I would like to submit my university thesis composited in TeX. But I am not sure what is the best practise in the writing stage so I would like to ask you - do you write your thesis in a TeX editor or do you use some other text editor/program (MS Word, Libre Office Writer etc.) and after you finish, you transform your work into TeX?

Edit: I am thinking about using Word (or another office text-processor) instead of La/TeX because I would like to get a visual presentation of my text. In my TeX editor (TeXmaker) I need to search if I wrote \section, \subsection or \subsubsection etc. I think it makes writing in TeXmaker much complicated for beginners. Maybe it's only my inexperience.

Final solution: My final solution is to write my thesis in TeX and TeXnicCenter as very comfortable a advanced editor.

  • 33
    (La)TeX does more than just typeset the text. The way you end up writing your text differs from what you would experience in Word and equivalents (W+) in that you end up focusing more on the text than formatting issues. There is thus no reason to use W+ other than if you need to interact with others who do not use (La)TeX and cannot be pursuaded to do so. There are plenty of good free editors to chose from which work well on all plattforms. Feb 26 '13 at 16:17
  • 21
    To extend Peters comment, I think it is quite challenging and exhausting to migrate a whole written text from W+ to LaTeX.
    – Ronny
    Feb 26 '13 at 16:26
  • 5
    @Rony It is not so challanging (I have to do it quite regularly), it's just a bit annoying and it certainly takes some know-how. I hope I'll manage to make a blog about it once (if there's an interest in it).
    – yo'
    Feb 26 '13 at 16:29
  • 8
    See Everyday LaTeX and workflow? I would not draft in LaTeX but use Org-mode to be more effective as explained in my answer to that question.
    – N.N.
    Feb 26 '13 at 18:25
  • 14
    Just in case it is not clear form the existing answers, and comments: It is highly recommended that you NOT use any W+ type of software if you are considering migrating the content later. If you are just starting to write your thesis, take the hit now and learn LaTeX and start writing in text. There will be some pain at first, but you will save a lot of time in the long term. I am not sure I understand the issue you have with searching if you have done a section or not, so perhaps best to post that as a separate question -- I think it i just a matter of organizing your files. Feb 26 '13 at 18:55

21 Answers 21


I don't think writing the thesis in a word processor like Open/Libreoffice or Word and then transferring it to LaTeX would be a good idea.

This approach would force you to do some things twice and to take care about lots of stuff that could get lost on the transfer. With LaTeX you have the ability to get a lot of things easily done while writing your text (adding references, cross-references...). By doing all writing at first in a word processor you would either do such things twice or would have to do them in the end. In the latter case, you could easily get into trouble because after weeks of writing you maybe don't know for sure anymore, where reference xy came from and stuff like this.

Take for example footnotes. If you define footnotes in your word processor and then want to copy the text to your TeX editor, you have to remove the footnote mark, search the footnotes text in the copied text and put it all together to a \footnote{bla} command. Do this for some 20+ footnotes and you are likely to forget something or drive yourself crazy over it.

By doing the LaTeX way from the beginning you will get many things managed easier than with a word processor, as long as you follow some basic rules of keeping your stuff organized.

  • 3
    writer2latex.sourceforge.net plugin for Libre/OpenOffice is in fact quite good at converting word to LaTeX, including footnotes
    – michal.h21
    Feb 26 '13 at 16:44
  • 9
    @michal.h21 That may be true in some cases but there is one major drawback: Most people using word processors format stuff that it looks like they want it without caring about templates and stuff. Therefore a converting tool can (things like footnotes may be a different story) also only convert things to look in a certain way, throwing away all the advantages of logical markup. I consider such converting tools nice if you already have a file in a certain format and need it transferred fast. But I wouldn't rely on it a priori for my whole document generation process. Feb 26 '13 at 16:54
  • 3
    @BenediktBauer, I once wrote a chapter in a book in Word. To handle the formatting, I had to follow very strict rules, no "formatting to look nice on screen" at all. Can be done, the tools are there, but next to nobody (not even the local Word guru) even know they exist. And in my experience, much harder to use than LaTeX (OK, I'm just a tiny bit biased, as I use LaTeX almost exclusively...).
    – vonbrand
    Feb 26 '13 at 18:21
  • 2
    @BenediktBauer of cource I was meaning the case when you are the author of the document. As librarian at faculty of education, I see many works of our students created in word - almost nobody knows about sectioning commands, they write table of contents by hand, if they want to move text to another page, they push enter until it moves. Yesterday I saw master thesis with page numbers writen by hand. Because I opened it with openoffice and didn't have fonts used in this thesis, all text moved little bit, page numbers were then placed in the middle of page :)
    – michal.h21
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:35

The abilities of LaTeX for a large work are uncomparable to Word & whatever ...office. The idea to start in Word and later change to LaTeX makes me shudder. But you have to invest time to learn, buy a book about LaTeX, find out which way to administer your literature and so on.

