It’s time for the traditional mid year stop. Dear reader, if you live in the northern hemisphere don’t forget to use solar screen and keep yourself hydrated (no, beer does not count: alcohol do exactly the opposite of hydration) while if you live in the souther hemisphere, coat and gloves that getting cold is always a bad idea.

I’ll be back on September 9. Until then, have a nice holiday!

Writer: “Hanging” numbers for footnotes and headings

The idea is to get the automated numbering for headings (for example, of Level 1) and footnotes “hanging” on the left margin, as you can see on the following screenshots (I’d to activate the non-printing characters to see the margins… oh well)

As you may imagine, these tricks have their stories, so let’s tackle one at a time.

Footnote numbers in the margin

And because we are already here, let align those numbers “to the right.”

First, we need to go to the Footnote paragraph style. In the Indent and Spacing tab, for Indents we need to set the space before text to zero, but in the First Line we need to set a negative value, big enough to provide space for the numbers, let’s say −1 cm.

Now we press Apply and move to the Tab tab (silly name for a tab… tab… oh well). There we need to define two tabs, the first one in −0,6 cm and aligned to the right and the second one  at 0 cm and aligned to the left. Apply the last changes too and close the dialogue to go to Tools → Footnotes and Endnotes → Footnotes tab, where for the automated numbering we need to type \t in both, the Before and After fields: this way Writer will insert the needed tab-stops (I go in more details about all this stuff to align the footnote numbering in my book).

This part is done.

Heading numbering in the margin

Here everything is a bit easier, but not necessarily more clear. Let’s see. We need to go to Tools → Chapter Numbering and in the Numbering tab pick the correct numbering scheme, to then add in the separator, After a couple of spaces. Now, in the Position tab we need to set everything as in the second screenshot: everything aligned to zero, the number alignment “to the right,” the numbering followed by “nothing” and the indent set to zero.

Nothing else to do.

Public release of LyX version 2.3.3

It’s available the third update in the 2.3 series of this great interface for LATEX / XƎTEX.

This version fix several errors and improves the program performance, as well as refine some graphical elements (for example, moving tabs is now more clear). All the news are detailed in the release announcement.

As always, for openSUSE users this new version is already available on the publishing repository.

My new “penguin ready” laptop: TUXEDO-Book-BC1507

Here I am, writing all this from my new TUXEDO-Book-BC1507. On today’s article I’ll provide a brief impression of the new computer and tell you about the purchasing experience.

TUXEDO Computers is a German company that builds Linux ready laptops. In fact, if you want that thing called windoze or something like that (I don’t remember) you need to pay more. If you’re fine with an English or German keyboard, it’s possible to ask for a penguin on the META key!

But I wanted a Spanish keyboard so… the little window. Oh well.

Buying the computer was incredible easy. TUXEDO offers many payment methods: not only credit card, but also paypal or even a bank transfer. In fact, I payed with a SEPA transfer (if you live in Europe, you know what I’m talking about). You just fill the form on the web page, they send to you the bank coordinates and five working days after the payment is effective, you get the package directly to your door. Every laptop is mounted on demand!

Just one thing: the email confirming that everything was moving on was in German… a small ops! moment, I think.

The design is really nice and it feels solid. Even if the chassis is not on aluminum it keeps cool. The fan is really quiet and the air flow goes to the back part, not to the sides (or even the bottom) as in many laptops. The battery provides several ours of autonomy. There is an option in the bios called FlexiCharger that, when enabled, stops charging the battery after a certain percentage is reached: in this way it’s not needed to remove the battery when you need to work for a long time while “plugged in.” Finally, every component in the laptop (memory, disk) can be easily accessed so the computer can be updated/repaired without problems.

The keyboard is really comfortable and surprisingly quiet. Even the touchpad keys (yes, it have real keys in the touchpad!) are quiet. Also, the keyboard is back-lighted and the light intensity can be easily regulated. Some light “leak” from the borders of the key, though, it not only goes through the symbols on them, but that’s a minor point and with a low intensity it even looks cool.

Only issue I had? They say they send a preinstalled system, but in reality they put in a “net-install” and that was a problem for me: for the one part it came with the beta of Leap 15.1 instead of the final version, and for the other part there was a huge problem in my zone with the internet provider the same day the computer arrived, so no network to end the installation!

But no problem at all: I also got an external DVD writer (this model does not have an internal one) so I “burned” the installer for openSUSE Leap 15.1 in a DVD-RW from the older computer, started the new one with the same driver attached to the usb port and the system was perfectly installed and running when the internet  was back.

