# [OS X TeX] Working with Big LaTeX Projects (was Strange Cursor Behavior)

Aditya Dushyant Trivedi atrivedi2 at student.gsu.edu
Sat Jul 24 16:32:35 EDT 2004

Thought this needed a new thread.

>> I agree. I was typesetting a book and I switched from TeXShop to
>> iTeXMac. One thing that worked great was going from the pdf to the
>> LaTeX code. iTeXMac will take you to the right chapter file. TeXShop
>> would just take me to the \include{chapter} line. (You of course have
>> to set up the main file, etc.)
>>
>> -Eddy

>schremmer:
<snip>

>kind of issues?

First switching LaTeX environments is easy. Your LaTeX (i.e. plain text) files remain the same (baring some text encoding problems). Most of the things I have learnt has been through experimenting.

Some things I learnt:

1) Big projects like Books, should be divided in separate files. In case of a book, a convenient division is by chapters. Create a driver file (also called root file, main file, etc.) which is basically the preamble and \include commands.
2) For OS X, iTeXMac is my favorite (tried TeXShop, LyX, and Emacs) mainly for the following reasons:
a) Short learning curve (relatively)
b) Best pdf synchronization. Allows you to fix errors quickly.

For more info on setting it up, read the iTeXMac manual. (On Windows, I use MiKTeX + WinEdt).

3) Going grom Word to LaTeX, the fastest way in most cases is believe it or not, copying all the text from word and cleaning it up by hand. Here extensive use of Search and Replace facility helps. For example, copy all text, jeep Word doc open. Seacrh for the next section as seen in Word and add the \section command.

3) If you are doing cross-platform, you will be better of using ISO-Latin-1 encoding instead of the default Mac-Roman.

4) Use the bookmark facility. It helps a lot.

5) Create a separate file with all macros specific to your project in a separate file and input it in the preamble. Helps to keep the driver file clean.

6) Avoid using \textit{} command to emphasize different things, like keyterms, first occurence. This habit lingers from word usage. Stick to structural writing. Create macros like:
\newcommand{\keyterm}[1]{\textit{#1}}
\newcommand{\firstuse}[1]{\textit{#1}}
If later you decide you prefer bold for keyterm, you just change the definiton of the macro. You avoid using search and replace. You will also dont mess with the first occurence terms.

7) Buy Guide to LaTeX by Kopka and Daly. I have the older edition. It has been indispensable. New one is probably better.

8) Use a spell checker (Excalibur, in-built, etc.).

Any other ideas by others will be appreciated.

-Eddy

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