I have some basic experience to LaTeX but I’m expert MS Word user. Usually I satisfied with Word, but when I’m not it is really annoying. Before I spend weeks for learning LaTeX I’d like to check if my plans are possible or only dreams.

I usually make policies, procedures for companies. I’d like to build a system with version control (git). I always want to work on the latest document. My question is:

  • Is it possible to make templates which contains formats and main part of the text. It would be nice if anybody in the company can use it to create professional documents without LaTeX knowledge. (eg non-disclosure agreement template and my collage gives only a company name, or person and some other information and a new agreement generated)
  • Some policy contains lots of small procedure and I’d like to handle them together, but edit separately.
  • I’d like to give all document to the client in the end (pdf is an option), but would be nice if they can edit the text (without knowledge of Latex – I know it is sounds illogical, but unfortunately it is important if you work for other).
  • In general:
    • if our company want to use LaTeX for some kind of document (unfortunately not all of them) is it possible that most of them have only basic knowledge?
    • Can it fit to company’s processes if we use other application to (mainly MSWord).
    • Is it possible to use LaTeX if you crate documents to other companies and you had to give them an editable files too (and of course not all of the costumer is open to learn LaTeX).

thanks in advance

closed as primarily opinion-based by Sean Allred, Tom Bombadil, egreg, user13907, Mico Nov 16 '15 at 16:43

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    welcome to tex.sx. this doesn't answer your question, but it may interest you. there was a talk at the most recent tex users group meeting about a somewhat more restricted situation in which business documents (for a bank) are generated nearly automatically with tex; here's the video Joachim Schrod, DocCenter: TeXing 11 million documents a year – barbara beeton Nov 16 '15 at 13:52
  • thx I'll check it – Gabor Nov 16 '15 at 14:53
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    If it helps, I have a chapter on collaborative work in one of my LaTeX books. – Nicola Talbot Nov 16 '15 at 15:07
  • I want to make a note: two of your goals are contradictory. "I'd like to build a system with version control (git). I always want to work on the latest document." Using git properly means sometimes there is no 'latest' document. That said, TeX.SX is not the right place for this kind of a question. Try reddit or even LaTeX-L (where the latter has a much more mature and expertful audience). – Sean Allred Nov 16 '15 at 15:38

Let's rephrase two of your wishes

  • I’d like to give all document to the client in the end, but would be nice if they can edit the text without knowledge of MSWord

  • It would be nice if anybody in the company can use it to create professional documents without MSWord knowledge

Would you find such requirements easy to fulfil? I don't. Word is a rather complex application and the idea that one can use it for professional documents without knowledge and without training is absurd. The large number of bad looking unprofessional word documents is proof enough. One has to know how to use style sheets, how to get numbered section titles, how to handle the correction mode. The same is true for LaTeX.

If you want to produce only standardized documents you could hide (some of) the complexity (of Word or LaTeX) e.g. by using browser frontends, formular input, clever scripts, markdown input (and pandoc) .... But such interfaces can be difficult if "outside" people (clients) are involved. Also to setup and maintain such interfaces you need experts.

  • Yes, I know. But most of the clients had MSWord knowledge (but they usually had never been heard about LaTeX) I am grateful for the answer. – Gabor Nov 16 '15 at 15:40
  • Sure most people know (a bit) MSWord. But I think you can get a good feeling about all the possible problems by assuming that nobody besides you know yet MSword, they all use typewriters currently, and that you are considering to introduce it in your company. – Ulrike Fischer Nov 16 '15 at 15:48
  • should that "unpressional" be "unprofessional"? (if not, i'll have to consult a dictionary.) – barbara beeton Nov 16 '15 at 16:28
  • @barbarabeeton: I think it was a sort of crossbreed between unprofessional and unimpressive. – Ulrike Fischer Nov 16 '15 at 16:56
  • @UlrikeFischer -- big grin! – barbara beeton Nov 16 '15 at 17:00

Yes, all of these things can be done.

Things to research:

I believe it'd be worthwhile to compare what doing this sort of thing w/ commercialy available tools is like --- I do it for books at my day job and it's never an option to buy InCopy, so we use Microsoft Word for the editing, pull the text into InDesign, and I use a bunch of scripts to fix what can be automatically fixed, while the balance has to be fixed up by hand. Frankly, it feels like it's held together w/ spit, duct tape and baling wire, and it kills me that such an ad hoc solution passes for state-of-the-art.

Things which I'd really like to see in this space:

  • more support for pandoc
  • an option for opensource apps to directly open web pages and use pandoc to seamlessly convert the content --- bonus points for determining if the page is a wiki and instead grabbing the mediawiki source to use instead of the converted html.
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    Looks good :) thx – Gabor Nov 16 '15 at 15:35

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