If you google for comparisons between LaTeX and Word, you'll get enough to read for days.

If you need a place to write a structure, move around paragraphs, feed TODO lists and so on, then have a look at org-mode, here: http://www.orgmode.org/

After 10 years with Linux, LaTeX (8), Emacs (4) & friends, that would be my way to write a book: starting in org-mode and as soon as the structure fills with material, write with LaTeX.

  • 4
    +1 for Org-mode. (I would still use LaTeX or ConTeXts, but for e.g. not extremally technically oriented theses, Org-mode could be really good.)
    – mbork
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:32
  • 2
    Dammit, Emacs. +100 for org-mode. Lordy. I don't know where I'd be. For those wondering, org-mode has excellent support for LaTeX export. Feb 26 '13 at 20:35
  • 4
    Emacs is great. For instance, Ref-TeX is bundled with Emacs and typing C-c = will give you a table of contents which will allow you to zip through your outline without having to search for \section. Feb 27 '13 at 3:57
  • 2
    @mbork You can use LaTeX inside an Org-mode document so technical document should not be a problem.
    – N.N.
    Feb 27 '13 at 6:28
  • 2
    I would stay in Org-mode until it is time for to make the finishing touches. I think this helps focusing on content.
    – N.N.
    Feb 27 '13 at 6:30

I wrote my senior undergraduate honor's thesis (required frequent Arabic-English typesetting), my master's thesis (on Arabic linguistics), and am currently writing my doctoral thesis in LaTeX. In every case, I used LaTeX from the very beginning. While I sometimes find myself slowed down by LaTeX issues, which can disrupt the writing process, I find it's much better to get everything properly set in the document in one go, rather than to fight with formatting in one document, and then do it all over again in another.

Moreover, there are many aspects of latex which speed the composition process. For example, I frequently refer to the same people/places/things whose names must be transliterated. So instead of writing the name of the tribe "Banū Hilāl" every time, I created a macro to make sure that I'm consistent and to reduce the typing time so I don't have to switch keyboards every time I type something. Similarly, citation is much faster in Latex from the get go than it would be to cite in one way (say Zotero) and then convert to Latex citations.

On the other hand, if you plan to turn your thesis into a journal article, make sure that the journals in your field will accept LaTeX submissions, or that you're willing to commit to the sometimes lengthy and annoying conversion process. It took me probably 3 days of solid work to convert what I'd written into a MS Word document, including trying different conversion websites/parameters and then cleaning up and proofreading the result.

  • 10
    Committees who won't accept LaTeX submissions (or in extension all who accept anything but) should be thrown into pits full of hungry rattlesnakes.
    – fgysin
    Feb 27 '13 at 14:47
  • +1 for the macro and zotero. You may have a look at this workflow for zotero citation in LaTeX (tkoon tegibak) here.
    – doctorate
    May 23 '13 at 6:50

I've been writing my thesis in LaTeX (as a first-time LaTeX user). Some observations from my process which might be helpful:

  • Stuff in Latex will break and frustrate you. So will things in Word and other tools.
  • Version control is really helpful (especially if you have a software type background) as it is really satisfying to be able to "commit" changes rather than "save" - this seems silly but it's true
  • It is far more satisfying to fix Latex problems than Word ones
  • It's easier to feel overwhelmed in Word because you have a huge document. Or you have lots of smaller ones and it's a pain to assemble everything. Latex lets you do this very nicely.
  • Latex just looks nicer than Word
  • References are SO much nicer in Latex
  • I loathe the "format a paper" game in Word. Formatting bullet points, headings, tables of content, and fighting those battles is so frustrating to me. YMMV here.
  • You can focus on writing without feeling trapped by page limits. It's easier to make progress when you aren't counting the "must finish 1 page!" game
  • If you have lots of data, you can design your output (in case of some programs at least) to be in a Latex friendly format - so you run your work, copy the results, and BAM have instant formatted work.

On the whole, all these factors contributed to me writing in Latex initially.

