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A few years back, I used to use LaTeX for writing reports and such, and I really liked the look of them.

However, nowadays I am forced to use MS Word to write my reports, but that does not hinder me from playing around with the document layout.

When I see a document typeset using LaTeX, I can often immediately spot it, I'm assuming that is because there is a nice default document template.

What types of setting in MS Word 2007/2010 (fonts, margins, letter spacing etc.) would allow my documents to look similar to default LaTeX documents?

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@Philipp: The math typesetting is superior to TeX? In what way? –  ShreevatsaR Jan 6 '11 at 11:38
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@ShreevatsaR: it allows more fine-grained control over various font-related parameters; it allows kerning between base characters and scripts; it is technically more advanced, moving lots of things from macro packages to Unicode and OpenType where they belong; and, due to OpenType, much more variants (e.g. parentheses of different sizes) can be present in the fonts. Most enhancements have already been backported to LuaTeX. –  Philipp Jan 6 '11 at 12:32
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@TH. OpenType math fonts have 65 parameters. \cong is a macro in traditional TeX, but a separate character in Unicode (U+2245). The CM fonts have only a few hundreds of math characters, Unicode has thousands. Unicode is not a character encoding. Computer Modern contains four pre-drawn glyphs for the opening parenthesis, Cambria Math has eight. I have already stated two enhancements: more font parameters, base–script kerning; another one is prescripts, which are complete unavailable in traditional TeX. –  Philipp Jan 6 '11 at 23:20
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... these are advantages of OpenType which both XeTeX and LuaTeX support (as you noted). I was more curious where Word actually produces better math output. Prescrips are a good example though. Thanks. –  TH. Jan 7 '11 at 0:29
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@Phillip, @TH: I can't say much about the different parameters, but does Word now handle large documents with a lot of math while staying stable? The last time (years ago) I tried to type all my formulas with MS Word and it became very slow (2-3 pages of only equations) and finally kept crashing (4 pages) so that it was unusable. –  Martin Scharrer Mar 29 '11 at 17:01
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11 Answers

I agree that it is impossible to completely imitate (La)TeX in Word. If you just want the font, then there is an OpenType version of Computer Modern, the default font of TeX. If you want the margins, just measure them on a LaTeX document and then set them in Word accordingly (I would recommend that you use KOMA Script or memoir as a base, not the default LaTeX classes, as the look imo better on A4 and letter paper.)

There is also a LaTeX template for Word. Since I don't own Word, I can't tell how good it looks.

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I've just checked the Word template (after installing the cmr and cmbx fonts mentioned on the template website) and indeed it looks quit good (=similar) –  Rabarberski Jan 6 '11 at 12:23
    
The margins in plain TeX, (and I presume that it is the same in LaTeX) is 1 inch from each side including footline, excluding headline. Font size is 10pt by default, and you get an A4 paper size in all kind of TeX. –  Adam L. S. Jul 3 '11 at 14:04
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Besides all the 'it isn't possible' advice, what I would advice is:

  • Use the LaTeX Template for Word mentioned by Caramdir (make sure to install the 3 mentioned fonts)
  • The author section of the IEEE website also provides a 2-column Word template for their papers, resembling quite a lot the LaTeX one.
    Other academic publishers (like Elsevier) also have similar Word templates (use Google to find them).
  • Make your document look as consistent as possible. I think that, apart from the typesetting, the consistent output produced by LaTeX is one of the things that make it look like LaTeX. Most Word documents have the tendency to be a collection of slightly-different layouted text blocks because there is nothing that forces the user to do otherwise.
    Practically, this translates to using paragraph and character styles rigorously. These could be the styles from the template mentioned, or your own defined styles. (BTW: The key to using styles in Word is to assign shortcut-keys for the most-used ones)
  • A wider left margin also might make it more LaTeX-like
  • Use a small font (10pt or so)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph (although I personally don't like that)
  • Put your tables and figures at the bottom or top of a page
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I think convention for indenting may vary from one language to the other; I seem to remind that there's even some variations depending on whether the text immediately follows a section title or not. But I'm not an expert in typography :) –  chl Jan 6 '11 at 14:11
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@chl: as I've always understood it: the indentation visually separates each paragraph (i.e., the reader quickly sees the paragraphs as 'blocks'). An other option would be to use a blank line (or half a line, or similar) between each paragraph, which is what I prefer because it makes the overall layout 'lighter' and less dense. Using spacing between paragraphs thus makes first-line indentation unnecessary, but requires more vertical space overall. –  Rabarberski Jan 6 '11 at 15:07
    
Thanks! Esp. the IEEE link was very useful! –  Theodor Jan 10 '11 at 11:44
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No, you can't do it. One of the biggest differences between LaTeX and Word (and most other word processors for that matter) is that LaTeX (based on TeX) does run optimization algorithms to decide where to break paragraphs into lines and your document into pages. These algorithms try to find the most “appealing” way to flow the text of your document into pages. TeX will even let you know when it couldn't do a good enough job and sometimes complain about under- and overfull boxes.

