A few years back, I used to use LaTeX for writing reports and such, and I really liked the look of them.

However, nowadays I am forced to use MS Word to write my reports, but that does not hinder me from playing around with the document layout.

When I see a document typeset using LaTeX, I can often immediately spot it, I'm assuming that is because there is a nice default document template.

What types of setting in MS Word 2007/2010 (fonts, margins, letter spacing etc.) would allow my documents to look similar to default LaTeX documents?

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    @Philipp: The math typesetting is superior to TeX? In what way? Jan 6, 2011 at 11:38
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    @ShreevatsaR: it allows more fine-grained control over various font-related parameters; it allows kerning between base characters and scripts; it is technically more advanced, moving lots of things from macro packages to Unicode and OpenType where they belong; and, due to OpenType, much more variants (e.g. parentheses of different sizes) can be present in the fonts. Most enhancements have already been backported to LuaTeX.
    – Philipp
    Jan 6, 2011 at 12:32
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    @TH. OpenType math fonts have 65 parameters. \cong is a macro in traditional TeX, but a separate character in Unicode (U+2245). The CM fonts have only a few hundreds of math characters, Unicode has thousands. Unicode is not a character encoding. Computer Modern contains four pre-drawn glyphs for the opening parenthesis, Cambria Math has eight. I have already stated two enhancements: more font parameters, base–script kerning; another one is prescripts, which are complete unavailable in traditional TeX.
    – Philipp
    Jan 6, 2011 at 23:20
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    @Phillip, @TH: I can't say much about the different parameters, but does Word now handle large documents with a lot of math while staying stable? The last time (years ago) I tried to type all my formulas with MS Word and it became very slow (2-3 pages of only equations) and finally kept crashing (4 pages) so that it was unusable. Mar 29, 2011 at 17:01
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    Could anyone explain to me why this is not off topic for this site?
    – cfr
    Sep 14, 2014 at 23:29

15 Answers 15


I agree that it is impossible to completely imitate (La)TeX in Word. If you just want the font, then there is an OpenType version of Computer Modern, the default font of TeX. If you want the margins, just measure them on a LaTeX document and then set them in Word accordingly (I would recommend that you use KOMA Script or memoir as a base, not the default LaTeX classes, as the look imo better on A4 and letter paper.)

There is also a LaTeX template for Word. Since I don't own Word, I can't tell how good it looks.

  • 4
    I've just checked the Word template (after installing the cmr and cmbx fonts mentioned on the template website) and indeed it looks quit good (=similar) Jan 6, 2011 at 12:23
  • The margins in plain TeX, (and I presume that it is the same in LaTeX) is 1 inch from each side including footline, excluding headline. Font size is 10pt by default, and you get an A4 paper size in all kind of TeX.
    – Adam L. S.
    Jul 3, 2011 at 14:04
  • lmroman12 fonts also look a lot like Computer Modern; download here.
    – Yibo Yang
    Jan 21, 2019 at 19:29
  • Links above are now dead as a dodo! here's a word template on Github github.com/sebnil/LaTeX-template-for-Word. And the fonts one can simply do a google search Mar 7 at 8:28
  • Here's a good link with TEX fonts for word gust.org.pl/projects/e-foundry/latin-modern/download Mar 7 at 8:30

Besides all the 'it isn't possible' advice, what I would advice is:

  • Use the LaTeX Template for Word mentioned by Caramdir (make sure to install the 3 mentioned fonts)
  • The author section of the IEEE website also provides a 2-column Word template for their papers, resembling quite a lot the LaTeX one.
    Other academic publishers (like Elsevier) also have similar Word templates (use Google to find them).
  • Make your document look as consistent as possible. I think that, apart from the typesetting, the consistent output produced by LaTeX is one of the things that make it look like LaTeX. Most Word documents have the tendency to be a collection of slightly-different layouted text blocks because there is nothing that forces the user to do otherwise.
    Practically, this translates to using paragraph and character styles rigorously. These could be the styles from the template mentioned, or your own defined styles. (BTW: The key to using styles in Word is to assign shortcut-keys for the most-used ones)
  • A wider left margin also might make it more LaTeX-like
  • Use a small font (10pt or so)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph (although I personally don't like that)
  • Put your tables and figures at the bottom or top of a page
  • I think convention for indenting may vary from one language to the other; I seem to remind that there's even some variations depending on whether the text immediately follows a section title or not. But I'm not an expert in typography :)
    – chl
    Jan 6, 2011 at 14:11
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    @chl: as I've always understood it: the indentation visually separates each paragraph (i.e., the reader quickly sees the paragraphs as 'blocks'). An other option would be to use a blank line (or half a line, or similar) between each paragraph, which is what I prefer because it makes the overall layout 'lighter' and less dense. Using spacing between paragraphs thus makes first-line indentation unnecessary, but requires more vertical space overall. Jan 6, 2011 at 15:07

