Writing an application letter with XeLaTeX

With LaTeX, several packages are dedicated for letters. For french TeX users, there is for example the class lettre, which might be widely used. For english TeX users, the letter written with the letter class or with koma-script might be also used.

Also, notice that the structure of a letter should be as follows :

Here I will focus on the isodoc class for application letters. I have pushed a template in my repository at Github. If you want documentation for this letter, then type Alt+F2 and in the prompt enter (without quotes) “texdoc isodoc”, or look here. The documentation for this package is really good, and contains some examples, so don’t hesitate to refer to it if you have any problem.

Basically, the .tex file is divided into three parts, that is to say the preamble, the setup of the letter and then the text. The following is a description of the parts from my template that I use for an example :

  1. A brief description of the preamble :
  2. % Created 2010-09-21 Tue 22:02
    \documentclass{isodoc}
    \usepackage{xltxtra}

    First, here is the class of the document, and then the package for XeLaTeX.

    \linespread{1.05}
    \setmainfont[Numbers=OldStyle,Ligatures=Historic]{TeX Gyre Pagella}

    Here is the usual setup for fonts I use. If you want some documentation about TeX Gyre Pagella, type Alt+F2 and enter in the prompt “texdoc qpl-info”, or look here.

    \usepackage{fixltx2e}
    \usepackage{graphicx}
    \usepackage{url}
    \usepackage{float}
    \usepackage{wrapfig}
    \usepackage{soul}
    \usepackage{textcomp}

    Some useful packages, nothing special.

    \usepackage[frenchb]{babel}

    If you are not french, replace it by polyglossia, according to the language you wish to use. For more information, type Alt+F2 and “texdoc polyglossia” in the prompt or look here.

    \usepackage{hyperref}
    \hypersetup{
    colorlinks=true, linktocpage=true,breaklinks=true,
    urlcolor=spot, linkcolor=blue, citecolor=green,
    pdftitle={Letter},%the title
    pdfauthor={}
    }

    Nothing special, just the usual hyperref setup I use.

    \tolerance=1000 % http://dcwww.camd.dtu.dk/~schiotz/comp/LatexTips/LatexTips.html
    \usepackage{pdfpages}
    \definecolor{headcolor}{gray}{0.5}
    \definecolor{spot}{rgb}{0.6,0,0}
    \definecolor{headingcolor}{rgb}{0.6,0,0}

    Some nice settings, for hyphenation, and others, such as headcolor, which unable the nice gray color of headers and footers you will see in the screenshot at the bottom of my post.

  3. The following is a brief description of the setup of the letter (notice that the following is just MY setup, an example, there are more options, look at the isodoc documentation I have indicated above if you need more) :
  4. \setupdocument{%about this section, see isodoc, p. 3 to 7
    language = french
    ,
    company = Alexandre Krispin
    ,
    who = Alexandre Krispin
    ,
    street = {41 rue Guynemer}
    ,
    city = St-Denis
    ,
    zip = 93200
    ,

    Here is the first part of my setup. If you are not french, replace french by your language. Since it is not a letter from an employee of a company, I have put my name after “company =”, as it is indicated in the documentation. Then, you have to put your name and adress. Notice that you must put a comma after the information you enter, in order to indicate the end of the information. Also, if you want to put commas in your adress, you will have to use brackets {}. If you don’t use the brackets {}, then you will have erors when compiling your file.

    to = {Université Paris Ouest \\
    Nanterre La Défense\\
    200, avenue de la République\\
    92201 \caps{NANTERRE CEDEX}}
    ,
    return
    ,
    header
    ,
    date = today
    ,
    opening = {Madame, Monsieur,}
    ,
    subject = {Here goes the subject of your letter}
    ,

    “To” indicates the addressee. “Return” the address where you wish to receive an answer, etc. For more information, look at the isodoc documentation, easy to understand and very good.

    closing = {Je me tiens à votre entière disposition pour plus
    d’information, je vous prie d’agréer, Madame, Monsieur, l’expression
    de mes salutations les plus distinguées}
    ,
    signature = Alexandre Krispin
    ,
    footer
    ,
    phone = 0628766934
    ,
    email = k.m.alexandre@gmail.com
    ,
    website = \url{https://alexkrispin.wordpress.com/}
    ,
    fill
    ,
    }

    Then comes the closing, the signature and the footer if you want it. In the footer will appear your phone, email and your website.
    The fill option is to get the text fully justified, on the left and on the right. In other words, “fill” is the option to get the usual hyphenation with LaTeX.

  5. Finally, you have the environment in which your text is written :
  6. \begin{document}
    \letter{
    Je me présente, je m’appelle henri. Je voudrais bien réussir ma vie, être aimé. Quand je serai grand, j’aimerai bien être médecin, ou plombier, ou rappeur, ou dealer, ou braqueur, ou\ldots tout niquer tout dans paname !
    […]
    etc, etc.
    }
    \end{document}

Here is a screenshot of the output, a pdf file, after compiling with xelatex :

You can find the source file of this example in my repository at Github.

If you have any problem, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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  1. Hei blog owner, I have a tiny request. I was just searching for some information on this topic you wrote and found this post. Some really great stuff you wrote here. Can I please share this post on my new website I am workin’ on? Please 🙂 I will check back again later to see what you answered. Regards, Jean Hill.

  2. Of course, feel free to do what you want !

    I am french, but write in english. The reason is that I want to share everything which might be useful. If this was not my purpose, I would have writen in french.

    One day, a professor told me I should be careful with plagiarism. Though I disagree with plagirism (a kind of selfishness), I would consent to it if I was plagiarized.

    So, in your case, I am happy to know my post has been useful for you, and encourage you to do what you want with it or anything else in this blog, and to copy what you want.

    Regards,

    Alexandre Krispin

    PS : Notice that in my templates I have pushed at Github (though I haven’t yet done it for all), I write a header where I write my name, the date of creation and other informations (I have particularly done it for the templates I have put in my snippets for XeLaTeX). But don’t hesitate to remove my name or anything else if you want.

  3. Hello blog owner! I have a small request. I was just searching for some information on this topic and found this post. Some really nice stuff you posted here. Can I please share this post on my new website I am currently workin on? Pretty please :). I will check back again later to see how you responded. Thanks, Denis Wilson .

  4. Of course, sharing is the essential purpose of this blog.

    Cheers,
    Alexandre Krispin

  1. October 1st, 2010
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