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Latex vs. MS Word/MathType

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  1. May 29, 2005 #1
    I'm in the process of getting Latex running on my system but I've been wondering whether I should. I read articles from all over the net but I still can't find solid reasons why I should use Latex as opposed to MS Word with MathType. Does anyone have solid reasons why it is better, apart from the fact that it is loved by scientists?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2005 #2
    With latex one can directly write the text in the same style as it is printed in journals or many books.
     
  4. May 29, 2005 #3
    LaTeX will obviously require you to learn a lot of code and how to format them. For example, with LaTeX you may know how to insert an integral, but maybe not how to insert all of the arguments. MathType has templates for the same math expressions and provides boxes where arguments are needed so you know if you're missing something. MathType has the same style as textbooks and journals since it is identical to LaTeX. Why not just download a trial and test it out?
     
  5. May 29, 2005 #4
    is mathtype like lyx or some other "latex-editor"?
     
  6. May 29, 2005 #5
    "MathType is an intelligent mathematical equation editor designed for personal computers running Microsoft Windows or the Apple MacOS. It’s an application that allows you to create complex equations through simple point-and-click techniques, and then use them in documents, Web pages, or markup-based systems like ATEXL and MathML. Using MathType in conjunction with a word-processing, page-layout, or graphics application, you can easily create tests and class notes, technical reports, view-graphs, research papers, dissertations, slides, and even entire books. MathType is also the professional version of the Equation Editor that comes with Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect and many other popular applications, and provides a seamless upgrade to the capabilities found in Equation Editor."
     
  7. May 29, 2005 #6

    PerennialII

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    ... sounds pretty accurate, I personally do most of my stuff nowadays with Mathtype (speed and to some extent compatibility), but save "serious" stuff for LaTeX. Mathtype exceeds the capabilities of the standard equation editor (e.g. in Windows office) easily, but IMO LaTeX is still the real deal with respect to appearance and "performance".
     
  8. May 29, 2005 #7
    Yes, I agree. Nothing beats LaTeX but when it comes to speed, I'd go MathType.
     
  9. May 29, 2005 #8

    robphy

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    LaTeX is free. LaTeX is portable, running on many platforms. LaTeX is written in plain text... and doesn't need a fancy editor to modify it.

    Note that http://www.dessci.com/en/products/texaide/ is free...
    and can paste LaTeX in a .tex file and an image of the equation (as a Windows Metafile image) into Word or PowerPoint.
     
  10. May 30, 2005 #9
    This TeXaide program gives you the best of both worlds. I would still setup latex/mitex for whatever reason. It is perfect the way it is but maybe an integrated environment should be created where you just work like you do in MS Word. By the way, is there such a all-in-one program?
     
  11. May 30, 2005 #10

    Dr Transport

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    A vary nice implementation of LaTeX and an associated gui for a Microsoft box is Techniccenter: www.toolscenter.org

    I have used it in the past and was very happy with it. Incidentally, I used Word with Mathtype for my doctral dissertatioon, fought the formating all the time, after my advisor made changes I converted everything over to tex, reworked all the equations and put out a final product which looked much better than anyone elses that year at my school. I found that Mathtype didn't handle the complex equations very well.
     
  12. May 30, 2005 #11

    Hurkyl

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    You mean the TeXnicCenter! :smile: I agree, it seems to be a good IDE.
     
  13. May 30, 2005 #12
    I decided to try out TeXnicCenter with the MiKTeX package and I think it's exemplar! The documents look great. How is this program free?!
     
  14. May 30, 2005 #13

    Dr Transport

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    If only I could find a free gui driven plotting program that exports to .eps. Any suggestions??? While we are on the subject of LaTeX........
     
  15. May 30, 2005 #14
    Are you using windows or *nix?

    If your using *nix you can get xmgrace and it works good.
     
  16. May 30, 2005 #15

    Dr Transport

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    I alternate between *nix and Windows. I'll try xmgrace on my *nix box, but I cannot use one at work, so I need a decent windows software also.
     