This model accept up to two disks, one SSD and the other a traditional one. Because I was already over budget I decided to pick only a traditional 1 T disk and get more RAM instead (16 GB). The processor is an 8th generation i5 with four cores. Back lighted Spanish keyboard, screen of 1920×1080 and 96dpi… a great system. For now I’m very happy and everything works perfectly.

Anyway, who would have said 10 years ago that we would now have companies like TUXEDO or Slimbook, offering products so well made and penguin ready!

Another way to represent keys in LyX

In section 15.1 of my LYX book I describe how to use the menukeys package to represent keys and menus in a XƎTEX document. Some time ago a reader (thanks, César, for reporting it!) told me that he had some troubled using it, and after some trial and error I found that the problem is that the \keys command defined by the menukeys package do not work within headings: if you want to show a key on a section heading, it’s not possible, the document does not compile.

So I thought why not to use the same Libertinus Keyboard font I use in my Writer manual for the exactly same function: the latest versions of that font implement special typographical ligatures that can be used to quickly insert keys: if you write “Enter” the text get transformed into a representation of the Enter key.

So it was only matter of creating a new font family and a character style. Quite easy, indeed.

In any document, you need to select to use the “Use non-TeX fonts” and in the Preamble you need to write

\newfontfamily{\libertinusKB}{Libertinus Keyboard}

in order to define the Libertinus Keyboard as a valid font for the document (the font must be installed!), and then, in Local Layout create the following style:

Format 66
  InsetLayout Flex:LibKB
  LyxType       charstyle
  LabelString   LibKB
  LatexType     command
  LatexName     libkb
    \newcommand*{\libkb}[1]{{\libertinusKB #1}}
  ResetsFont    true
    Family      typewriter


Done, the new style is available under a right click → Text Style → LibKB (more information about all this in the book). It’s even easier that with menukeys!

Latin Modern: the Knuth fonts in the Unicode+OpenType era

Donald Knuth is not only a mathematician, or programmer, or the creator or TEX: he is also a type designer. In the volume E of Computers & Typesetting he describes the “Computer Modern” fonts that since then are the default fonts on most LATEX documentclasses.

The problem with Computer Modern is the same problem with all metafont fonts: they are, well, written in metafont language and use the metafont engine, which means problems for non English languages.

The people from the GUST group (the Polish users TeX group), solved this problem by “translating” this fonts into Unicode and OpenType, creating a “superfamily” with support for many languages, but without loosing one of its key features: support for optical sizes

The Latin Modern (LM) Family of Fonts

NOTE: Linux users with TEXLive will have the fonts installed by default in their systems.

NOTE 2: for taking full advantage of its features, this font needs to be used  with XƎTEX (may I suggest you to use LYX?) or Scribus, because LibO get confused with such a complex font.

Example of optical sizes with Latin Modern Roman. The grey text was typeset at 10 pts and zoomed at 400% while the second line was typeset at 5 pts and zoomed at 800%. Notice that the smaller point sizes gives less detailed and wider characters.

It’s important to note that the small caps are in separated fonts, so you need to define a style to properly use them (check my book for more information on how to do that on LYX). Also, this font does not provide real sub or superscripts, but this is not a problem: when using “simulated” sub and superscripts, XƎTEX will pick the right font shapes for the size, so the effect is as if you where using real scripts.

OK, to the fonts:

There is also a “math” font to use with the unicode-math package (again, check my book 😉 ) as you can see in this rather arbitrary “math-like” example

In addition to the fonts presented above, you have Latin Modern Mono Light (a light version of the monospaced font), Latin Modern Mono Light Condensed (a condensed version), Latin Modern Mono Prop (a proportional version of the monosp… 😯 ), Latin Modern Mono Prop Light ( 😯 😯 ), Latin Modern Mono Slanted (a slanted version of the monospaced font as an alternative to italics), Latin Modern Roman Demi (a semibold version), Latin Modern Roman Dunhill (a version for headings), Latin Modern Roman Slanted (a slanted version of the Roman face), Latin Modern Roman Unslanted (an “upright” version of the italic… 😯 😯 😯 ), Latin Modern Sans Demi Cond (a semibold and condensed version of the Sans face) and Latin Modern Sans Quotation (a “wider” version of the Sans face, specially designed for small point sizes).

An impressive font “superfamily.”

Acariya: a high contrast, “classical” serif typeface

With many “old style” elements (its author defines it as a “Garamond style font”), this font is quite interesting and full of OpenType features

Acariya, by Bhikkhu Pesala

With an unusual (for a font) GNU license, this free (as in speech) high contrast serif  font has a really nice design and seems specially suited for headings and large text, but retains legibility even at smaller point sizes.