[OS X TeX] An article about LaTeX and word processors
will.adams at frycomm.com
Fri Feb 3 07:46:26 EST 2017
On Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 3:45 AM, Tine Wilde <message at tinewilde.com> wrote:
> There is another up to now unmentioned advantage of crucial importance to
> the use of LaTeX: it structures the way in which you want to say things. It
> is exactly because you have to understand (a little bit) how LaTeX works
> and, by consequence, have to think things over before you start writing
> that the advantages of LaTeX over MS Word become abundantly clear.
> Tine W.
> > On 3 Feb 2017, at 00:56, Anthony Morton <amorton at fastmail.fm> wrote:
> >> Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve used MS Word many times in the past (I
> worked for a while in an all-PC office). My experience caused me to learn
> to avoid MS Word. MSWord is not even on my MacBook Pro; I use Pages for
> some documents when necessary. At one point in my career, the contract I
> was working on required me to write a long, complex technical report using
> MS Word. I rebelled and convinced the sponsor to accept LaTeX, which I used
> > While I haven’t seen any of the prior criticism of this paper (in PLoS
> One, so minimally reviewed), the flaws are pretty clear just from a skim
> > The experimental environment is contrived, to say the least. People
> were given half an hour to reproduce one page of what we used to call
> “camera ready copy” based on an unfamiliar style guide. Of course in LaTeX
> this means first fiddling round to get the correct detail formatting of
> headings, tables and so on. In Word you just rejig the font sizes, table
> column widths and turn borders on or off, which for a one-page document is
> easy - you’re not faced with doing it over and over for all the 50 headings
> and 20 tables across an entire document.
> > After all, the whole point with LaTeX is you do the hard work once to
> sort out your document style (or more often, just grab the style template
> from a publisher) and then write all your texts with the template sorting
> out the formatting niceties for you. The efficiency comes from replicating
> the style beautifully across multiple documents, and across multiple
> sections and tables within the one document, with hardly any further work.
> A one-off exercise based on a single page in an unfamiliar style is
> guaranteed to show LaTeX in the worst possible light.
> > Nonetheless, despite the setup being stacked against LaTeX, it still
> allowed people to demonstrate higher productivity as soon as mathematics
> enters the picture - the results for LaTeX were superior to Word on the
> text that included equations. Of course, that’s why people much more
> readily acknowledge the utility of LaTeX for mathematical writing than for
> production of well-formatted texts in general.
> > Tony M.
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