  17. May 30, 2005 #16

    robphy

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    Can you install cygwin on your Windows box?
    http://x.cygwin.com/
     
  18. May 31, 2005 #17

    ZapperZ

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    Mathtype is the full-blown version of Equation Editor, I think. I also believe It is also capable of converting the equation into LaTex code. I know many people who type their complicated equations using it, convert them to LaTex, and then cut-and-paste into their LaTex document.

    Zz.
     
  19. May 31, 2005 #18
    I finished setting up TeXnicCenter, Miktex, Ghostscript and Ghostview. I must say it gives you the kind of feeling you get when you leave VB and move to C++.
     
  20. Jan 7, 2009 #19

    tpg

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    Mathtype is not identical to LaTeX, and has a distinctly different style. In my opinion, the symbols look messy in comparison to the Computer Modern font used by default by LaTeX.

    For a very nice LaTeX frontend, take a look at LyX (http://www.lyx.org" [Broken]). Whilst knowing the fundamental structure of LaTeX is sometimes useful, it is by no means essential, and amongst many other benefits makes typing formulae as easy as in MathType. Best of all, it's free and open source, as well as cross-platform.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  21. Jan 12, 2009 #20
    Okay, I am searching for the answer to this as well for my thesis. I am batteling with my advisors that I can be competent enough in MS Word to create a document in less time and with less headaches than it does in LaTex. I have been using word for ages, and I consider myself a fairly advanced user, even though with 2007, there are still a ton of new things I need to re-learn how to do. I am convinced that MS Word 2007 along with the latest MathType is good enough to use for professional documents. I think if someone can invest the time learning LaTex, I think I can spend less time learning the advanced tools of MS Office 2007 and be similarly competent in something which has a greater future and more useful in the outside world.
     
  22. Jan 12, 2009 #21

    tpg

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    If you intend producing papers for scientific publications in the future, I would recommend learning LaTeX, as it is almost a standard across different publications, so the time spent learning would be well invested. Else I'm sure you could manage fine with Word. As a compromise, you could try LyX (as I mentioned above) - it greatly lessens the learning curve.

    I don't think it is a fair comparison to say the Word has a "greater future" than LaTeX, as they function in very different ways, and in my opinion are not greatly in competition with each other.
     
  23. Jan 12, 2009 #22
    What other functions, other than math equations does LaTex bring to the document creation process? What does people in other fields use? Fields which does not need the intense math equations. What editor does people who write books write in? I know LaTex is EXTREMELY powerful, so is C/C++. C++ can be even used to create some of the old MS Office programs, but just because it is so powerful does not mean that the end user will go use C++ to create their documents. What other options does people in other fields have?
     
  24. Jan 12, 2009 #23

    tpg

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    On a fundamental level, the design of LaTeX means that the user will write down a document semantically, rather than deal with formatting directly. That is, you would never set something as "bold, size 14", but as a "heading". These tags are then tied to a 'style' template, of which you will most often use ones built-in to LaTeX (alternatively your department may have their own). Moreover, all spacing is calculated when the finished document is generated, meaning that very little intervention is required to end up with a professionally laid-out document. There is also extensive cross-referencing and Bibliographic support, very useful for longer documents.

    LaTeX can of course be used in other fields, although I don't believe it is that common. Whilst many scientific textbooks are written in LaTeX (one sign is the use of the 'computer modern' typeface), in other fields it would depend on the publisher.
     
  25. Jan 12, 2009 #24
    I do not understand the spacing that you speak about, but doesnt MS Word have 'style' templates as well? You create a style called heading, which contains "bold, size 14", and for all headings, you just click "Heading". With this, you add a "table of contents" and it automatically number your table of contents for you. I am wondering if MS Word 2007 supports any plugins other than MathType would would automate any other short comings it may have. With a little time invested, I can become a professional Word 2007 user in no time. I have mastered previous versions of MS Word before.
     
  26. Jan 21, 2009 #25
    So, what program does people in other professions use to produce documents?
     
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