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Workflow for converting LaTeX into Open Office / MS Word Format

I am making a book using memoir and I am planning to try a proof reading service that uses Word. Does anyone have experience with such a set up, how would I go about doing it?

I suppose it would be two main issues:

  • Conversion to Word
    • I have heard about tools for converting from pdf to Word. Is this a good idea? Should I do something special with the pdf before attempting such a tool (at least I guess removing the trim frames is a must?) and is there such a tool that does a better job than any other? Will they handle images?
    • There are probably scripts for going from tex source to RTF but how well are they at handling references and bibliographies? And which one would be best for preparing a proof reading base?
  • Conversion from Word
    • I suppose I will have to this manual by adding each change to my source files one at a time. Or can anyone think of something else?

I realise this looks like many questions but what I am hoping for is that someone can share their thoughts on it or even better their experiences!

marked as duplicate by jonalv, doncherry, lockstep, Alan Munn, Joseph Wright Jan 4 '12 at 20:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 6
    We've had word/LaTeX conversion questions before. Could you clarify why this isn't a duplicate? – Seamus Jan 3 '12 at 10:39
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    It depends a bit on which kind of proof-reading is done, and what kind of document is expected. If it is only for spelling, a simple pdf to word conversion will be ok. If it is for layout, fonts, aesthetics etc., it won't be enough, because you lose a lot of such kind of information. – Martigan Jan 3 '12 at 10:46
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    Don't do this. Conversion is flaky at best since any conversion utility will not know about anything you do that's "slightly special", or extra environments etc. from most packages. In something the size of a book, you're very likely to use one at some point and then the proof reader can't do their job. To rephrase, unless you write in a crippled subset of LaTeX, you're going to have problems with this. – qubyte Jan 3 '12 at 10:49

My suggestion would be to not use a proof reading system that forces you to use a proprietary document format: I'm sure there must be proofreading services that allow you to submit a PDF. If there isn't, there's a gap in the market and if I didn't have a PhD thesis to write, I'd start up a company to fill it. (I probably wouldn't.)

If you want "track changes" style features, I believe LyX can do this. There might even be proofreading services that support LyX…

As Mark S. Everitt says in the comments, no conversion is perfect and this is going to create problems eventually. As Martigan says (also in comments) for simple spelling/grammar checking, you may be ok with a basic conversion tool. But converting it back to LaTeX will be a nightmare and will undo all the formatting work you did to the original document. Just don't do it.

  • There seems to be a big difference in price when it comes to proofreaders using the built in comment function in Word compared to those using any non built in pdf based system... As for the general situation I too think it is a bad idea, however my boss seems to think it is a good idea and I wanted to see if anyone has done something similar and had some suggestions. It might be worth it though (even though my feeling also is that it eventually will create problems) considering the big difference in costs... – jonalv Jan 3 '12 at 12:19

convert your pdf output to doc with http://www.pdftoword.com/ or other online converters

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