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Thread: Word Processing Software

  1. #1
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    Word Processing Software

    So im a Electric Engineer Student and im looking for a word processing software.. I been using Open Office/ MS Office for long time, so far is been working fine. But i see all this posts about Latex.. What is the benefit of it for a Engineer student?? do you guys have examples of a document created in MS Word compared with the same one created in Latex???

    Also whats the difference between Latex and Lyx???

  2. #2
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Hello, Supermiguel. I'm a (Dutch) Electrical Engineering student and I prefer to use LyX for my documents. LyX is a graphical LaTeX environment which makes it much simpler to create documents for beginners who don't know most of the LaTeX commands. Usually pure text-only LaTeX is fed into a 'compiler' that generates a dvi/pdf file.
    The advantage LaTeX gives (to me), is that all you have to do is type your work and not worry about the layout (and figure/table numbering/toc!) of the document. LaTeX takes care of all that. Another main benefit would be the easy to use mathematical equations. It also works really well with MatLab figures.
    Last edited by Cilph; August 15th, 2010 at 04:24 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    To get an idea of what it looks like you could check the LaTeX wikipedia page. Personally I prefer to use LaTeX in the classical way, writing the code myself. In the beginning this is a bit slow, but as you get used to it, I think it is more efficient to just keep writing instead of needing to go to menus and such. But to each his own of course. If you use an editor like Kile or TeXmaker a lot of the commands can be found in menus as well. Sometimes this can be nice if you need something you don't use very often and kinda forgot.

    One of the main advantages was pointed out by Cilph. When you specify properly what is what in your text, like sections, figures and so on... there is not need to worry about crossreferences, citations and similar. Another nice advantage is the output. TeX produces much nicer output than any word processor imho. I remember looking at some comparison of a document in word and TeX a long time ago, I couldn't find it write now, but will post the link later if I can find it.

    To get a good overview of LaTeX I would suggest to check "the not so short introduction to latex"
    http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info...ish/lshort.pdf

  4. #4
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by FreeTheBee View Post
    To get an idea of what it looks like you could check the LaTeX wikipedia page. Personally I prefer to use LaTeX in the classical way, writing the code myself. In the beginning this is a bit slow, but as you get used to it, I think it is more efficient to just keep writing instead of needing to go to menus and such. But to each his own of course. If you use an editor like Kile or TeXmaker a lot of the commands can be found in menus as well. Sometimes this can be nice if you need something you don't use very often and kinda forgot.

    One of the main advantages was pointed out by Cilph. When you specify properly what is what in your text, like sections, figures and so on... there is not need to worry about crossreferences, citations and similar. Another nice advantage is the output. TeX produces much nicer output than any word processor imho. I remember looking at some comparison of a document in word and TeX a long time ago, I couldn't find it write now, but will post the link later if I can find it.

    To get a good overview of LaTeX I would suggest to check "the not so short introduction to latex"
    http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/info...ish/lshort.pdf
    So you just use a regular tex editor like gedit, and then run pdflatex or something like that?
    Last edited by SuperMiguel; August 15th, 2010 at 05:26 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    i like latex because it means i dont have to worry about formatting, it is done very well automatically.

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX is also a good reference.

    and an example: see the templates at http://accelconf.web.cern.ch/accelco.../templates.htm
    if you download the 4 files in the latex column, and run
    Code:
    latex JACoW2009A4.tex
    latex JACoW2009A4.tex
    dvips JACoW2009A4.dvi
    then you will get a postscript file. (latex needs to be run twice to get all its numbering correct)
    Last edited by ssam; August 15th, 2010 at 06:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by ssam View Post
    i like latex because it means i dont have to worry about formatting, it is done very well automatically.

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX is also a good reference.
    what latex editor you guys use??

  7. #7
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Here is a comparison of LaTeX, MS Word and OOo, if you scroll down a bit there is a pdf with the different outputs (at the The Document) section. It is not the one I had in mind though.
    http://oestrem.com/thingstwice/?p=65

    You can use any editor, but some are more convenient than others. There are several editors specialised in LaTeX, such as TeXmaker, TeXworks and Kile. In windows I used Winedt and in Ubuntu Kile. Recently I started to use gVim with the vim-latex package, as I thought this could be a nice cross platform alternative.

    You could use gedit as well. There is a LaTeX plugin for it, which makes life a little easier. Among other things, it adds compile buttons.

  8. #8
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Will read that..

    Im also trying to run this on my Mac, running OSX, the only editors i find are TeXShop and Lyx (on lyx i cant get the spell checker) on TeXShop i cant even find a spell checker..
    Last edited by SuperMiguel; August 15th, 2010 at 06:16 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperMiguel View Post
    what latex editor you guys use??
    i use vim. i have it set to do syntax highlighting and spell checking. i have a Makefile with the build commands in. i use bzr for version control. i use texwordcount for word counting.

  10. #10
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    Re: Word Processing Software

    as you notice already i never used Latex before.. I may want to put it first on my mac, and then in my ubuntu box.

    So whats the easiest way (program wise) to get stared on Latex on OSX?

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