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I am in the process of converting an author's paper into a journal template and I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding what this portion of their preamble does.

\usepackage[dvips]{hyperref}%needs to be last package listed; use dvips -z.
\input{epsf}

As for dvips:

I have tried to read about it online, and it seems to have something to do about making the article look nicer when it is printed? I don't think I understand the purpose because the advantages I have read about seem inconsequential because the output of the code is going to be a pdf document anyway. I don't think I have the level of technical expertise necessary to understand what this package does in the documentation I've found online.

For epsf:

I cannot figure out what this command does. I believe it has something to do with the way figures are displayed. In particular, the figures are inserted using code as follows:

\begin{figure}%1, 2 before
\[
\begin{array}{ccc}
\noindent\epsffile{8d.eps} &\epsffile{8e.eps} &\epsffile{8a.eps}
\\%40, 30%
\mbox{(a)} &\mbox{(b)} &\mbox{(c)}
\end{array}
\]

but I have never seen \epsfile used before. After searching, I am under the impression that this is an outdated command, but I would like to be sure. Is there any difference between this and replacing \epsffile with \includegraphics?

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    I'd guess the source paper has a pedigree going back 25-30 years, and a preamble handed down like an oral tradition. In the first case, you've got code that predates easy conversion of EPS graphics to equivalent PDF files for use with pdflatex. In the second, you've got a weird implementation of subfigures. epsf has been superceded by graphics and graphicx since at least 1994. – Mike Renfro Dec 23 '14 at 2:18
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    epsf on CTAN if you'd like something saying it shouldn't be used from as official source as you're likely to get ;). – cfr Dec 23 '14 at 2:21
  • @MikeRenfro Indeed. The preamble has a huge hodgepodge of packages that aren't being used in the paper at all. I was nervous about inadvertantly breaking something without being aware of the consequences. – Echan Dec 23 '14 at 2:24
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    I wouldn't worry too much. Your collaborator almost certainly broke all kinds of things in the development of that preamble. – Mike Renfro Dec 23 '14 at 2:26
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    if you are writing a template, start from scratch, with modern packages and keep the l2tabu in mind. Don't convert a historically grown preamble into a template. – MaxNoe Dec 23 '14 at 9:36
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hyperref makes links and references active, and manages pdf bookmarks and forms and things. the dvips option is like the similar option to graphicx and tells the package to use \special commands for the latex/dvips processing chain rather than use pdftex commands for direct manipulation of the pdf output with pdftex. It is almost always best to omit this option: If latex is being used it is the default anyway, and if pdflatex is being used, you do not want the option.

epsf was the original tex macro set for postscript figure inclusion for dvips, it has been superseded by the graphicx package for the last 20 years or so, but still works:-)

You could use graphicx instead and then change \epsffile{8d.eps} to \includegraphics{8d.eps} which will do the same thing if using latex but make it easier to switch to pdflatex should you wish to do that.

\noindent in that context does nothing at all., and using \[ and array to center the collection rather than use \centering and a tabular is rather eccentric at best.

  • Thank you very much. This more than answered everything I wasn't clear on. – Echan Dec 23 '14 at 2:29

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