[OS X TeX] overview of what TeX is producing

Martin Stokhof m.j.b.stokhof at uva.nl
Tue Mar 1 12:04:41 EST 2005

On Mar 01, 2005, at 13:30, Jason Davies wrote:

> I have been trying to explain exactly what TeX does to people - not the
> technical stuff but the principles that it enacts typographically. Does
> anyone know of a good source? For instance, I know it calculates the
> spaces between the letters optimally. But are there proportions in the
> defaults that mean the margins are the right size in relation to text,
> in the way that the bottom part of a picture frame is always about 10%
> bigger than the top?
> in other words, *why* is TeX output so elegant to the human eye?
> any answers will help.I am being leant on (as ususal) to justify why I
> am not sending people Word documents and have decided to go on the
> offentsive (ie giving up on 'it works better for me') and trying to 
> sell
> them the idea that they are using an inferior set up There's no hope
> that they will adopt TeX - they find Word tricky enough - but I might 
> be
> able to convince them that my results justify the means...
> cheers

One thing that I found works (at least with some people) is to show 
them side by side Word and TeX output of the same text. Make it more 
than just a few lines, use a couple of paragraphs. (If they write 
mathematical stuff, include some formulas as well.) In my experience 
most people are able to see the difference: even spacing, better 
breaks, etc. (Use microtype with fontexpansion and protrusion for 
optimal results.)


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