a new LaTeX class file for U-M dissertations

I have been working on a new LaTeX class file for University of Michigan dissertations for awhile now. I finally got tired of the limitations of umdiss.cls. The main goals (which I believe I have achieved) of the new class file are:

  1. load the book class and modify only what’s necessary
  2. be compatible with as many packages as possible
  3. require the hyperref package, because it does many very handy things, like automatically creating pdf bookmarks and links from the table of contents, list of figures etc.
  4. work with includeonly (umdiss.cls does not)
  5. follow formatting guidelines of the University of Michigan

I know of one feature which is not implemented fully yet, and that is the abstract. If you use the abstract environment, it will typeset your abstract according to the guidelines set for dissertation abstracts by Rackham, but there is not an option yet to have it formatted for actual inclusion in the dissertation, including being listed in the table of contents. This will come soon.

You can either download the zip file, browse the directory, or view the latest version in the svn repository. I have included an extensively commented example, which includes several macros that I use to make things easier. There are also quite a few comments in the .cls file as well. A more thorough documentation will come later.

I hope you find the class file handy, and please let me know if you find any errors.

Now back to writing the actual content of the dissertation…

This entry was posted in latex, linguistics. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to a new LaTeX class file for U-M dissertations

  1. RBedford says:

    I am curious whether you have a good resource for how to put together .cls files. You obviously *know* how to do it, but do you have a suggestion as to how others can acheive such ability? So far, I have gotten the most use out of reverse-engineering existing .cls files, but this makes me feel dirty.

  2. Li says:

    Hi Rob,

    I remembered you suggested me visit your blog for the appropriate style sheet for UM dissertation. Here I am! I just downloaded the .zip file but I couldn’t unzip the file ‘umthesis.zip’ using the unzip command or using Window auto unzip untility. Please let me know if there is any trick for unzipping it.

    To get around that, I downloaded the sample files listed in the directory. When I was just compiling them on my laptop where MikTex is installed, it seems that MikTex is able to download many of the required missing packages but it couldn’t retrieve the one for caption.sty, maybe I should try to download this package from somewhere else?

    Or any suggestion on how I can best use your style sheet, meaning what the ideal OS and environment I should use?


  3. robfelty says:


    The zip file works fine for me. Sorry you are having problems with it. I haven’t heard about anyone else having trouble with it.

    I am surprised that MikTeX doesn’t have the caption package. Is it an up-to-date version? You can find just about any package you want on ctan.org. The caption package is not necessary though. You could always get rid of that. It is just a handy way of setting some options for table and figure captions.

    The .cls file should work with any standard LaTeX installation on any OS on which LaTeX runs. I do recommend using pdflatex as opposed to using regular latex though — see my other post on pdflatex

  4. Li says:

    pdflatex works nicely with the MikTex on my laptop. That’s good for me. I don’t have to worry about not being able to compile on other computers/servers. Thanks Rob. You style sheet sure saves me tons of time.

  5. Li says:

    Ok, I commented out this line
    %%\usepackage[font=small,labelfont=bf,labelsep=quad]{caption} %more caption

    now I can just use the latex command to compile the document.

  6. Li says:

    Hi Rob,

    For some reason, I couldn’t get the cross references of sections work properly. And I couldn’t get a section number assigned to the subsubsections. Here is what I did:

    At the end of file exp1.tex from your sample files, add these sections:

    %% Li’s modification starts here.

    The rest of this chapter proceeds as follows. Section \ref{sec:design} describes the experiment design, while section~\ref{subsec:req} details the requirements and section~\ref{subsubsec:setup} describes the experiment setup. Section ~\ref{sec:method} describes my methods, while section~\ref{subsec:procedures} gives details of the procedures and section~\ref{subsubsec:firstSteps} goes over the first steps.

    \section{Experiment design}
    I describe my first experiment in this section.
    \subsection{Experiment requirements}
    Good design is expected.
    \subsubsection{Experiment setup}
    The sound lab is needed.
    I describe my methods in this section
    The following procedures were followed.
    \subsubsection{First steps}
    We carried out the experiment with the undergrads.

    At the end of the file intro.tex, add the these lines:

    %% Li’s modification starts here
    The rest of the dissertation proceeds as follows. Chapter~\ref{ch:firstExp} gives description of my first experiment. Section~\label{sec:design} of Chapter~\ref{ch:firstExp} covers the my first experiment.

    After adding these lines in the two files, I run
    PDFLatex example.tex
    a couple of times. I couldn’t get the cross references to the subsections and the subsubsections do not have numbering either.

    I was wondering if you have a quick solution.