Almost every other word processor, including MS Word, will blindly stack words into lines until they don't fit anymore, and start a new line there. Hyphenation makes things a bit better, but still no attempt is done in order to find “good” points to break lines in order to make the paragraphs look better.

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I don't understand why this answer was upvoted so many times. The question was not whether it is possible, but instead what you can do to resemble it as closely as possible. –  Rabarberski Jan 6 '11 at 12:21
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@Rabarberski: It correctly identifies the point which will be hardest to replicate, namely line-breaking. Otherwise you're right, the OP didn't ask for anti-MS rants. –  Philipp Jan 6 '11 at 12:34
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@Philipp: This is most certainly not an anti-MS rant. It's not anti-MS or anti-Word, and it's not a rant. –  TH. Jan 6 '11 at 20:41
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It also uses expandable glues, that are not available in word. Also as far as I know you can't even typeset the TeX logo. The other way around should work in every aspect. –  Adam L. S. Jul 3 '11 at 14:06
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You can call a mule a horse, but will never make it a horse. No amount of fiddling can make a Word document look like one typeset with TeX, especially one that contains a serious amount of maths.

Major difference will remain in letter spacing, interword space, paragraph justification, hyphenation, page breaking and adjustment of floats.

If you are forced to use Word at work, one way - to simulate TeX with Word - is to typeset your documents with LaTeX and import them as images in your Word document!

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Well, I guess a mule will have to do. I know there is much more to it with TeX than just fonts and spacings, but what I am trying to do is sort of a "TeX-like" document template. –  Theodor Jan 5 '11 at 10:37
    
Why not export it as a PDF? –  alexy13 Mar 29 '11 at 1:29
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@alexy13 That would also be ok. –  Yiannis Lazarides Mar 29 '11 at 14:49
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Even if you cannot match LaTeX quality with MS Word, that doesn't mean you cannot produce great-looking documents with it. If you are a designer, you'll get great-looking document no matter what app you're using. Couple of months ago I read an article which made me stop and rethink. The tool one is using is important, but not the most important part of document production. The main actor from the link I provided is witnessing that.

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IIUC, the layout was achieved by lot of manual tweaking. For example, in the third to last figure (blood red fruit, shown in red), I believe the hyphenation is done manually. Note the manual par break in the 8th line (shin-ing) and the red underline on ing. So clearly, if you put in as much effort as original typographers who laid out text by hand, you can get good results with any tool. –  Aditya Mar 6 '12 at 19:51
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Same applies to any tool out there, including *TeX. You cannot achieve great results without manual tweaking, sometimes a huge amount of it. I remember some production notes for "The LaTeX Companion": "[...] on maybe 10% of the pages [minor rewriting was needed] in order to avoid bad line breaks or page breaks [...] 45 long spreads, 25 short spreads, 230 forced page breaks, 400 adjustments to the vertical spacing, 100 other manual adjustments (other than rewriting)." Of course, even manual adjustments are easier done with LaTeX, but the point is that they're unavoidable in most cases. –  Meho R. Mar 14 '12 at 18:30
    
Wow! I never realized that so much manual tweaking was done in the LaTeX Companion. –  Aditya Mar 14 '12 at 22:29
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Knuth's books also have a great deal of manual tweaking. It's naive to think that you can just type stuff and TeX will make it look nice for you. –  bubba Jun 17 '13 at 8:58
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I offer two options for you (Option 2 is best if you aren't going to compile anymore):

Option 1

Download OpenOffice for free and download writer2latex, also free. It supports xelatex export too! It also does a nice job exporting tables.

Option 2

Requirement: OS X, Microsoft Office, CMU Serif Roman font installed

  • If you want to create a template for a thesis, run the thesis boiler plate script:

  • If you want to set up styles to imitate TeX Typesetting, download these two files and use them.

