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What do you do when you have spent considerable effort finessing your resume in TeX and a recruiter asks you for your resume in MS-Word?

Do you:

  1. Spend the time to produce something that looks half as good as the TeXed result,
  2. Ignore the openings advertised by that recruiter, or
  3. Somehow convert the resume to a draft in Word that you then edit?

If you take the third approach, please share what you do.

I've used Word over the years when someone had been passing a form that needed filling, but I have yet to learn the actual basics, hence my question.

Let me comment here on the answers to benefit from the ability to format

Solution: Use TeX4ht's htlatex

A resume is likely to use either tabbing or tabular environments extensively. If you run htlatex on the file:

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\begin{tabbing}   Job A {\centering Years A} \` Company A \\   Job B {\centering Years B} \` Company B \\ \end{tabbing}

\begin{tabular}{lcr}   Job 1 & Years 1 & Company 1 \\   Job 2 & Years 2 & Company 2 \\ \end{tabular}

\end{document}

You will find that tabular is handled correctly, but tabbing is not.

Solution: Use online conversion tools

One did indeed produce a decent output, but it would be nice to know that the web site is not run by a marketer, a spammer, or worse. Sites that provide a program to download to one's own computer reduce somewhat this worry.

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5  
It's not really possible to convert a LaTeX document to Word. See all the relevant questions: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/word-to-latex –  Martin Scharrer Dec 19 '11 at 22:38
23  
I would use option 4. "Send the PDF", which should be just as acceptable. –  Peter Grill Dec 19 '11 at 22:39
5  
for camera-ready conference proceedings where organizers insisted on a word doc, I have in the past split my pdf file into individual pages (using pdftk - a linux program, there is probably a windows equivalent), converted each page to an image (using ghostscript or imagemagick with a high resolution setting) and created a word file where each page contained one of the images. A bit tedious and resulting in a large doc file, but quite doable for a few pages. As your recruiter should not need to edit your resume, this might be an option. –  prettygully Dec 19 '11 at 23:32
    
@prettygully: I remember creating a PowerPoint presentation once using a similar technique from a Beamer presentation. It opens in the corresponding software, but it's not really a full document in that format, IMHO. The recruiter might have issues with that. –  Martin Scharrer Dec 20 '11 at 14:25
3  
Actually, original question is not precise and could be split in two questions. a. How do you go from .tex -> .doc which is conversion of the markup into the proprietary binary blob format. The second question is how do you convert .tex->.docx which is conversion of markup into the XML markup + XML style sheets (of course zipped to make your life more miserable). The first question is not worth answering even thoug antiword gives decent TeX output so if the developer is reading this he could make a comment. The second question is very good! I would like to see the answers from real experts. –  Predrag Punosevac Feb 4 '12 at 15:42

8 Answers 8

I have used htlatex as part of a conversion from tex to MS Word document format with great success.

Run this in a command window from the directory where the .tex file to convert is located.

  1. C:\Documents htlatex Myresume.tex "html,word"

    This will produce the html file, Myresume.html and a CSS stylesheet.

  2. Open Myresume.html in MS Word.

  3. Change the view to "Print View".

  4. Save it as a Word Document.

  5. Edit the Word version as necessary. This is usually not too painful.

  6. Save your changes.

The htlatex word option causes tex4ht to build an HTML file tailored for better results with MS Word.

I'm using MiKTeX 2.9.

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An alternative to htlatex is latex2rtf, though I can't say it would do a much better job. This kind of problem usually befalls people who are submitting a research paper to a journal. In that situation, if you have a very long research paper, your best bet is to start with htlatex or latex2rtf, have the source code for either of those programs ready, and do your best to add in functionality that is not available. If you are proficient in LaTeX you can probably figure out how to make some very cosmetic changes to a C program, even if you don't know C. I have had to resort to this option for preparing a longish research paper composed in .tex with extensive cross-referencing and a large amount of specially-aligned text.

If it is just a resume, I'd say it's not worth half the trouble, and you should either retype it in Word or alter the code so that it plays well with htlatex or latex2rtf, and save yourself time.

However, I think the most practical advice is @PolGab's, because everyone has a PDF reader on their computers nowadays, and I don't know why a recruiter would care if you send a PDF vs. a Word file. I just recalled that many larger firms like to have digitized resumes upon which they perform keyword searches, so they can, for example, pull up all the resumes of someone who speaks Spanish. I am guessing that if they ask for the resume in a certain format they want to put it in to their keyword-search database, which I am supposing is geared towards reading in MS-Word files.

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1  
It's mandatory to complain about the journal to the top editors or other people and ask specifically for a .cls file that would produce the end product. The more people complain the faster they will stop asking for Word file. The journal exists thanks to the authors and this snob journal attitude cannot be accepted. So this conversion scheme is doing more harm than good in the scientific context. We have managed to get to an aggreement with at least 2 journals so everybody should force the journals to quit using a commercial (an expensive one too) product for preparing articles. –  percusse Jul 21 '12 at 18:48
    
@percusse I like the idea of pushing back against the journals. –  jlovegren Jul 21 '12 at 20:48

A thorough comparison between several programs is given here. For this question (heavy formatting, but with no need for bibtex or any particularly advanced tex/latex features), the best approach does seem to be be to go through pdf.

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If you think the recruiter will evaluate you on how your Word document is designed, obviously choose the first solution and design a nice Word document.

If you think the recruiter will read your resume only if it is made by computer (he thinks that everyone uses Word), choose the second option and provide a PDF.

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One of the potential solutions is to use Able2Extract, a pdf to ms-word conversion tool. The file generated is in Rich Text Format (rtf), not doc/docx, but ms-word reads it fine.

The formatting of the text is fine, but neither italics nor boldface survives the translation.

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Try pandoc-1.9 which has been just released.

You need to install the Haskell platform and then do:

cabal update

cabal install pandoc

To convert CV.tex to CV.docx type

pandoc --from latex CV.tex --to docx --output CV.docx

You would still need to hand-tweak the docx file but will be spared a lot of the pain in the process.

HTH.

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Pandoc handles a simple document just fine. You will just need to edit the resulting word file to get rid of, for example, any place where you killed text after using it to set the tabs (that text will survive the translation). If you have something more sophisticated, perhaps some double-columns interspersed within a mainly single-column text, you will have more work to do. –  user700648 Jul 18 '12 at 21:40

I keep a "back-up" Word version of my LaTeX-ed résumé for such situations by evoking tex4ht:

$  htlatex resume.tex

I then open the resulting resume.html in Microsoft Word for further formatting.

I use curve.cls for my résumé, which seems to work alright with tex4ht.

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I have used online services that convert PDF's to word with actually great success. The site I used is http://www.pdftoword.com/ but there are a bunch of them. A bit indirect but worked well.

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