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Topic: Displaying mathematics in word processors
Replies: 16   Last Post: Jul 12, 1996 7:50 PM

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Michael Page

Posts: 6
Registered: 12/12/04
Displaying mathematics in word processors
Posted: Jul 2, 1996 12:58 AM
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I would be interested in hearing from readers about which word-processing
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* multi-line equations, multi-part
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 add-ons 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 TeX-type 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.]


(*) I realise that strictly TeX is probably a text-processing package and
that LaTeX/AMSTeX are macro packages but, to keep things simple, I'll
refer to them as WP packages here.
Michael Page ----------------------
Mathematics Department --------------- Phone/Fax: +61 3 9905 4486/3870
Monash University ---------------- ObMotto: Non carborundum illegitimi
Australia ----------------- ObURL:

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