Paragraph indents and spacing

By default, LaTeX does not indent the first paragraph after a section command, but will indent all subsequent paragraphs.

You can, of course, add `\indent` to the start of each first paragraph. But that gets rather tedious after a while, and you might miss it if e.g. some time later, you add another paragraph immediately after the sectioning command.

Fortunately, the `indentfirst` package will do this automatically for you — rejoice!

If you need to change the indent amount (for all paragraphs), you can set the `\parindent` length:

`\setlength{\parindent}{2em}`

The inevitable next question: “What if I need to have some space between the paragraphs?”

Rule: Please don’t use `\\\\` to achieve “space between paragraphs”. Please. Don’t.

`\\` is for line breaks. Paragraph breaks in LaTeX are done by either leaving a blank line in the source code, or by using `\par`. Line breaks and paragraph breaks are two very, very distinct concepts in typesetting, and are handled differently in LaTeX.

So the easiest way to achieve this is simply by writing `\usepackage{parskip}`. This avoids modifying the `\parskip` length directly, because `\parskip` has consequences for many other constructs, e.g. `itemize` and `enumerate` lists.

If you happen to be using one of the Koma-Script document classes, you may get a warning message when you try to load `parskip`. In that case, just pass `parskip` as a document class option, e.g. `\documentclass[parskip]{scrbook}`.

If `memoir` is the document class in use instead, you can write `\nonzeroparskip` or `\abnormalparskip{\baselineskip}`.

Just take note: it’s usually considered redundant to have both non-zero paragraph spacing and paragraph indents, so all paragraph indents are suppressed when `parskip` is loaded. Having said that, if you do need the paragraphs to be indented as well (university thesis requirements), use the `\setlength{\parindent}{2em}` to force this.