I will note - and this is probably the most important part of all these answers - make sure you check with your adviser - if they are intend to make serious comments on your thesis during a draft stage and are PDF illiterate you may really, really wish you'd started in Word initially.

  • 3
    Several good points, but +1 for 'It is far more satisfying to fix LaTeX problems than Word ones.'
    – jon
    Feb 26 '13 at 21:30
  • 3
    +1 for the "check with your adviser" part. Unfortunately, some people will insist that they receive a word document. If this is the case, you may want to reach a compromise such as the one described in the answer to this question
    – ArTourter
    Feb 26 '13 at 23:10
  • @ArTourter or just make a fairly poorly formatted word document out of the Latex (either from html or something else) - for some this may be "good enough" for drafts.
    – enderland
    Feb 26 '13 at 23:21

I made the mistake of typesetting the first chapter of my PhD thesis in Scientific Word (a proprietary commercial LaTeX GUI). I had thought at the time that this would offer the best of both worlds: providing an easy front end to do the editing, whilst leaving me with some nice LaTeX code at the end. However, the program introduced a lot of weird macros and line breaks and other odd stuff into the underlying LaTeX source code and I wasted a lot of time tidying the code up afterwards.

Now I write everything straight into LaTeX using my preferred editor (TeXnix Center) and find this to by much more straightforward. As others have noted, the conversion process from an alternative is usually more trouble than it's worth. This is especially true for footnotes, equations, tables, and other stuff that is typeset with specific tools in your word processor and will need completely redoing during the conversion.

It's also worth mentioning that once you are reasonably familiar with the LaTeX commands, it is a lot faster to type them than to fiddle around with some user interface. If I want to put in a footnote in Word I have to stop typing, click on a GUI button, type the footnote text, and then click back in the body text of my document; in LaTeX I just type \footnote{} and don't even have to break the flow of my writing.

One last point: latex source code is stored as plain text, and is typically edited in a lightweight text editor, which makes it a lot less prone to either application crashes or file corruption. Even if the file containing your code is damaged, it will usually be possible to recover much of what is in there.

  • 10
    With respect to the damage: just use version control on the tex-documents, like programmers do for computer code. You can easily track changes and revert to older versions.
    – Bernhard
    Feb 26 '13 at 17:08
  • 10
    @Bernhard: I guess you have a typo here: instead of "just use" you probably meant "you really, really should use";).
    – mbork
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:46
  • 1
    @mbork And you really, really should use VI as tex(t)-editor.
    – Bernhard
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:55
  • 4
    @Bernhard I guess you have a type here: instead of "VI", you probably meant Emacs. ;) But seriously, text editors (especially vi, vim, emacs, and friends / sworn enemies) are far more stable than any graphical application out there. There is zero chance of you losing your document. (Save hard drive failure, but this can be averted by again, using a VCS (I recommend git) which is itself integrated into any reasonable editor, such as Emacs and Vi(m). It's really a win-win. Feb 26 '13 at 20:42
  • 1
    @vermiculus Agreed for the largest part ;) I had a colleague spending lots of time in writing a latex-table in Kile, which than became irresponsive. That's where he made a picture of his screen :)
    – Bernhard
    Feb 26 '13 at 20:51

(La)TeX does more than just typeset the text. The way you end up writing your text differs from what you would experience in Word and equivalents in that you end up focusing more on the text than formatting issues. There is thus no reason to use Word and equivalents other than if you need to interact with others who do not use (La)TeX and cannot be pursuaded to do so. There are plenty of good free editors to chose from which work well on all plattforms.

  • 4
    What is this boson, W+ that you write about? Is it a well known abbreviation? Feb 26 '13 at 18:24
  • @Hans-PeterE.Kristiansen Removed abbreviations for full text Feb 26 '13 at 18:29
  • 2
    @PeterJansson the "... you end up focusing more on the text than formatting issues" comment is absolutely ludicrous in my opinion. With Word for example, you just open it and start typing. The one-click tools for formatting are easy to use, but more to the point, it's WYSIWYG, so there's no complicated complicated programming language, no compiling, and no errors because I forgot a }.
    – User 17670
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:33
  • 3
    @User17670: well, if you use a reasonable editor, you don't have to remember about }'s. And user-level LaTeX is a markup, not programming language. (And yes, you can fire up Emacs and start writing.)
    – mbork
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:55
  • 1
    Emacs + AUCTeX is syntax-checking, reference-generating, two-key-view wonder. It is certainly the best way to edit LaTeX for Emacs, and arguably the best method available on the market, paid or not. Feb 26 '13 at 20:38

The simple answer:

I always write papers in LaTeX from the get-go for a single reason:

Version control.