No, you can't do it. One of the biggest differences between LaTeX and Word (and most other word processors for that matter) is that LaTeX (based on TeX) does run optimization algorithms to decide where to break paragraphs into lines and your document into pages. These algorithms try to find the most “appealing” way to flow the text of your document into pages. TeX will even let you know when it couldn't do a good enough job and sometimes complain about under- and overfull boxes.

Almost every other word processor, including MS Word, will blindly stack words into lines until they don't fit anymore, and start a new line there. Hyphenation makes things a bit better, but still no attempt is done in order to find “good” points to break lines in order to make the paragraphs look better.

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    I don't understand why this answer was upvoted so many times. The question was not whether it is possible, but instead what you can do to resemble it as closely as possible. Jan 6, 2011 at 12:21
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    @Rabarberski: It correctly identifies the point which will be hardest to replicate, namely line-breaking. Otherwise you're right, the OP didn't ask for anti-MS rants.
    – Philipp
    Jan 6, 2011 at 12:34
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    @Philipp: This is most certainly not an anti-MS rant. It's not anti-MS or anti-Word, and it's not a rant.
    – TH.
    Jan 6, 2011 at 20:41
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    It also uses expandable glues, that are not available in word. Also as far as I know you can't even typeset the TeX logo. The other way around should work in every aspect.
    – Adam L. S.
    Jul 3, 2011 at 14:06

I offer two options for you (Option 2 is best if you aren't going to compile anymore):

Option 1

Download OpenOffice for free and download writer2latex, also free. It supports xelatex export too! It also does a nice job exporting tables.

Option 2 A project I worked on to make Word documents resemble LaTeX documents. You will need a Mac for this.


MS Word Script Menu enter image description here

Note: You can edit the plist file to your liking.

  • set margins
  • set font sizes for various heading styles
  • toggle bold or italics for various styles

Additional Scripts

This AppleScript handler sets the font for all styles. It can be expanded to set specific styles, but I have not finished it yet. I recommend using Latin Modern Roman, because it is the unicode font, which replaces CMU when working with XeLateX. Warning: There is a glitch in that when changing the name property of the font object of Word styles, a list template is applied to heading 1. I do not know why this happens. This is not a problem in the original script above, because of a complicated workaround using the find and replace command.

set fontChoice to text returned of (display dialog "Please select a font" default answer "Latin Modern Roman")
my setupfontObjectStyle___("all", fontChoice)

on setupfontObjectStyle___(styleName, newValue)
    -- use styleName "all" if you need to  
    tell application "Microsoft Word"
        tell active document
            if styleName is equal to "all" then
                set wordStylesList to Word styles
                    repeat with styleStep from 1 to count of wordStylesList
                        set name of font object of item styleStep of wordStylesList to newValue
                    end repeat
                on error
                    display dialog "There was a problem with the script."
                end try
            end if
        end tell
    end tell
end setupfontObjectStyle___

