LaTeX

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Digital
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Postby Digital » Thu May 07, 2009 3:01 pm

Scot wrote:Of course, I'm also probably one of the last ones to do that- Word templates were released shortly afterwards, not that I would have ever touched those! :)


I actually learned a bit of TeX, not LaTeX. I found it to be a bit of a novelty, but it was too much work to try and do a full paper in it. Unless the equations got really complex, it was easy enough to do it in Word with the equation editor. Easier, even, since equation editor was more interactive. I had a friend that did everything in LaTeX, so to each his own.

I seem to recall we used to use Mathematica to do the really complex stuff. Mind you, as an aerospace engineer, some of our stuff was pretty far out there when you were deep in fluid dynamics.

Surprisingly, you can get very complex with Word and Excel if you really want to. I've had the fortune (or misfortune) to become intimately knowledgeable about their capabilities. (For instance, did you know that the numbering format window is not just word giving you six options, but displaying the six simultaneous numbering systems it can maintain at once? Neither did I until I used five of them in one document.)

tanthalas
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Postby tanthalas » Thu May 07, 2009 7:15 pm

Digital wrote:I actually learned a bit of TeX, not LaTeX. I found it to be a bit of a novelty, but it was too much work to try and do a full paper in it. Unless the equations got really complex, it was easy enough to do it in Word with the equation editor. Easier, even, since equation editor was more interactive. I had a friend that did everything in LaTeX, so to each his own.


I've written 20+ page papers in Word (with diagrams, citations, and such) and my thesis in LaTex, and I've found that both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The WYSIWYG part of Word is pretty nice, but dealing with layouts on Word is much more of a pain, especially when you have diagrams. On the other hand, LaTeX gives you fairly little to no control over diagram placement (or at least, I never figured out how to...) but it does the job on its own fairly well. Also, LaTeX's built-in citation track-keeping thing is just awesome when you're writing something that has a ton of references, and LaTeX-produced papers just *look* better. :D

So while I'm obviously biased towards LaTeX, I actually would use Word for most everyday stuff unless I have a task big enough to justify using LaTeX. TeXShop on Mac is really awesome, by the way, and makes the whole editing process much easier.

Digital
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Postby Digital » Thu May 07, 2009 9:29 pm

tanthalas wrote:The WYSIWYG part of Word is pretty nice, but dealing with layouts on Word is much more of a pain, especially when you have diagrams.


Spend enough time with Word, and you'll eventually understand how it works. I agree it's not always intuitive, and it mostly comes from experience. You build enough 100-page+ documents with complex figures, graphs, and tables, and you'll be an expert in the end. There truly is a "right way" and a "wrong way" when working in Word, and while I don't always agree with it, knowing the difference can make life easier.

As I recall, the same thing can be said about TeX/LaTeX.

tanthalas
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Postby tanthalas » Thu May 07, 2009 9:54 pm

Haha, in high school I was a crazy Word expert compared to most my peers. The only real difference was that I knew how tables worked and nobody else knew that they existed. It was glorious!

Digital
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Postby Digital » Fri May 08, 2009 4:06 am

I avoided tables for years. Now I could format just about anything with them. Not a skill I'll be highlighting on my resume.

Fred
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Postby Fred » Sat May 09, 2009 1:30 am

Digital wrote:Spend enough time with Word, and you'll eventually understand how it works. I agree it's not always intuitive...

You can say that again! I have yet to meet anybody who really understood how to properly use styles with multi-level outlines. I'm also not a big fan of using Word instead of a desktop publishing tool for complex layouts (and I leave that to others).

Digital
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Postby Digital » Sun May 10, 2009 2:38 am

Fred wrote:I have yet to meet anybody who really understood how to properly use styles with multi-level outlines.


I guess if we ever meet, you'll know one. And I could introduce you to a few others, but not many. Consultants do too many documents.

Fred
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Postby Fred » Mon May 11, 2009 3:11 am

Digital wrote:
Fred wrote:I have yet to meet anybody who really understood how to properly use styles with multi-level outlines.


I guess if we ever meet, you'll know one. And I could introduce you to a few others, but not many. Consultants do too many documents.


If we ever meet, I'm not going to waste your time, or mine, on MS Word trivia--I promise! :D

Digital
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Postby Digital » Mon May 11, 2009 3:16 pm

Fred wrote:If we ever meet, I'm not going to waste your time, or mine, on MS Word trivia--I promise! :D


I'm quite happy if it never comes up!


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