Using a plaintext file means I can version my document using tools like git or mercurial and never have to worry about losing information. It also means I can back it up to my server, GitHub, etc. easily.

If you need more convincing than that, the sheer amount of time it will save you on a document as long as a thesis is another factor. Sitting down and manually converting things later is a pain and the tools to do it automatically are generally bad at handling Word / OpenOffice documents.

  • yes, versioning in svn is one of the biggest advantage for me
    – Artegon
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:53
  • @user1315357 I know you're probably tired of hearing it, but consider switching to a distributed version control system. It will save you a lot of headache. I'm a fan of Git, but Mercurial and others are good too.
    – Sam Whited
    Feb 26 '13 at 20:22

Somehow late for the party but here is my personal and somehow archaic way of writing large texts (thesis is long ago...) I usually write things in quite some detail with pen&paper. This turned out to be most convenient for me, easy correcting and so on. I'm free to focus on the content before anything else.

Having then zillions of pages (already organized in sections etc) I start typing things using my favorite editor (emacs&AUCTeX) directly in LaTeX. Now I can focus in the typographic aspects of my work. It is important, at least to me, that this is really separate from the more creative task of putting together the correct content. Moreover, this gives me a first round in the eternal recursion of finding mistakes and improving the text.

So usually the typing is the less challenging task which I often do during journeys, in trains, in cafes etc, havin scanned versions of my handwritten manuscripts (OK, that one was funny, right?) on the computer.

Well, as I said: probably a dinosaur's way of doing it. But in the end it turns out to be quite efficient.

What is "Word" by the way?

  • MS Word or similar text processor
    – Artegon
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:11
  • 3
    You’re not the only person who finds longhand much more productive for getting work at least to the late-draft stage! Feb 26 '13 at 19:40
  • Also +1 for writing in longhand, especially with lots of math formulae - I did the same with my master's thesis. (Funnily, I can't remember whether I used the same approach with my PhD thesis - probably yes, though.)
    – mbork
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:58

I wrote both my thesis using LyX, and to this date nobody noticed yet that I had not used LaTeX. I think LyX it requires a bit of LaTeX knowledge to be used properly (e.g. what are sections, how references work...) but then is much more convenient to write "simple" documents, that is, mostly text documents.

I find that using LyX I can actually focus on the text only, without writing code. I do not care to put emphasized text between \emph{ and }, I just set it to be emphasized and it is shown in italic (whatever the final output will be). Not to mention the ability to see equations as they will appear in the document (but still be able to write them using LaTeX). Or tables.

If you ever need to customize something, or use some commands that are not supported, you can just write a LaTeX snippet (or include a LaTeX source file). In this way, LyX allows you to use basic LaTeX in a much simpler way, but it does not prevent to use advanced features.

Automatic reference management is very convenient. As well as the ability to divide a large document in few parts ad compile each of them (this is much less straightforward with LaTeX, as far I know). You can even enable instant preview for LaTeX snippets, and this is something you will really appreciate if you will use Tikz or PGFPlots, or unsupported (by LyX) maths symbols.

One of the drawbacks is that it is hard to write a document together with people who use directly LaTeX, but that should not be the case for a thesis.


Having just constructed my Operations Research thesis in LaTex I can attest that despite the upfront learning, which isn't too cumbersome, it is significantly easier to write it from the start as opposed to finishing only. This is particularly true if you're using mathematical notation. The learning that occurs throughout formulation won't seem as daunting if you tried just at the end.

  • As a newbie, I use LaTeX for my thesis writing assuming there is no Word WYSIWYG etc.. in this world. In this way i try to learn more the latex way and packages.

  • Never ever try the transformation from Word etc-->Latex as suggested by jon and others.

  • I recommend you to choose any cross-platform LaTeX editor and start typesetting the 'LaTeX way'.

