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370

It does this but it uses a computer and so requires less manual labour. (image from Wikipedia)


264

Hypothetical dialogue follows. Dear <insert subject name here>, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about something cool. In fact, it's not just cool. It's amazingly cool. It's not "Albert Einstein playing guitar" cool, neither "Abraham Lincoln riding a bear with a machine gun" cool, it's way more superb. Believe me, it's super duper ultra ...


245

LaTeX is to a book what a set of blueprints is to a building.


207

If people ask me what LaTeX is, I explain it like this: Imagine you wrote a book and want to publish it. You, as an author, are good at writing and explaining stuff but you don't know how to "design" it. When your book looks like this, you wouldn't earn a penny, selling it: What you need is someone how is trained at making text readable and looking ...


128

Being aware of the fact that this post is quite old, I would like to add two further resources which might be interesting when it comes to programming. I think there are three categories which need to be mastered (perhaps not all in the same degree) in order to become comfortable around TeX programming: TeX programming. That's very basic, it deals with ...


108

A very common use of LaTeX is for automatic generation of high quality PDF reports that present the results of some routine analysis. For example, given some hydrology data in CSV format: Date,Flow 2011-12-20,112 2011-12-21,109 2011-12-22,108 2011-12-23,106 2011-12-24,103 2011-12-25,105 2011-12-26,105 2011-12-27,102 2011-12-28,107 2011-12-29,202 ...


102

I truly believe nothing comes close to TeX (and Friends, e.g. LaTeX, ConTeXt) when it comes to output quality. Other DTP programs such as Indesign (Adobe), QuarkXPress (Quark) or Scribus (open source) offer a graphical interface and hence an easier learning curve, but they don't match up in terms of quality. Amongst many, let me just point the two most ...


96

Why not use Donald Knuth's words? It's a tool "for making beautiful books."


91

I do not know of LaTeX ever having any disandvantages as compared to Word over the years, other than Word had more funding, so I will only comment on the new (killer) features where Word can't keep up. Macros - been there from day one, include here hundreds of new packages. PGF/TikZ XeTeX and LuaTeX, ConTeXt Microtype The ability to exercise your ...


90

\documentclass[twocolumn]{article} \usepackage[T1]{fontenc} \usepackage{tgpagella} \usepackage{dtklogos} \begin{document} \Large \XeTeX \\ \XeLaTeX \\ \AmS \\ \AmSLaTeX \\ \AMSLaTeX \\ \AmSTeX \\ \AMSTEX \\ \AMSTeX \\ \BibTeX \\ \LAMSTeX \\ \LamSTeX \\ \La \\ \LaTeX \\ \LaTeXTeX \\ \MF \\ \MFun \\ \MP \\ \SLITEX ...


86

I find the comparison posted http://www.zinktypografie.nl/latex.php?lang=en to be very effective- here's a visual If the visual isn't enough, check out the analysis! Where IWS is the inter-word spacing and SD, stands for Standard Deviation, a measure of the variability of IWS (as computed by the square root of the average square deviation from the mean ...


86

Although this question (and this answer) will stir up opinion, rather than fact, and so get teleported into Moderators' Oblivion, I'm going to have a crack, with a few ideas: TeX is very old. It was written when (a) there wasn't enough CPU power around, and (b) when all it basically had to do was produce something that was going to be printed. But now it ...


85

To start with the examples: Deutsche Bahn, the german railway company, is using LaTeX (or at least TeX, I'm not sure) to format timetables of any kind, including the large tables hanging in the stations, the individual station-wise or connection-wise schedules for download (in many different ways), etc. Also, some smaller public transportation companies use ...


84

TeX is both a program (which does the typesetting, tex-core) and format (a set of macros that the engine uses, plain-tex). Looked at in either way, TeX gives you the basics only. If you read the source for The TeXBook, you'll see that Knuth wrote more macros to be able to typeset the book, and made a format for that. LaTeX is a generalised set of macros to ...


84

I think that the river-problem could be quite interesting to take up on. I am not 100% sure where this project is in its current state. How to define the badness of a river? But this would be an immense improvement to TeX capabilities (and a quite interesting mathematical challenge, I think). @Raphink has looked a great deal into it, you might consider ...


84

Superficially, one of the advantages of LaTeX over other more traditional systems (e.g. Word or OpenOffice) is the high typographical quality of the documents that you'll be able to produce. This is particularly true for documents that are heavy on mathematics, but documents for any other area could also take advantage of these qualities. A less obvious ...


80

The biggest change has been that now pdftex is the default engine for latex. However, unless you write packages, you do not need to be aware of the differences. There is also a lot of momentum in LaTeX3, but most of the code is used behind the scenes by other packages. Again, unless you are a package writer, you do not need to learn anything new here. Many ...


78

this is not about any improvements in (la)tex. it is only about stability. it is very likely that an article created (and published) in 2000 in latex can be re-used directly today in a volume of "collected works", whereas such an article created at the same time in word will most likely require considerably more work, possibly even rekeying. mathematics ...


75

I don't intend this to be a complete answer to your question, but I don't believe anyone else has yet brought up the topic of longevity. TeX has been around for over thirty years, and the underlying language hasn't changed very much in that time. Has anyone ever tried using Word 2007 to load a file that was originally written in Word '97? Even if the file ...


72

The main reason I gave up Word for LaTeX is so that I could keep all of my documents under version control. You could argue that I could do the same thing with a .docx file, but Git likes .tex just fine, and I can do all the usual cool Git tricks as well.


71

Typesetting in a fixed baseline grid. I know there are few packages that can help on this but it’s still a lot of manual editiong to get the lines on a grid. A fully automated solution, supporting headlines, multi columns, floats, footnotes, margin notes etc., would be great. What does that mean? And why is it important? Typesetting in a fixed baseline ...


70

Me. This "system" won't let me post in less than 30 characters so here is some extra baloney at the end to fill out the required empty space. Ridiculous.


70

The main advantage I see with LaTeX is that everything's in the open. You can ask a question, like on StackExchange, by quoting straightforward text, and you get an answer in straightforward text rather than "try clicking this menu and that, oh, in Windows 7 this may be in a different ribbon and they self-organize anyway". Word help tends to work better ...


66

I don't know whether these are open problems or not, but since you are looking for a capstone project, you might be interested to explore if the basic algorithmic aspects of TeX can be improved. Line-breaking algorithm. The current line breaking algorithm is a gold standard that all line-breaking software emulate, but is it the best way to break lines? ...


65

TeXies have a good chance of recognizing TeXed documents, especially if Computer Modern (or Latin Modern) is used. But assuming you want to convert Word-users and other heathens, figuratively speaking, you could use a colophon, a "brief description of publication or production notes relevant to the edition, in modern books usually located at the reverse of ...


64

I just explained it to a friend of mine the other night, in probably the same words that you might use for your daughter: It's a tool that is used to tell a printer where to put words, lines, pictures etc. on a page and it's really good at that.


62

(My apologies in advance for any "too long; didn't read" sentiments -- if you only read one thing out of this, make it this link: Best Way to Start Using LaTeX/TeX?) My Non-Expert Background: I started using LaTeX around 2002 to help engineering students at my university write their M.S. theses and PhD dissertations. For several years, I made basic ...


59

It seems to be used fairly close to universally within physics and math.


59

\expandafter\spendtimewithwifeandcats\writelatexpackage


59

In short TeX is all about formatting, for document/template designers, while LaTeX is all about content, for document writers. TeX is a typesetting system. It provides many commands which allow you to specify the format of your document with great detail (e.g. font styles, spacing, kerning, ligatures, etc.), and has specialized algorithms to compute the ...



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