[OS X TeX] rotating vs landscape in two-sided documents

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at gmail.com
Sun Feb 11 16:41:33 EST 2007

Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Le 11 févr. 07 à 18:38, Chabot Denis a écrit :
>> Well, thanks to the help of many people here, my report is almost 
>> complete and I am very happy with the result, although I hope future 
>> reports will allow me to concentrate on content and not on 
>> formatting, one advantage of using LaTeX that was not achieved for 
>> this particular document...
> That is an advantage I have never seen achieved in practice. LaTeX is 
> so insistent on imposing a specific formatting, and it may be so 
> inconvenient to use at times (think for example of having to combine 
> longtable, multline, array and \multicolumn in order to write a midly 
> complicated table), that in my experience using LaTeX means spending 
> more time formatting and less time writing.
> More specifically, LaTeX is nice when you are using a dedicated 
> package yielding exactly the desired formatting (for example a 
> journal-specific class), and/or when you document contains a lot of 
> maths.
> But when you want to write a memo or report, say, and the standard 
> article, report or book classes do not meet your needs exactly, then 
> you'll spend an awful lot of time interrupting your workflow to deal 
> with some formatting issues, look for some style to accomplish a 
> specific task, search a FAQ, post to a mailing list, and so forth.

Indeed, indeed, particularly when you are like me and you don't quite 
know what you are doing.

> In those cases I find it more efficient and stress-free to use a 
> WYSIWYG word processor (Pages in my case). The output will possibly be 
> less typographically correct, but it will be achieved more easily, and 
> it will be possible to devote more attention to the matter at hand 
> without having constantly to interrupt the thinking for dealing with 
> some formatting issue; it will also be easier to start writing the 
> document without having a clear idea of its content or presentation, 
> and then reorganize matter, move things around, add columns in table, 
> switch columns, and so forth.

How about Lyx? I gave it a try early on, didn't like it and then didn't 
want to switch. Still …

> I know this is probably a controversial issue on an OS X TeX list, but 
> in my opinion (from 15 years or so of intensive TeX use), however 
> convenient it may be for maths writing or for using a predefined 
> style, LaTeX has failed spectacularly in its aim to allow users to 
> concentrate on writing and free them from formatting. 

On the other hand, the difficult search for the perfect visual rendering 
of one's text can force one to re-evaluate one's ideas. It happened to 
me a few times. On the whole, though, I agree.


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