This script zooms word perfectly to fit a styles menu panel on the right side of the program so that you can see the other "Word Styles Setup" in action. Designed for a 13-inch monitor. (tested on Macbook Air)

tell application "Microsoft Word"
    set width of active window to 1243
    set height of active window to 820
    set position of active window to {0, 76}
    set percentage of zoom of view of active window to 196
    get bounds of window 1
end tell
  • Neither of the download links work anymore.
    – Lennart
    Oct 9, 2013 at 11:25
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    @Lennart Thanks Lennart. I will fix this on the weekend. Oct 11, 2013 at 12:17
  • 1
    @Lennart Everything should work again now! Oct 13, 2013 at 13:44
  • Dear @JonathanKomar thank you for your work! I downloaded msword.academic_style, how should I use it in Word 2019 for Mac OS? Thank you again, D.
    – Dawson
    May 19, 2020 at 9:23
  • @Dawson Glad it can be made useful. The README says to place it under ~/Library/Preferences (regardless of Word version). I imagine that is still relevant. I do not have Word 2019, so I cannot test it. However, unless Microsoft changed their AppleScript API, then I would expect the script to work. May 19, 2020 at 10:39

You can call a mule a horse, but will never make it a horse. No amount of fiddling can make a Word document look like one typeset with TeX, especially one that contains a serious amount of maths.

Major difference will remain in letter spacing, interword space, paragraph justification, hyphenation, page breaking and adjustment of floats.

If you are forced to use Word at work, one way - to simulate TeX with Word - is to typeset your documents with LaTeX and import them as images in your Word document!

  • 3
    Well, I guess a mule will have to do. I know there is much more to it with TeX than just fonts and spacings, but what I am trying to do is sort of a "TeX-like" document template.
    – Theodor
    Jan 5, 2011 at 10:37
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    Why not export it as a PDF?
    – alexyorke
    Mar 29, 2011 at 1:29
  • 1
    @alexy13 That would also be ok. Mar 29, 2011 at 14:49
  • Would be better to import as EMF or other vector format that Word can read instead of a bitmap.
    – lblb
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:01

Even if you cannot match LaTeX quality with MS Word, that doesn't mean you cannot produce great-looking documents with it. If you are a designer, you'll get great-looking document no matter what app you're using. Couple of months ago I read an article which made me stop and rethink. The tool one is using is important, but not the most important part of document production. The main actor from the link I provided is witnessing that.

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    IIUC, the layout was achieved by lot of manual tweaking. For example, in the third to last figure (blood red fruit, shown in red), I believe the hyphenation is done manually. Note the manual par break in the 8th line (shin-ing) and the red underline on ing. So clearly, if you put in as much effort as original typographers who laid out text by hand, you can get good results with any tool.
    – Aditya
    Mar 6, 2012 at 19:51
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    Same applies to any tool out there, including *TeX. You cannot achieve great results without manual tweaking, sometimes a huge amount of it. I remember some production notes for "The LaTeX Companion": "[...] on maybe 10% of the pages [minor rewriting was needed] in order to avoid bad line breaks or page breaks [...] 45 long spreads, 25 short spreads, 230 forced page breaks, 400 adjustments to the vertical spacing, 100 other manual adjustments (other than rewriting)." Of course, even manual adjustments are easier done with LaTeX, but the point is that they're unavoidable in most cases.
    – Meho R.
    Mar 14, 2012 at 18:30
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    Wow! I never realized that so much manual tweaking was done in the LaTeX Companion.
    – Aditya
    Mar 14, 2012 at 22:29
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    Knuth's books also have a great deal of manual tweaking. It's naive to think that you can just type stuff and TeX will make it look nice for you.
    – bubba
    Jun 17, 2013 at 8:58

Well, it sounds dumb, but you could technically do this. If you're required to do something in MS Word (and, well, want to "stick it to the man"), you could technically still submit your document in MS Word by first writing it in LaTeX, then writing some sort of script (you're probably stuck using VBA) to take each page of the PDF or DVI file rendered by TeX and insert it into a page of MS Word, with 0" margins on each side. It wouldn't be editable, but it would definitely look exactly like a LaTeX document. Word can probably also open PDF files as is (don't have a copy to try it out on, so I don't know), so that would also technically be in MS Word.

But beyond this (slightly absurd) suggestion, I completely agree with the other answers. TeX/LaTeX is much, much more than just a template, so trying to implement even an appreciable subset of it's features in a template-like formalism is just not going to cut it.

