[OS X TeX] Imposing Latex on authors of articles
Anthony Morton
amorton at fastmail.fm
Tue Feb 26 19:57:08 EST 2008
> Many LaTeX-aware text editors have buttons and menus to help users
> put in the mathematical content correctly. I concur with some of the
> earlier posters that, despite the learning curve, maths is much
> easier to input in LaTeX than in Word.
That's also my experience. As I see it, the way mathematical formulae
are entered in LaTeX doesn't really deserve the bad rap it sometimes
gets. The logic of LaTeX formulae is identical to that of a good
equation editor; the only difference is it's expressed in a text
stream rather than through menu buttons (and as Luci says, with a good
front-end program you can still get the menu buttons if you want them).
Remember, for simple formulae you type them in pretty much as you
would in a casual email:
y = 3x + x^2.
If you need to put a formula under a square root sign, then in
Microsoft Equation Editor you would press the button for the square-
root template and type the formula inside the template. In LaTeX you
do the same thing, only instead of pressing a button you just type
\sqrt{} and put your formula inside the braces:
y = \sqrt{ 3x + x^2 }.
In TeXshop using the Latex panel, you press the square-root button and
that inserts the \sqrt{} for you and lets you start typing inside the
braces. Alternatively you select the formula you want to square-root
and it will get wrapped up inside the \sqrt{}.
And it works the same way for other constructs: fractions, sums,
integrals, superscripts and subscripts and so on.
Certainly the text medium takes some getting used to, but that's
usually just a passing phase. After a while you find that not only is
it quicker to compose an equation in LaTeX, it's also a lot easier to
rearrange later on. Suppose you've got a formula involving a fraction
A/B of two complicated expressions, and you then find what you really
want is 1/B out the front of the equation and just A in the middle -
this requires much care and effort in most equation editors but is a
relatively simple edit in LaTeX.
As often as not, any half-complicated edit in Microsoft Equation
Editor will leave me with a confusing mess of not-quite-deleted
characters on the screen.
Tony M.
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