##  Class files

LaTeX supports many worldwide languages by means of some special packages. In this article is explained how to import and use those packages to create documents in French.

#  Introduction

French language has some accentuated words and special characters. For this reason the preamble of your file must be modified accordingly to support these characters and some other features.

\documentclass[french]{article}

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{babel}

\begin{document}

\tableofcontents

\begin{abstract}
Ceci est un bref résumé du contenu du document écrit en français.
\end{abstract}

\section{Section d'introduction}
Il s'agit de la première section, nous ajoutons des éléments supplémentaires et tout sera correctement orthographiés. En outre, si un mot est trop long et doit être tronqué, babel va essayer de tronquer correctement en fonction de la langue.

\section{Section théorèmes}
Cette section est de voir ce qui se passe avec les commandes de texte qui définissent.
\end{document}

There are two packages in this document related to the encoding and the special characters. These packages will be explained in the next sections.

If your are looking for instructions on how to use more than one language in a sinlge document, for instance English and French, see the International language support article.

#  Input encoding

Modern computer systems allow you to input letters of national alphabets directly from the keyboard. In order to handle a variety of input encodings used for different groups of languages and/or on different computer platforms LaTeX employs the inputenc package to set up input encoding. In this case the package properly displays characters in the French alphabet. To use this package add the next line to the preamble of your document:

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}

The recommended input encoding is utf-8. You can use other encodings depending on your operating system.

#  Font encoding

To proper LaTeX document generation you must also choose a font encoding which has to support specific characters for French language, this is accomplished by the fontenc package:

\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}

Even though the default encoding works well in French, using this specific encoding will avoid glitches with some specific characters. The default LaTeX encoding is OT1.

#  Language-specific packages and commands

To extended the default LaTeX capabilities, for proper hyphenation and translating the names of the document elements, import the babel package for the French language. The language option should be passed to the \documentclass command.

\documentclass[french]{article}
\usepackage{babel}

Then french option is recommended for a generic document, if you need Canadian localization you can use canadien instead.

\documentclass[french]{article}

%encoding
%--------------------------------------
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
%--------------------------------------

%French-specific commands
%--------------------------------------
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage[autolanguage]{numprint}
%--------------------------------------

%Hyphenation rules
%--------------------------------------
\usepackage{hyphenat}
\hyphenation{mathéma-tiques récu-pérer}
%--------------------------------------

\begin{document}

\tableofcontents

\begin{abstract}
Ceci est un bref résumé du contenu du document écrit en français.
\end{abstract}

\section{Section d'introduction}
Il s'agit de la première section, nous ajoutons des éléments
supplémentaires et tout sera correctement orthographiés. En
outre, si un mot est trop long et doit être tronqué, babel
va essayer de tronquer correctement en fonction de la langue.

\section{Section théorèmes}
Cette section est de voir ce qui se passe avec les commandes de
texte qui définissent.

\begin{itemize}
\item premier élément
\item deuxième élément
\end{itemize}

$\lim x = \theta + \nombre{152383.52}$

\end{document}

In this document an additional command is used in the section of the preamble for Language-specific features. \usepackage[autolanguage]{numprint} changes the formatting of the numbers written inside the braces of the \nombre{} command.

Notice also that the elements in a list have changed, they have a different format.

#  Hyphenation

Sometimes for formatting reasons some words have to be broken up in syllables separated by a - (hyphen) to continue the word in a new line. For example, mathématiques could become mathéma-tiques. The package babel, whose usage was described in the previous section, usually does a good job breaking up the words correctly, but if this is not the case you can use a couple of commands in your preamble.

 \usepackage{hyphenat}
\hyphenation{mathéma-tiques récu-pérer}

The first command will import the package hyphenat and the second line is a list of space-separated words with defined hyphenation rules. On the other side, if you want a word not to be broken automatically, use the {\nobreak word} command within your document.