which opens a window showing documentation of the footmisc package. (The window is tailored to the file type, in the way normal for the system.) If texdoc can’t find any documentation, it may launch a Web browser to look at the package’s entry in the CTAN catalogue. The catalogue has an entry for package documentation, and most authors respond to the CTAN team’s request for documentation of packages, you will more often than not find documentation that way. On MiKTeX systems, the same function is provided by the mthelp. Note that the site texdoc.net provides access to the documentation you would have if you had a full installation of TeX Live; on the site you can simply ask for a package (as you would ask texdoc, or you can use the site’s index of documentation to find what you want. (This is helpful for some of us: many people don’t have a full (La)TeX installation on their mobile phone … yet.) If your luck (as defined above) doesn’t hold out, you’ve got to find documentation by other means. That is, you have to find the documentation for yourself. The rest of this answer offers a range of possible techniques. The commonest form of documentation of LaTeX add-ons is within thetexdoc footmisc
.dtxfile in which the code is distributed (see documented LaTeX sources). Such files are supposedly processable by LaTeX itself, but there are occasional hiccups on the way to readable documentation. Common problems are that the package itself is needed to process its own documentation (so must be unpacked before processing), and that the
.dtxfile will not in fact process with LaTeX. In the latter case, the
.insfile will usually produce a
.drv(or similarly-named) file, which you process with LaTeX instead. (Sometimes the package author even thinks to mention this wrinkle in a package
READMEfile.) Another common form is the separate documentation file; particularly if a package is “conceptually large” (and therefore needs a lot of documentation), the documentation would prove a cumbersome extension to the
.dtxfile. Examples of such cases are the memoir class, the KOMA-script bundle (whose developers take the trouble to produce detailed documentation in both German and English), the pgf documentation (which would make a substantial book in its own right) and the fancyhdr package (whose documentation derives from a definitive tutorial in a mathematical journal). Even if the documentation is not separately identified in a
READMEfile, it should not be too difficult to recognise its existence. Documentation within the package itself is the third common form. Such documentation ordinarily appears in comments at the head of the file, though at least one eminent author regularly places it after the
endinputcommand in the package. (This is desirable, since
endinputis a ‘logical’ end-of-file, and (La)TeX doesn’t read beyond it: thus such documentation does not ‘cost’ any package loading time.) The above suggestions cover most possible ways of finding documentation. If, despite your best efforts, you can’t find it in any of the above places, there’s the awful possibility that the author didn’t bother to document his package (on the “if it was hard to write, it should be hard to use” philosophy). Most ordinary mortals will seek support from some more experienced user at this stage, though it is possible to proceed in the way that the original author apparently expected…by reading his code.
This answer last edited: 2012-11-09
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This is FAQ version 3.26, released on 2013-02-25.