I've just discovered ConTeXt for the first time, and it looks pretty sweet. However, it is near-useless to me if I cannot use LaTeX style files for formatting (i.e. for journal/conference papers).

Is it possible to use the style files provided by the journal publishers, etc., within ConTeXt? Is it even worth using ConTeXt if you are not doing much, if any, typesetting?

  • 1
    I agree that this is unfortunate. I also like the consistency of ConTeXt but since LaTeX packages don't work with it (particularly biblatex) that essentially rules it out for me.
    – PLK
    Apr 1 '11 at 15:33
  • LOL @ corrections to my spelling/grammar - pedantic, but appreciated nonetheless.
    – Dave
    Apr 4 '11 at 15:14

Joseph has answered your first question. I will go further and suggest that if the journal accepts LaTeX files, do not create a ConTeXt style for that journal. Submit your final source file in LaTeX.

You have to keep the journal work flow in mind. They are not going to experiment with ConTeXt for a single article. Sad but true; it is just too costly. So, if you send them a ConTeXt file, they will simply re-key the whole thing in LaTeX from the pdf. It is better that you re-key it in LaTeX and submit the LaTeX file to the journal. I often do that, and converting the contents from ConTeXt to LaTeX (and verifying the result) usually takes half an hour to two hours.

Regarding your second question, I think that ConTeXt has some advantages if you are working with multiple output formats or conditional compilations. You can do that in LaTeX, but the ConTeXt interface is much cleaner and much more convenient. ConTeXt is also useful for some specialized tasks. For example, ConTeXt can generate pdf from XML source; ConTeXt can generate PDF/A output; for presentations, ConTeXt makes cutting-and-pasting material much more easier (using buffers); for questions and answers, you can type the answers with the questions, but have them appear at the end of a chapter (using blocks). But all these are specialized tasks. (To be fair, there are other specialized tasks for which LaTeX is better).

For simple texts, if you are not interested in developing your own document layout, ConTeXt does not offer any advantage other than a consistent syntax.

  • I was thinking of cases where the journal provides a LaTeX template so that you can send them a PDF, but have some final-stage conversion in any case (i.e. places that do no typeset from authors source anyway). However, you are most probably right!
    – Joseph Wright
    Apr 1 '11 at 19:43

I'm afraid that the short answer is "no you can't". LaTeX style files use LaTeX's internals to define how things look, which ConTeXt has a very different internal structure. If your mainly interested in submitting to publications which provide LaTeX templates then you either have to use LaTeX or construct your own source from scratch in ConTeXt.

  • 1
    Wish I could accept both answers, since you each answered a different part of my question! So it just comes down to word count, lol.
    – Dave
    Apr 4 '11 at 15:11

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