  • But never be afraid to dive into LaTeX waters. Its only first dip, later you will enjoy a lot and wont repent. I passed through the lot of phases like any newcomer. I always feel now "Why i haven't i learnt about LaTeX before" say in undergraduation instead of during a graduation before thesis writing`. (Reply for the Edit in question)

  • 3
    I use xemacs, there is a reasonable version for Windows too. It includes AUCTeX, a macro package that simplifies a lot of chores and helps managing bibliographies. The "you edit the ideas, not the appearance on screen" aspect of writing plain LaTeX source is the biggest advantage.
    – vonbrand
    Feb 26 '13 at 18:26
  • 2
    +1 for Emacs + AUCTeX; there really is no better, more damned convenient way. Feb 26 '13 at 20:44
  • I'm pretty fond of Texmaker. Pretty clean overall but am really starting to enjoy using Sublime Text 2 with Skim syncing. Its so fast and elegant...simply love it.
    – BoZiffer
    Feb 27 '13 at 2:37

I strongly recommend starting out using LaTeX. In addition to all of the benefits already mentioned, it allows you to create efficient automated workflows. This can be very handy, depending on the field. When writing my thesis, I had an automated script (Makefile) that took raw experimental data, formatted it into LaTeX tables and created plots using gnuplot, rebuilt the index and references, ran LaTeX and appropriate number of times, and converted the dvi to pdf (no pdflatex at the time). This removed a bunch of repetitive, error prone steps and made the entire process much smoother.


I would suggest using Lyx as a WYSIWYG formatted text editor that will leave you with a LaTeX document at the end of the day.

  • 1
    I think that with just a little bit of effort you could go directly to LaTeX, and don't depend of LyX. A small effort which is very worthwhile. IMO.
    – Manuel
    Feb 26 '13 at 22:01
  • 1
    You can literally write LaTeX in LyX. You are not losing any of the power of LaTeX in Lyx, you are just given some tools to help you generate it and learn how to use it, in addition to providing you with a WYSIWYG view of the document you are creating. This is not a small difference in effort for a complete newbie. Feb 26 '13 at 22:26
  • Well, may be you have some point, but I still think that, while you don't loose any power with LyX, plain LaTeX (without formatting, just coloring and, of course, a good text editor) makes things easier in the future (the next future). By the way, I do think it is a small effort.
    – Manuel
    Feb 26 '13 at 23:00

I wrote a CS BSc thesis in LaTeX using classicthesis (example PDF) and it went great. If you have no extraordinary requirements, you can immediately use a proposed directory structure:

├── []  .git
├── []  Bibliography.bib
├── []  Chapters
│   ├── []  Chapter01.tex
│   ├── []  Chapter02.tex
│   ├── []  Chapter03.tex
│   ├── []  Chapter0A.tex
├── []  Extra.tex
├── []  FrontBackmatter
│   ├── []  Abstract.tex
│   ├── []  Acknowledgments.tex
│   ├── []  Bibliography.tex
│   ├── []  Colophon.tex
│   ├── []  Contents.tex
│   ├── []  Declaration.tex
│   ├── []  Dedication.tex
│   ├── []  DirtyTitlepage.tex
│   ├── []  Publication.tex
│   ├── []  Titleback.tex
│   └── []  Titlepage.tex
├── []  Images
│   ├── []  fsm.dot
│   ├── []  fsm.pdf
│   ├── []  rest.dot
│   └── []  rest.pdf
├── []  Makefile
├── []  README
├── []  classicthesis-config.tex
├── []  classicthesis.sty
├── []  main.pdf
└── []  main.tex

The advantage in my eyes is that you keep your motivation up by having a relatively pleasant experience, every time you compile and preview your work (without having to layout or tweak a lot of stuff up front).

(Note: I only used a regular text editor with syntax highlighting, make and Preview; and, oh yes, git for versioning everything textual).

  • i was wondering how could you make this directory tree? Feb 26 '13 at 19:46
  • 3
    Do you mean this directory printout? That's tree.
    – miku
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:48
  • yes,so you used the tree command to get the directory strucure on mac and pasted it here ? I thought it was done using LaTeX or any LaTeX editor or any new formatting on TeX.SX Feb 26 '13 at 19:51
  • 2
    Yea, just copy-n-paste. Concerning LaTeX-Editors: I used LyX (great editor, btw) when I started learning LaTeX many years ago and switched to a plain text editor later, because I like my tools to be as basic as possible.
    – miku
    Feb 26 '13 at 19:53
  • 3
    @miku, +1 for LyX as training wheels. It helps you start to understand the concept of the separation of content and format. Feb 26 '13 at 20:47

When writing something where I don't plan to use too much formatting, I often start with Markdown instead. It's easier to type than LaTeX and has a nice converter into LaTeX (pandoc) which doesn't pollute the source much.

This also has the advantage that it's easy to just paste some part of the document into an email (when requesting comments and such). The syntax looks like real ASCII-art formatting, so it's readable, and you can easily cite fragments of an email.

