LaTeX Typesetting – Part 1 (Lists)

This series builds on the previous articles: Typeset your docs with LaTex and TeXstudio on Fedora and LaTeX 101 for beginners. This first part of the series is about LaTeX lists.

Types of lists

LaTeX lists are enclosed environments, and each item in the list can take a line of text to a full paragraph. There are three types of lists available in LaTeX. They are:

  • Itemized: unordered or bullet
  • Enumerated: ordered
  • Description: descriptive

Creating lists

To create a list, prefix each list item with the \item command. Precede and follow the list of items with the \begin{<type>} and \end{<type>} commands respectively where <type> is substituted with the type of the list as illustrated in the following examples.

Itemized list

\begin{itemize}
    \item Fedora
    \item Fedora Spin
    \item Fedora Silverblue
\end{itemize}

Enumerated list

\begin{enumerate}
    \item Fedora CoreOS
    \item Fedora Silverblue
    \item Fedora Spin
\end{enumerate}

Descriptive list

\begin{description}
    \item[Fedora 6] Code name Zod
    \item[Fedora 8] Code name Werewolf
\end{description}

Spacing list items

The default spacing can be customized by adding \usepackage{enumitem} to the preamble. The enumitem package enables the noitemsep option and the \itemsep command which you can use on your lists as illustrated below.

Using the noitemsep option

Enclose the noitemsep option in square brackets and place it on the \begin command as shown below. This option removes the default spacing.

\begin{itemize}[noitemsep]
    \item Fedora
    \item Fedora Spin
    \item Fedora Silverblue
\end{itemize}

Using the \itemsep command

The \itemsep command must be suffixed with a number to indicate how much space there should be between the list items.

\begin{itemize} \itemsep0.75pt
    \item Fedora Silverblue
    \item Fedora CoreOS
\end{itemize}

Nesting lists

LaTeX supports nested lists up to four levels deep as illustrated below.

Nested itemized lists

\begin{itemize}[noitemsep]
    \item Fedora Versions
    \begin{itemize}
        \item Fedora 8
        \item Fedora 9
        \begin{itemize}
            \item Werewolf
            \item Sulphur
            \begin{itemize}
                \item 2007-05-31
                \item 2008-05-13
            \end{itemize}
        \end{itemize}
    \end{itemize}
    \item Fedora Spin
    \item Fedora Silverblue
\end{itemize}

Nested enumerated lists

\begin{enumerate}[noitemsep]
    \item Fedora Versions
    \begin{enumerate}
        \item Fedora 8
        \item Fedora 9
        \begin{enumerate}
            \item Werewolf
            \item Sulphur
            \begin{enumerate}
                \item 2007-05-31
                \item 2008-05-13 
            \end{enumerate}
        \end{enumerate}
    \end{enumerate}
    \item Fedora Spin
    \item Fedora Silverblue
\end{enumerate}

List style names for each list type

EnumeratedItemized
\alph*$\bullet$
\Alph*$\cdot$
\arabic*$\diamond$
\roman*$\ast$
\Roman*$\circ$
$-$

Default style by list depth

LevelEnumerated Itemized
1NumberBullet
2Lowercase alphabetDash
3Roman numeralsAsterisk
4Uppercase alphabetPeriod

Setting list styles

The below example illustrates each of the different itemiszed list styles.

% Itemize style
\begin{itemize}
    \item[$\ast$] Asterisk 
    \item[$\diamond$] Diamond 
    \item[$\circ$] Circle 
    \item[$\cdot$] Period
    \item[$\bullet$] Bullet (default)
    \item[--] Dash
    \item[$-$] Another dash
\end{itemize}

There are three methods of setting list styles. They are illustrated below. These methods are listed by priority; highest priority first. A higher priority will override a lower priority if more than one is defined for a list item.

List styling method 1 – per item

Enclose the name of the desired style in square brackets and place it on the \item command as demonstrated below.

% First method
\begin{itemize}
    \item[$\ast$] Asterisk 
    \item[$\diamond$] Diamond 
    \item[$\circ$] Circle 
    \item[$\cdot$] period
    \item[$\bullet$] Bullet (default)
    \item[--] Dash
    \item[$-$] Another dash
\end{itemize}

List styling method 2 – on the list

Prefix the name of the desired style with label=. Place the parameter, including the label= prefix, in square brackets on the \begin command as demonstrated below.

% Second method
\begin{enumerate}[label=\Alph*.]
    \item Fedora 32
    \item Fedora 31
    \item Fedora 30
\end{enumerate}

List styling method 3 – on the document

This method changes the default style for the entire document. Use the \renewcommand to set the values for the labelitems. There is a different labelitem for each of the four label depths as demonstrated below.

% Third method
\renewcommand{\labelitemi}{$\ast$}
\renewcommand{\labelitemii}{$\diamond$}
\renewcommand{\labelitemiii}{$\bullet$}
\renewcommand{\labelitemiv}{$-$}

Summary

LaTeX supports three types of lists. The style and spacing of each of the list types can be customized. More LaTeX elements will be explained in future posts.

Additional reading about LaTeX lists can be found here: LaTeX List Structures

FAQs and Guides Using Software

10 Comments

  1. kd

    Helpful, thanks

  2. Jorge Dominguez

    Thanks for the tips, I’m starting out with LaTeX, so this was indeed helpful

    • LaTeX is great, I first starting using LaTeX after I saw the article “Typeset your docs with LaTex and TeXstudio on Fedora.”

  3. Love it!
    I use vim+latex and I find it very fun, cause you merged the vim power with LaTeX style.

  4. James Aker

    Great Scott! It’s back to future. I remember doing college assignments using LaTeX. Anymore I use Emacs+LaTex to create PDF’s on my fedora workstation.

    Thanks for the article

  5. ddd

    why deleting my post?
    ???

  6. Leslie Satenstein

    Gee, It seems to make asciidoc a dog of a format program, when compared to Latex.

    Why do we need both? is there a way to merge the two format languages?

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