[OS X TeX] Re: MacOSX-TeX Digest #1264 - 01/22/05

Felipe M Pait pait at lac.usp.br
Sat Jan 22 21:35:22 EST 2005

My reasons for using TeX are pretty much the ones that have already 
been mentioned, portability, mathematics, appearance, and so on. Now 
the most important reason why people who use vulgar word-processing 
software should switch to TeX is as follows. I grant that typing _one_ 
reasonably short document in, say, Nisus, is faster than in LaTeX. Then 
you type a second document, and the word processor still saves time, 
although less. But then you decide to merge the two documents. Using 
TeX, this is trivial. Using a WYSIWIG word processor, it takes a 
significant effort.

The amount of time needed to compose a document from scratch with LaTeX 
is affine in its size: there is a constant initial effort and from then 
it grows linearly. With Microsoft Word (here; I tried to avoid naming 
the beast but couldn't resist) the work grows with the square of the 
document size. Writing small documents is effortless, easier than 
typing plain text thanks to the dictionaries, spell checkers, and 
easy-to-use tools. Writing long documents it is a nightmare, for 
reasons that the mavens in this list can explain better than me. Word 
processing quickly becomes a major drag on productivity.


> Subject: Semi-OT
> From: "Jason Davies" <ucgajpd at ucl.ac.uk>
> Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 15:31:57 +0000
> I have been asked to lead a discussion for students and staff about
> presenting documents. I doubt very much that any will be inclined to 
> use
> LaTeX but what would be useful is an overview of why we use it - in
> terms of aesthetics, readability etc (why those large margins? kind of
> thing.) I think the idea is that people may consider applying such
> principles to (presumably) Word documents (eg choice of fonts, width of
> page, number of lines etc).
> I realise that this may or may not be of wider interest to the list so 
> I
> also ask that if anyone has strong feelings about it not being
> appropriate, a brief message to the list can steer these to me
> personally. But then again, we might all learn something...!
> thanks.

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