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A ‘report’ from lots of ‘article’s

This is a requirement, for example, if one is preparing the proceedings of a conference whose papers were submitted in LaTeX.

The nearest things to canned solutions are Peter Wilson’s combine and Federico Garcia’s subfiles classes, but many approaches have been proposed. Each of of the offerings has its own advantages; in particular, several distinctly light-weight solutions (for example, includex and docmute) are available, well-suited to less formal documents.

Combine defines the means to ‘\import’ entire documents, and provides means of specifying significant features of the layout of the document, as well as a global table of contents, and so on. The complete set of facilities is pretty complex. An auxiliary package, combinet, allows use of the \titles and \authors (etc.) of the \imported documents to appear in the global table of contents. The basic structure of a combined document would be:

\documentclass[...]{combine}
...
\begin{document}
...
<introductory materiel>
...
\begin{papers}
% title and author of first article,
% to go the the main ToC
\coltoctitle{...}
\coltocauthor{...}
\label{art1}
\import{art1}
...
\end{papers}
...
<acknowledgements, etc.>
...
\end{document}

The subfiles class is used in the component files of a multi-file project, and the corresponding subfiles package is used in the master file; so the structure of the master file looks like:

\documentclass{<whatever>}
...
\usepackage{subfiles}
...
\begin{document}
...
\subfile{subfile_name}
...
\end{document}

while a subfile has the structure:

\documentclass[mainfile_name]{subfiles}
\begin{document}
...
\end{document}

Arrangements may be made so that the component files will be typeset using different page format, etc., parameters than those used when they are typeset as a part of the main file.

A more ‘raw’ toolkit is offered by Matt Swift’s includex and newclude packages, both part of the frankenstein bundle. Note that Matt believes includex is obsolete (though it continues to work for this author); furthermore, its replacement, newclude remains “in development”, as it has been since 1999.

Both includex and newclude enable you to ‘\includedoc’ complete articles (in the way that you ‘\include’ chapter files in an ordinary report). The preamble (everything up to \begin{document}), and everything after \end{document}, is ignored by both packages. Thus the packages don’t “do the whole job” for you, though: you need to analyse the package use of the individual papers, and ensure that a consistent set is loaded in the preamble of the main report. (Both packages require moredefs, which is also part of the bundle.)

A neat (and simple) toolkit is offered by the docmute package; once the package is loaded, anything between \documentclass[...]{...} and \begin{document} in an \input’ed or \include’d document is ignored, and then the input is processed up to \end{document} in the input file. The package does nothing about \usepackage (or anything else) in the preamble of the included document; it’s up to the user to ensure that any packages needed are loaded, and any other necessary configuration is done, in the parent document.

The standalone package develops on the ideas of docmute; it was designed to meet the needs of users who are developing images from one of the more extreme new graphics packages (notably pgf/tikz) where the compile time of the graphics is such that separate compilation is very desirable. Standalone provides a means of developing the graphics in a convenient way, detached from the development of the document as a whole; its value for use in multiple documents is clear.

The user includes the standalone package in the main document, and each subfile uses the standalone class. (Standalone uses article for the “real” work in stand-alone mode, but it may be asked to use another).

The real difference from the docmute package is flexibility. In particular, you can ask that the preambles of the included documents be gathered up, so that you can construct a good preamble for the master document.

A final “compile-together” approach comes from the subdocs package. The driver file contains a \subdocuments command:

\subdocuments[options]{file1, file2, ...}

(the optional arguments provide layout options, such as control over whether \clearpage or \cleardoublepage are used between the files). Each of the sub-files will execute

\usepackage[master]{subdocs}

to declare the name, master, of the calling file; each of the subfiles reads all the .aux files, so that tables of contents may be produced.

A completely different approach is to use the pdfpages package, and to include articles submitted in PDF format into a a PDF document produced by PDFLaTeX. The package defines an \includepdf command, which takes arguments similar to those of the \includegraphics command. With keywords in the optional argument of the command, you can specify which pages you want to be included from the file named, and various details of the layout of the included pages.

combine.cls
macros/latex/contrib/combine (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
combinet.sty
macros/latex/contrib/combine (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
docmute.sty
macros/latex/contrib/docmute (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
includex.sty
Distributed in the “unsupported” part of macros/latex/contrib/frankenstein (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
moredefs.sty
Distributed as part of macros/latex/contrib/frankenstein (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
newclude.sty
Distributed as part of macros/latex/contrib/frankenstein (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
pdfpages.sty
macros/latex/contrib/pdfpages (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
standalone.cls, standalone.sty
macros/latex/contrib/standalone (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
subdocs.sty
Distributed as part of macros/latex/contrib/bezos (or browse the directory); catalogue entry
subfiles.cls, etc.
macros/latex/contrib/subfiles (or browse the directory); catalogue entry


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This is FAQ version 3.27, released on 2013-06-07.