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In previous question concerned about taking notes while reading journal articles, I received an excellent answer proposing the use of parallel, parcolumns, and ledpar packages. However, I have the following problems with these packages:

parallel:
Doesn't play well with itemize and enumerate environments.
New info: Also creates an undesired vertical space on the non-equation column when using a display equation environment (see also illustration for parcolumns farther below).

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[top=0.3in, left=1in, right=1in, bottom=0.3in, includefoot]{geometry}
\usepackage[retainorgcmds]{IEEEtrantools}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\usepackage{parallel}

\begin{document}
  \begin{Parallel}{3in}{3in}
    \ParallelLText{\lipsum[1]}
    \ParallelRText{\lipsum[2]
      \begin{itemize}
        \item Hello World!
        \item Yeah!
        \item Hi there!
      \end{itemize}}
    \ParallelPar
  \end{Parallel}
\end{document}

alt text

parcolumns:
Using displaymath and similar environments (in this case IEEEeqnarray) causes an undesired vertical space before the equation, even affecting the other column:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[top=0.3in, left=1in, right=1in, bottom=0.3in, includefoot]{geometry}
\usepackage[retainorgcmds]{IEEEtrantools}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\usepackage{parcolumns}

\begin{document}
  \begin{parcolumns}[rulebetween=true]{2}
    \colchunk[1]{\lipsum[1]}
    \colchunk[2]{\lipsum[2]
      \begin{IEEEeqnarray}{rCl}
        E & = & mc^2
      \end{IEEEeqnarray}
      Some useful greetings:
      \begin{enumerate}
        \item Hello World!
        \item Yeah!
        \item Hey there!
      \end{enumerate}}
  \end{parcolumns}
\end{document}

alt text

ledpar:
It simply didn't typeset my text in two columns. Did I miss something?

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[top=0.3in, left=1in, right=1in, bottom=0.3in, includefoot]{geometry}
\usepackage[retainorgcmds]{IEEEtrantools}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\usepackage{ledmac}
\usepackage{ledpar}

\begin{document}
  \begin{pairs}
    \begin{Leftside}
      \lipsum[1]
      \begin{IEEEeqnarray}{rCl}
        E & = & mc^2
      \end{IEEEeqnarray}
    \end{Leftside}
    \begin{Rightside}
      \lipsum[2]
    \end{Rightside}
    \Columns
  \end{pairs}
\end{document}

alt text

I think I favor the parallel package overall. I just wish I could get around the itemize/enumerate problem. Any other tips?

share|improve this question
    
If you use pdfcolparallel instead of parallel, the itemize problem disappears, but you also get the ugly vertical space in front before equations... –  Jake Jan 17 '11 at 21:52
    
@Jake: I just found out that an undesired vertical space (even on the non-equation column) occurs with parallel as well. –  Kit Jan 18 '11 at 13:24
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you go with celenius' answer to your old question and use the tufte-latex package, those problems don't appear. With its narrower right hand column and smaller font size, it's probably even better suited to your task of taking notes:

\documentclass[a4paper,justified]{tufte-handout}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[retainorgcmds]{IEEEtrantools}

\begin{document}

\lipsum[2]
\marginnote{Here's some text that goes on the right side of the page. We'll make it long enough so the line wraps.
\begin{IEEEeqnarray}{rCl}
        E & = & mc^2
      \end{IEEEeqnarray}
      Some useful greetings:
      \begin{itemize}
        \item Hello World!
        \item Yeah!
        \item Hey there!
      \end{itemize}
}
\lipsum[1]

\end{document}

tufte-handout document with list and equation in the margin

With a bit of tweaking, you can also get equal column widths and font sizes:

\documentclass[a4paper,justified]{tufte-handout}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage[retainorgcmds]{IEEEtrantools}

\geometry{textwidth=0.4\paperwidth}
\geometry{marginparwidth=\textwidth}

\begin{document}

\renewcommand\footnotesize{\normalsize}
\lipsum[2]
\marginnote{Here's some text that goes on the right side of the page. We'll make it long enough so the line wraps.
\begin{IEEEeqnarray}{rCl}
        E & = & mc^2
      \end{IEEEeqnarray}
      Some useful greetings:
      \begin{itemize}
        \item Hello World!
        \item Yeah!
        \item Hey there!
      \end{itemize}
}
\lipsum[1]
\end{document}

tufte_handout document with equal column widths and text sizes

share|improve this answer
    
+1 @Jake: I appreciate the demo :). Unfortunately, the two parallel texts don't align well at the top edge. I was also looking for something like, what if my marginnote is longer vertically than the main text that it is marginnote-ing? I would want that the next chunk of main text would vskip to the bottom of the previous marginnote. I just might have to try the longtable environment. –  Kit Jan 19 '11 at 0:10
    
In the tufte-latex classes, the margin notes are designed so that the baseline of the first line of the margin note aligns with the baseline of the text it was called from. If the margin note is longer than the main text, it will continue past the main text (and can even run off the page). This is something I hope to correct in a future version. Given that you want the next main text paragraph to start after the end of the longest block of text (main or margin note), it would seem that \marginnote isn't what you're looking for. –  godbyk Jan 20 '11 at 21:42
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