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From the Readers


How does one join the TeX user group?

[Please see for information and a link to the membership form. -Ed.]


Dear editor,

I am a beginner in using LaTeX to write a paper. Will you please give me an example of preparing a journal paper (double spaced, one column, 12pt, etc).

Thanks a lot in advance!

Regards, Haixia Zhang

[Editor's note: Several members of our editorial board discussed this request. There were a few main thoughts:

  • Many journals already have their own LaTeX style. Google on "LaTeX journal style" to find several examples. The first thing Haixia Zhang should do is ask if the journal he has in mind has an existing style file.
  • Double-spaced is a style that was used with "traditional" typewritten submissions. The LaTeX journal styles that we know of don't use this.
  • An interesting question worthy of a future TPJ journal article is how to maximize portability among journal styles as an author repeatedly submits his or her paper until a journal accepts it.
If you would like to write an article on the subject of the last point above, please contact the editors at]


Dear Sir/Madam,

I very much liked the article by Stephen Hartke on Free Math Fonts [in issue 2006-1 (]. It seems like almost all the fonts have only LaTeX support and not Plain TeX support. Would it be possible for those of us who prefer Plain TeX to prevail upon the font authors to make header files such that we Plain TeX-ies can use their Math Fonts too?

This is even more necessary now that LaTeX has moved forward and offers limited support for LaTeX 2.09 and earlier. And an article by Michael Spivak in your journal showed that there are people who don't wish to use LaTeX, for whatever reasons.

Sincerely yours, Jesse Deutsch

[A response from Karl Berry: (1) Plain TeX has no standard macros for font support, so it is not entirely clear what to provide. (2) Font authors are almost certainly not going to be able to help address the writer's desire, as they are busy making fonts and many of them probably do not use plain TeX. However, they would probably welcome such a contribution. If there are certain font families of particular interest, please email and we can see if a plain TeX volunteer can be found to work on it.]


[Editor's note: the following note is in reference to the third Ask Nelly question in issue 2006-2 (]

Dear Sir,

I believe that the mdwlist package has options for suspending and resuming list environments. Maybe is worthwhile to mention it in your column.

Yours sincerely, Rafael Pappalardo


[Editor's note: the following notes is in reference to the article by D.V.L.K.D.P. Venugopal in issue 2006-2 (]

Dear Sir,

Very good. An excellent way to structure a lecture series.

Sincerely, Keith Jones


[Editor's note: we are unsure which article in issue 2006-2 the following note refers to. We tried to clarify it but without success. We guess it refers to the article by Hlavacek on Ipe (]

Dear Sirs,

This article really helped me out with the different image possibilities with LaTeX under MS Windows.

But I still had problems finding a suitable MS Windows tool to incorporate .eps until I found and installed The Gimp for MS. It would be helpful if you could update section 5 of your paper by indicating that there is a version of The Gimp for Windows!

Regards, Laurent Peckels


Issue 2006-2 of The PracTeX Journal reprinted a an opinion piece from OSNews by Andy Roberts (, and the reprint included responses to the author after the piece's original publication.

[OSNews reader:] For horizontal spacing issues, however, you have the reverse problem: LaTeX would rather overrun a right margin than leave too much space between words. (The infamous "overfull hbox", whose black slug indicating an error certain styles remove, incidentally, even in draft mode... grrrr) I'm not sure why Knuth thought an overrun was such a better idea than extra whitespace in an hbox, while extra white space was preferable to an overrun in a vbox, but the result in many published papers, and even some books, has been ugly. It certainly does not look professional, but the only way to fix it is to do some really obscure TeXing, or else completely rephrase your wording (the universal fallback I've seen in all LaTeX manuals).

I don't see how one would term

Stuff which one wants typeset in a fashion which will allow ugliness....
as "really obscure", or just use \sloppy (hopefully with a matching \fussy).
[Another OSNews reader:] It is insanely difficult to get text paragraphs to flow around arbitrarily shaped inserts.

Try using \usepackage{shapepar} and draw up the desired shape in xfig.

[OSNews reader:] For ultra-high-end artistic typesetting (think of Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style), LaTeX is probably not the best tool, although with some of the experimental micro-typography additions to pdftex it is 99% of the way there.

Actually, pdftex would've typeset that much better, and Peter Wilson's memoir class shows as an example how to achieve that pagestyle -- I still find it reprehensible that it's advocated hanging punctuation since the first edition (though that index entry vanished from the second) yet only used it on the back cover (of the second edition).

I'm also endlessly amused by Quark and InDesign users who decry my usage of TeX or LaTeX, claiming that features I find essential or useful are not important -- until Quark or InDesign gains said feature at which point they crow about it endlessly.

The person wanting OLE TeX equations could look into how Mac OS X and one of the Equation Service programs interact -- should be possible to achieve something like to that in Windows.

William Adams
Mechanicsburg, PA


[From Tom Colson regarding the Andy Roberts LaTeX article (]

I would have graduated a year earlier had I read this....


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