Every now and then I am required to circulate a document in Word format; I write in LaTeX, of course. I use xelatex because I frequently need Unicode; I do bibliographies with biblatex; and I basically never write any equations.

To my surprise tex4ht now does a pretty respectable job producing an OpenOffice document from my tex source if I reframe it with a minimal preamble as ordinary latex (with babel and inputenc for unicode), process it with pdflatex and biber to generate auxiliary files, and then invoke tex4ht with a command like

htlatex chapter.tex "xhtml,ooffice,bib-,mathml-" " -cmozhtf" "-coo"

But the styling of the resulting document is never good enough and needs to be fiddled with in OpenOffice itself before using OO to convert to Word. And, because the style sheet of the generated document is long and complex, even minimal tweaking requires modifying 10 or so styles in OpenOffice. That's too much to repeat every time I change the underlying TeX and have to reprocess everything.

Unfortunately the tex4ht documentation is very sketchy and very confusing. How do I tweak the output--where do the relevant tex4ht configuration files live, and how do I change them?

Or is there an alternative tool? I've been thinking tex4ht is the only conversion tool I can use, because I'm using biblatex, but maybe there's something else out there.

Many thanks for any help.

2 Answers 2


use one of the converters pdf to doc, they give better results than with an intermediate html format. The best converter seems to be Nitro PDF, they have a test version.

  • Sure, "better" depends on your requirements. What if a journal requires a Word document with equations embedded as proper MathML/MathType/Equation editor equation?
    – krlmlr
    Sep 26, 2011 at 7:55

You may have better luck with pandoc; it's supposed to be able to convert between a plethora of formats, but I haven't had much success with my LaTeX documents as I use a lot of custom environments in external style files. I'm going to experiment with it some more to see how I can get better results from it.

Tex4ht and friends, on the other hand, converts my document structure (some of the time) but completely ignores the actual text (!).

So, your mileage may vary.

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