
Displaying mathematics in word processors
Posted:
Jul 2, 1996 12:58 AM


I would be interested in hearing from readers about which wordprocessing packages are now available for representing mathematics, and how well they perform. The context here is to present mathematical expressions both within the text and in display format (ie between paragraphs), such as for publication in refereed journals.
A candidate should include all common mathematical symbols and also be able to represent *easily and neatly* multiline equations, multipart definitions, matrices, tables and partial differential equations, to take some common examples. To be really useful it should probably also include simple graphics and be able to display included PostScript files, but they aren't essential.
I've been using TeX/LaTeX(*) extensively for over ten years and it's been fantastic for loads of things but, to be brutally honest, I feel that in its current form it will soon be behind the "state of the art". Apart from the tidying up in LaTeX2e, it really hasn't been developed much since its inception. Despite this, I still find that it's the best way to present mathematics, which says much about Knuth's skill, but formatting the rest of the document it is more fiddly than in most modern WP packages. More recently I have used the "Equation Editor" to present mathematics in MS Word, both for a paper and for the corresponding Powerpoint presentation, and I found it powerful but very fiddly to get the spacing nice (and the fonts are also sometimes a little ugly). Also, sometimes what you see on the screen is different from what comes out of the printer. I feel sure that by now there must be something a bit better out there, combining the best of both worlds.
For example:
* Are there any other addons to MS Word (which is probably the market leader, and it also readily available to me) that do a better job than the EE? Has anyone designed anything that accepts and allows editing of TeXtype syntax for expressions in Word and displays them well on the screen? * Are there any other WYSIWYG mathematical word processors that do as well as TeX?
Perhaps this subject has arisen many times before, as I haven't been able to read this group for some time. If so, I'd appreciate receiving a summary of the responses.
[I'd prefer that this thread didn't just develop into a discussion on the many merits of TeX, or criticisms of my comments above, but I suppose that I can't really prevent that! However, it would be away from the intended track here, and not really productive.]
Michael
(*) I realise that strictly TeX is probably a textprocessing package and that LaTeX/AMSTeX are macro packages but, to keep things simple, I'll refer to them as WP packages here.  Michael Page  Mailto:map@hal.maths.monash.edu.au Mathematics Department  Phone/Fax: +61 3 9905 4486/3870 Monash University  ObMotto: Non carborundum illegitimi Australia  ObURL: http://www.maths.monash.edu.au/~map

