book, report (book variant), letter, slides (printed transparences), proc (proceedings: variation of article), amsart (AMS article), amsbook (AMS book), amsproc (AMS proc).
Deveoper's classes: ltxdoc, ltxguide, ltnews, minimal, amsdtx (AMS ltxdoc).

Usefull packages

Are on "base" or "required" category:
Are not on "base" and "required" category:
For PDF document only.
Note: The hyperref are not on "base" and "required" category yet, but almost LaTeX distribution include this.

Usefull package family:
Presentation slides/transparence