[texhax] Interaction with Scientific Word Documents and basic LaTeX questions

Thomas Jacobs thomasjacobs at gmail.com
Thu Jul 8 05:28:13 CEST 2010


Thanks very much for the detailed reply.  I also discovered that in
every paragraph the Scientific Word user applied any edits at all,
every double space I had placed between sentences is removed,
requiring me to go back and add them again.  I assume you are already
familiar with this.  It seems that without the \ operator, SW does not
permit anything but single spacing between sentences.

I am still uncertain whether my original document was returned to me
from Scientific Word in portable tex format already, since as you
describe, there were numerous commented areas and all I needed to do
for successful compile in TeXnicCenter was to comment out the input
tcilatex line.  Of course all the formatting tricks I use to improve
readability like inserting comments between text and footnotes or
equations was removed.  I will not bother going back to reenter all
those and will endeavor to do as much of the formatting myself as

Thanks again for you reply.


On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Barbara Beeton <bnb at ams.org> wrote:
> On Sun, 4 Jul 2010, Thomas Jacobs wrote:
>    Hi, I am a Windows MiKTeX user working in TeXnicCenter and have a
>    coauthor that is a Scientific Word user. [...]
> regarding scientific workplace, i've
> already read the comments by phil taylor
> and lars madsen.
> at tug 2010, i spoke with barry mackichan,
> the principal of mackichan, in turn the
> purveyors of scientific word/workplace.
> i mentioned to him that there are some
> misfeatures in sw that cause problems in
> production at the math society (my employer),
> and i will be in touch with the sw staff
> regarding these problems -- one of which
> is noted below.
>    [...]
>    1.  On working with a Scientific Word user the aforementioned post
>    indicated that they (the SW user) should save their document in
>    Portable LaTeX format.  Can anyone comment on whether there are other
>    things I should ask the coauthor to do in order to manage the editing
>    process with the least difficulty?
> try to persuade the author to learn a bit
> about latex.  even if the author never
> switches out of sw, this will still make
> it easier to understand what's going on.
>    2.  On simple LaTeX commands I was unable to find (no doubt my fault)
>    in either Kopka and Daly (2004) or Mittelbach and Goossens (2004):
>    a.  What is the purpose of a backslash without an appended command?
>    For example, I find them between all sentences as in this excerpt:
>    TIPS are coupon bonds that have been issued by the U.S. government since
>    1997. \ They are currently auctioned at 5-, 10-, and 30-year maturities. \
>    Unlike standard Treasury notes and bonds whose coupon and principal are
>    fixed dollar payments, TIPS make payments proportional to the Consumer Price
>    Index (CPI).
>    I have never seen this before and wondered what purpose it serves.
> this is the result of typing in multiple
> spaces.  if five spaces were typed, the
> result would be " \ \ \ \ ".
> i consider this a serious misfeature.  the
> probable reason for inserting the extra
> "\ "s is to allow a user to "space over"
> for indenting as on a typewriter.  i will
> try my best to convince the sw programming
> staff that this is a *bad* *idea*, but
> even if i succeed, it won't happen at once.
> it is probably best to reduce " \ " to a
> single space throughout any file produced
> with sw.  using a "search and replace
> selectively" function in a good editor is
> the safest way to do this, to avoid removing
> intentional multiple spaces in an essentially
> verbatim (monospace) environment.
>    b.  Does the following structure
>    &=&
>    serve to keep the = signs aligned in a multiline equation?  If not,
>    what do the & on each side of the equals sign do?
> as already pointed out, this is the required
> syntax for the eqnarray environment.  i will
> try to persuade the sw programmers that using
> the multi-line display structures of amsmath
> is a much better approach.  again, even if
> successful, it won't help you now.
> another "gotcha" is related to the use of
> "large operators" (integrals, products,
> co=products, etc.) in index terms.  the way
> sw works, it's necessary to determine the
> current environment (text or display) in
> order to use the correct size.  unfortunately,
> sw does this by way of a "choice" operation;
> it doesn't happen "natively" as it does in
> tex.  for this, the sw macro contains a lot
> of extra code that is commented out when the
> file is written out as "portable latex", with
> the result that, although the .idx file goes
> through makeindex with no problem, as soon as
> such an index term is encountered in running
> the index, it causes latex to crash with a
> "runaway argument", since the last part of
> the line is hidden behind a % sign.  another
> misfeature; this has been brought to the
> attention of the sw programmers, but no
> response yet.
> good luck.
>                                                -- bb

Thomas Jacobs

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