La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

LaTeX woes

I'm no computer dummy. Maybe I know just enough to be dangerous. In either case, the online documentation for LaTex (and related editors, interfaces, etc.) is maddeningly obfuscatory.

Since I have realized that I will be teaching the intro stats course for our master's students indefinitely, I have become convinced that it would help both them and me if my notes were electronic and online. A very nice colleague at the Methods meeting convinced me that LaTex was the way to go in the long-term (and shared some useful .tex files), but in the short-term, it's very frustrating. I suspect that I only want to use about 10% (or less) of LaTeX's functionality.

Why can't smart people write clear user's guides? Can anyone suggest an easy to use tutorial site?

Update: Lovely, just lovely.

Update2: It's becoming less murky.

posted by Michelle @ 9:47 PM,


At 8/02/2005 11:16 PM, Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

The trick to LaTeX is putting together templates that work for you and then reusing them. I have templates I've accreted for syllabi, papers (and other texty documents), PowerPoint-style slides, exams, and cover letters, and I just edit them as needed. (The second trick is to use some different fonts so your LaTeX documents don't look like everyone elses' LaTeX documents, reducing the "geek factor" significantly.)

But the initial hump is a bit of a pain. If you don't mind shelling out a few bucks, a book like A Guide to LaTeX can be very helpful.

At 8/02/2005 11:46 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks, Chris. I'll see if our 'brary has any books. In some ways, the 'geek factor' is good; it makes you part of a special geek club. :)

At 8/05/2005 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah screw it. Spend a hundred bucks to get math type for Word (the enhanced equation editor). I haven't found much I can't do in Word that I can do in LaTex beyond formula etc. Some of the journals also prefer non-latex files for final editing (AJPS- I think). If you really need the approval of the methods crowd, save your time, and shell out the $800 for Scientific Word. Your time is worth more than $20 dollars an hour, and you will be spending more than 40 hours figuring everything out, debugging, and otherwise screwing around with LaTex capabilities.

At 8/05/2005 8:11 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Thanks all, for your suggestions. I got the library book and played around some more. Also, downloaded the trial version of Sci Word and played with it.

Also, looked at other people's presentations of class notes to see how they do it, and several do .ppt with equation editor. Didn't know about math type for Word, but will look.

I'll decide in the next day or two and post it. I just keep poking around 20 min here or there.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Mexico City slideshow

Go to main page:

La Profesora Abstraída

About me:

Name: Michelle Dion
Location: Toronto, ON
View my complete profile
View my website

traducir este pagina

Previous Posts

Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?