Tufte Book for Scrivener Template

Edward Tufte is rightly famous for his publications on information design, and pioneered the presentation of data and text with elegance and clarity. His site is still a source of inspiration: The Work of Edward Tufte and Graphics Press

LaTeX has a Tufte Book (+ handout) package. It follows the main presentation styles of Tufte’s publications. However, the package is buggy and has not been updated since 2015. By default it does not work with the modern unicode engines Xe|LuaLatex, not with the modern bibliography interface, BibLaTeX.

I found a recent mod of Tufte-latex, V3.6, which fixes the incompatibilities with modern LaTeX infrastructure, and I made a Pandoc template that works with this fork…

The sample PDF compiled from Scrivener can be downloaded or viewed here:

As is usual, Scrivener styles and section types are used to drive the layout, supporting margin notes, margin figures, new thoughts, etc.

There are some problems, the main one being that Pandoc uses longtable for tables, but the captions are inline without a tweak [which is included in the template], but the hack is fragile when using a symmetric layout (margin notes can misalign). As long as you don’t push the margin content too much, it all seems to work.

The project is linked below; V3.6 of tufte-layout is included in the Binder accessory files. These files should be exported to a compile-mmd folder, that you then compile too. The compile toolchain is Scrivener ⇨ Pandoc (Pandoc configured using a defaults yaml file) ⇨ .tex file.

The post-processing compiles to tex, not to PDF because there were some errors when using Pandoc to output PDF directly. So once you have the .tex file, you must run latexmk (or other tool) on the file yourself to generate the PDF.

As Quarto also has a Tuftish layout there is a quarto-compile included in the same project — the sample is here: https://github.com/iandol/scrivomatic/blob/master/sample-output/QuartoBook.pdf — note quite a few errors in layout of marginalia…

TufteBook.scriv.zip (510.3 KB)

I could make compile smoother if I’d used pandocomatic or a custom script, but as I only used this for one project and to minimise dependencies, I didn’t spend too much time on it. My font choice is not “authentic” (Alegreya by Huerta Tipográfica), you can use ETbb, and there are some other tweaks you can find in the CTAN sample docs: CTAN: Package tufte-latex


I am triggered by this document’s repeated statement of discounted utilitarianism.

1 Like

The Borg apologises for any inconvenience…

1 Like

Lol. I’m just now finishing a 7 year book project on this functional form, that’s all :laughing:

1 Like