The reason you put the scripts in the Word Script Menu Items folder is to have easy access to them. Script Menu shown below:

MS Word Script Menu enter image description here

Note: You can edit the plist file to your liking.

  • set margins
  • set font sizes for various heading styles
  • toggle bold or italics for various styles

Additional Scripts

This AppleScript handler sets the font for all styles. It can be expanded to set specific styles, but I have not finished it yet. I recommend using Latin Modern Roman, because it is the unicode font, which replaces CMU when working with XeLateX. Warning: There is a glitch in that when changing the name property of the font object of Word styles, a list template is applied to heading 1. I do not know why this happens. This is not a problem in the original script above, because of a complicated workaround using the find and replace command.

set fontChoice to text returned of (display dialog "Please select a font" default answer "Latin Modern Roman")
my setupfontObjectStyle___("all", fontChoice)

on setupfontObjectStyle___(styleName, newValue)
    -- use styleName "all" if you need to  
    tell application "Microsoft Word"
        tell active document
            if styleName is equal to "all" then
                set wordStylesList to Word styles
                try
                    repeat with styleStep from 1 to count of wordStylesList
                        set name of font object of item styleStep of wordStylesList to newValue
                    end repeat
                on error
                    display dialog "There was a problem with the script."
                end try
            end if
        end tell
    end tell
end setupfontObjectStyle___

This script zooms word perfectly to fit a styles menu panel on the right side of the program so that you can see the other "Word Styles Setup" in action. Designed for a 13-inch monitor. (tested on Macbook Air)

tell application "Microsoft Word"
    activate
    set width of active window to 1243
    set height of active window to 820
    set position of active window to {0, 76}
    set percentage of zoom of view of active window to 196
    get bounds of window 1
end tell
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Neither of the download links work anymore. –  Lennart Oct 9 '13 at 11:25
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@Lennart Thanks Lennart. I will fix this on the weekend. –  macmadness86 Oct 11 '13 at 12:17
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@Lennart Everything should work again now! –  macmadness86 Oct 13 '13 at 13:44
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Yep, it works. Thanks! –  Lennart Oct 13 '13 at 16:32
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Well, it sounds dumb, but you could technically do this. If you're required to do something in MS Word (and, well, want to "stick it to the man"), you could technically still submit your document in MS Word by first writing it in LaTeX, then writing some sort of script (you're probably stuck using VBA) to take each page of the PDF or DVI file rendered by TeX and insert it into a page of MS Word, with 0" margins on each side. It wouldn't be editable, but it would definitely look exactly like a LaTeX document. Word can probably also open PDF files as is (don't have a copy to try it out on, so I don't know), so that would also technically be in MS Word.

But beyond this (slightly absurd) suggestion, I completely agree with the other answers. TeX/LaTeX is much, much more than just a template, so trying to implement even an appreciable subset of it's features in a template-like formalism is just not going to cut it.

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Being "stuck to VBA" (which is a fairly modern programming language) would be much better than being stuck to TeX macros. –  Philipp Jan 6 '11 at 12:35
    
You can also use VBScript or J(ava)script, and call Word API functions from "outside", meaning a standalone scriptfile. –  marczellm yesterday
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If it was vice versa it would be much easier. Using xelatex one can use the Word standard fonts to mimic it's look: http://uweziegenhagen.de/?p=1359

Happy TeXing!

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But it isn't, vice versa. How is this answer helpful? –  Oxinabox Jul 4 '13 at 7:05
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A most simple way to produce a latex looking doc in word is simplified into steps.

  1. Use Century font
  2. Refer an original latex document(e: if you are working on a project report, then collect a latex made project report)--- and then type the words exactly in same place as in latex doc... with almost same font size, orientation , position, margin etc.
  3. Save it as pdf (install save as pdf addon if you dont have it).
  4. Now see the magic...your ms word doc will now have 90% similiarity with original ltex made document....
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Use this template with the fonts listed:

http://www.frostnova.net/archives/fake-latex.html

And follow these tips:

http://jeffhuang.com/better_word_papers.html

You should get a pretty decent approximation.

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If you want to use LaTeX, you could get the mk4ht package, and use this to convert LaTeX documents to Open Office format, and open these in Word (2007+) and have the best of both worlds.

That being said, if you have the JDK installed on your system (at least in Ubuntu) this breaks, and you need to use htlatex to convert TeX to HTML and thus to Open Office and hence to Word.

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