Well, actually, I recently started using Markdown syntax in most of my emails…

  • I use Markdown a lot myself these days. With pandoc, I just convert to .doc. for the benefit of my Word-using colleagues
    – hpesoj626
    Mar 1 '13 at 0:53

I will tell you how I do my thesises. I always use TexMaker. It feels like an HTML/PHP.

It has a structure like:

\include{ includes.tex}
\include{ title.tex }
\include{ section1.tex}
\include{ section2.tex }

Then i will start writing at the sections seperately. It feels really organized for me to work step for step and afterwards I have a good document :)

  • Use kile for TeX/LaTeX.
  • Have auto guessing ability, so don't need to learn each and every command.
  • Have predefined symbols, you can just click on the symbol. No need to learn or search tag for each symbol.

I generally agree with points made by other people so far. What I'd like to add is that LaTeX is a far better tool, if it comes to maintaining consistency of your document (or even more if these are multiple documents).

Specifically, I have Tikz on my mind, which allows you to create vector graphics straight in your document. For instance, you can use same symbols (denoting some mathematical variables) across the whole thesis - both in text as well as in graphics. Working with W+ applications, you would be forced to use external drawing programs and paste bitmaps/jpegs/etc. If there's a need to change some symbols or fonts, you'd either spend hours on fixing it or (more probably) leave it as it is to save time, which makes your work inconsistent and ugly.

On the other hand, LaTeX may waste your time on relatively simple stuff and irritate you with misleading error messages. I consider having some basic programming knowledge an advantage when starting with LaTeX.


I guess (hit me if I'm wrong) that none of the previous answers mentions one of the most natural options: Write your thesis whole by hand first.

You start writing, if you are a mathematician: Definitions, Theorems, Lemmas, Proofs, Examples, etc. Then you find out you are not content with the order of things. So you empty your large table / floor, take scissors, cut the papers in logical pieces, and move them around trying to find the best composition and order. Then you glue it together again in this different order.

Now comes the filler text writing. So you start adding stars pointing to some piece of text, bubbles of text, numbered "inserts" with long paragraphs, information where belongs which figure etc.

When you are finished with this, you take the result, sit in front of your computer, make hectolitre of coffee and put everything into LaTeX. Thesis done.

(Please, do not take me wrong. To be honest, I haven't done this with my thesis. However, we have done it, me and my supervisor, with couple scientific papers and publications (including chapters in student books etc.). This concept works, and especially if you don't feel very strong with LaTeX, it is a good way to go, because it allows you to seperate concentration on the contents from concentration on problems with LaTeX.)

  • 3
    I think is truly, unbelievably, terrible advice. Apart from the simply fact that the things you're talking about doing are simply harder and slower to do with physical objects; you're introducing a completely unnecessary step into your process when you inevitably have to type it in at the end. The only circumstance I can see where it might make sense is if you're truly awful at typing in which case, frankly, you should probably invest some time in learning to type better. Feb 27 '13 at 20:17
  • This rough idea would have saved me a lot of time, I suspect, on the whole for writing.
    – enderland
    Feb 27 '13 at 21:17
  • 2
    @JackAidley Thanks for your opinion. Actually, it is not so difficult to do it with paper, scissors and glue. I was as well really surprised by the amount of concentration on the content it allows you: If I counted how many sentences I delete in the text editor before I'm content, this number would be significantly higher than on the paper; still in the end the ones I have on the paper are very good (and I would maybe never word that cleverly in the computer). The immediate step is not unnecessary, and the typing in the end goes very fluently, since you really only behave like an OCD scanner.
    – yo'
    Feb 27 '13 at 21:51
  • @toheckz +1 I agree mainly about paragraph 2, but not entirely about the "whole" part. But I find that scribbling my ideas by hand first makes typing it easier afterwards. This procedure actually makes me focus more on the content more.
    – hpesoj626
    Mar 1 '13 at 0:52

I guess there are people like me around, who are not very confident about English grammar (as it's not their native language). Therefore, I first write raw text (without any formatting) in Word, then copy it to LaTeX. This takes helluva time though, but I guess that's what you pay for not paying attention in language classes back in school.


Many of us who write mathematics books find Scientific Word/Workplace indispensable since it combines the best of both worlds. Contrary to another post, you can enter everything from the keyboard, and if you use "portable LaTeX" files and a little care, it produces very clean TeX code with absolutely no nonstandard macros at all. I've had no problems with publishers concerning the code. But chacun à son goût.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.