[OS X TeX] On the "Typeset" menu

cfrees at imapmail.org cfrees at imapmail.org
Tue Dec 16 12:40:34 EST 2008

On Tue 16th Dec, 2008 at 12:29, Josep Maria Font seems to have written:

> This might be considered as a "feature request" for TeXShop, but it is a 
> rather conceptual issue, so I think it is worth discussing on the list (since 
> I may certainly be misguided). I have been wanting to comment on this for 
> some years:
> To my taste, the "Typeset" menu is not logically organized, and the way its 
> keyboard shortcuts work are not entirely practical.
> Currently, the Typeset menu gathers several different functions:
> - Choosing among several TeX "formats" (in TeX language): plain, LaTeX, etc.
> - Choosing the "typsetting engine" (in TeXShop's dialect): pdf, TeX and 
> ghostcript, personal script.
> - Making TeX run on the source file.
> - Making one of the additional tools run: BibTeX, MakeIndex, MetaPost, 
> MetaFont.
> Some of the items in the menu just choose a certain option, others besides 
> make it run on the source file (and leave it selected). Some of the items 
> have a keyboard shortcut, and some can be inserted as a button on the source 
> file toolbar. There is one shortcut, command-T, that changes its behaviour: 
> it seems to run the item that was run for the last time, be it a TeX format 
> or one of the other tools.
> For me, this mixture and behaviour are not only conceptually confusing, but 
> also inconvenient in practice. I hope I am able to explain why.
> Conceptually:
> - In TeX world, I always thought "to typeset" meant to run (some variant of) 
> TeX. Running other programs such as BibTeX should not appear under the same 
> menu, and selecting one of them should not affect the selection of TeX 
> program.
> - One thing is to choose the "method" (pdf or not, etc.) and quite a 
> different one to choose the "format" (plain, LaTeX, etc.). I have not been 
> following closely the latest developments, but I am aware that there are new 
> things such as ConTeXt and XeTeX, and there exists the possibility of 
> building "personal engines" incorporating many things; I am not sure how 
> these should be classified.
> Practically: In the usual workflow of the common user (not the developper or 
> the expert), I think one selects a method and format (or an engine) and works 
> with these in a stable way (at least on a per document basis): Typesetting 
> will always mean running the same method and format. So it is very useful 
> that command-T is available to run one's selection. But then one may use, 
> say, BibTeX or MakeIndex, and it is good they have their own shortcuts or 
> toolbar buttons. But after running them one *forcefully needs* to run TeX 
> again (often two or more times) in order to get the final result ... and now 
> it happens that one cannot hit command-T again! Running MakeIndex has caused 
> the selection of "format" in the menu to actually change to MakeIndex, and 
> command-T now runs it, until one chooses LaTeX manually (or with its own 
> shortcut, or button). This is both conceptually wrong (MakeIndex is not an 
> alternative to LaTeX, etc.) and practically annoying (recently, I had to 
> manually edit the .ind file after running MakeIndex, and then command-T did 
> not typeset but run MakeIndex again, thus loosing all the changes...).
> I think by now you all understand what I mean. So here comes my proposal:
> - Call this menu "TeX" (or "Run" or "Go"... )
> - Divide it into two main sections (or three or four):

My menu is divided into three sections:
- "Typeset" (run)
- format/tool selection
- engine selection
I assume yours doesn't appear this way?

What might be helpful would be to create a fourth section and divide
the format/tool selection into
- formats (TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, MetaPost, MetaFont)
- supplementary tools (BibTeX, MakeIndex)

> - "Typeset": Selection and running of formats, methods, engines.
> - "Tools": Run, independently, any of the other tools (BibTeX, MakeIndex, 
> etc.).
> - In the Typeset sub-menu, separate the selection of format and method or 
> engine from the running of it. As for the shortcut, a single shortcut should 
> be enough: Command-T should always mean "typeset using the selected format 
> and method or engine".

Which version of TeXShop do you have? Older versions behaved as you
describe but the current one doesn't for me. If I run BibTeX and then
command-T it switches back to (pdf)LaTeX.

> - Also, in the Typeset sub-menu, separate the selection of format from the 
> selection of method. It is not clear to me where the engines should be 
> incorporated, as they may be comprehensive selections of all the items, 
> including also other tools, etc.
> If space is available these two sub-menus might rather be two independent 
> menus: "Typeset" and "Tools". This might perhaps facilitate the organization 
> of the first one.

Personally, I would dislike any proliferation of menus. Some of us have
12" screens - I already end up with hidden stuff on the menu bar
underneath the TeXShop menus. An addition would just exacerbate the

Also, it isn't clear to me why some should be called "Typeset" and some
"Tools". If the menu was split, I think this would need to be thought
through a little more. ("Format" - plain tex,  latex, context - vs.
"Typeset" - everything else? Certainly "Typeset" seems the obvious
place to look for the engines including tools such as BibTeX etc.)

> There are other mechanisms that also influence in typesetting: One is the 
> possibility of specifiying formats, methods and engines (and other parameters 
> such as root files, input enconding, etc.) at the beginning of the source 
> file, with the %%!TEX mechanism, which overrides the selections in the menu. 
> The other are the items in the "Macros" menu that contain complete engines 
> (there is also a mixing of functions in the Macros menu: some are editor 
> macros, other are typest macros, others are file management macros... but 
> this is less important, I think). In principle it seems these do not affect 
> the issue I am discussing here, but ...
> So what you think ? And, is it feasible ? Sorry for not being able to 
> contribute in the programming, I am just a user...
> A final point: The item for the toolbar that contains a "typeset" menu shows 
> some formats not appearing in the "Typeset" menu: XeTeX and XeLaTeX. Is this 
> a bug or a feature ? And why it does not show the choice between pdf or 
> not... ?

They should appear unless you updated from an older version without
following the instructions for ensuring you got the updated engines,
macros etc. :) They say you have to do it before first running the new
version but this isn't true. Just quit TeXShop, follow them and
restart. I didn't read them until after running it either, so I know
this order works!

- cfr

> Excuse me, I was too verbose for explaining such a simple idea, I know. 
> Sorry. Hope this helps!
> JMaF

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