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Chapter 2. The Structure of a LaTeX Docu... > 2.1. The structure of a source file

2.1. The structure of a source file

You can use LaTeX for several purposes, such as writing an article or a letter, or producing overhead slides. Clearly, documents for different purposes may need different logical structures, i.e., different commands and environments. We say that a document belongs to a class of documents having the same general structure (but not necessarily the same typographical appearance). You specify the class to which your document belongs by starting your LaTeX file with a \documentclass command, where the mandatory parameter specifies the name of the document class. The document class defines the available logical commands and environments (for example, \chapter in the report class) as well as a default formatting for those elements. An optional argument allows you to modify the formatting of those elements by supplying a list of class options. For example, 11pt is an option recognized by most document classes that instructs LaTeX to choose eleven point as the basic document type size.


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