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    Being "stuck to VBA" (which is a fairly modern programming language) would be much better than being stuck to TeX macros.
    – Philipp
    Jan 6, 2011 at 12:35
  • You can also use VBScript or J(ava)script, and call Word API functions from "outside", meaning a standalone scriptfile.
    – marczellm
    Apr 15, 2014 at 16:15

If you are "forced to use MS Word to write my reports", I assume that it is because you are working in a team that uses MS Word to produce collaborative documents, and not that you don't have access to TeX.

I am in a similar situation. I still try to work in TeX as much as possible, because a) I am more comfortable with the workflow and b) because it produces much nicer documents.

These are the workarounds that I use to work with our team.

  1. If I am the owner of the document, I first write it in LaTeX, convert it to PDF, open it in MS Word and save it, before sharing it with the team. This works well with simple documents, but only the Windows version of Word can open PDFs. I incorporate any comments I get back from the team in Word versions back in my LaTeX and make the final product a PDF from the LaTeX. The formatting is translated well, particularly if you use the same fonts, but beware that anything but very simple mathematical formulae can get mangled by this process.

  2. For slightly more complicated documents, I use pandoc, writing the document in Markdown and then using a workflow similar to that described J. Alexander Branham, making a DOCX from the Markdown while the final product is a LaTeX to PDF from the Markdown.

  3. For documents owned by others, I tend to have little control over the format and have to work directly with the Word, but I do what I can to clean up and simplify the mess of styles I often come across, in a way that subtly improves the final product.


If it was vice versa it would be much easier. Using xelatex one can use the Word standard fonts to mimic it's look: http://uweziegenhagen.de/?p=1359

Happy TeXing!


Use this template with the fonts listed:


And follow these tips:


You should get a pretty decent approximation.


A most simple way to produce a latex looking doc in word is simplified into steps.

  1. Use Century font
  2. Refer an original latex document(e: if you are working on a project report, then collect a latex made project report)--- and then type the words exactly in same place as in latex doc... with almost same font size, orientation , position, margin etc.
  3. Save it as pdf (install save as pdf addon if you dont have it).
  4. Now see the magic...your ms word doc will now have 90% similiarity with original ltex made document....

Mac Instructions only Based on James Lingard's MS Word template page.

Lingard's template file (LaTeX.dot) can be used to produce documents that look a lot like they've been typeset in TeX/LaTeX but you'll need to install the Computer Modern TrueType versions of fonts used by LaTeX to make them available in MS Word.

Installing the fonts:

  1. Download the minimum set: cmr10.ttf, cmbx12.ttf and cmbx10.ttf and other suggested tt files (e.g. bakoma true type fonts)

  2. Once downloaded on the Mac, go to the download location and open the files by double-clicking. This starts Font Book which opens the tt (TrueType) font file. Font Book is included with OS/X. Basic instructions on using Font Book from Apple.

  3. Font Book provides a small display of the font and gives an option to "Install Font" via the button at bottom right of the window.

  4. Click Install Font; Font Book then checks/validates the font. You might need to review warnings, all trivial as far as I make it, after which the font is now available for Mac applications to use. User installed fonts view in the OS/X Font Book

  5. The next time you open MS Word it will spend 30s or so updating its font listing.

Installing the Template:

Mac instructions only: You add Lindgard's LaTeX.dot file to the appropriate templates folder:

MS Word template location. From the Finder menu; Finder>Go>Go to Folder...

~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/My Templates

Then create a new MS Word document based on the template via:

  1. From the MS Word menu bar: File > New from Template...

  2. The MS Word "Document Gallery" window opens...

  3. Select "My Templates" in the navigation pane...

  4. Select the template named "LaTeX"

Your new document is now using Lindgard's stylesheet in MS Word, which should also be using the bakoma TrueType fonts. The screen and output should now mimic a LaTeX typeset document very closely.


I may have come up with a good way to mimic the style (including the equations and index) to that of a LaTeX document.

Download the Latin Modern math fonts (the Latin Modern Collection—OTF files are also available).

Install all fonts from the ZIP files and then create a style file for Word. With that done just simply export your files as PDFs. Here are my samples.

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • There are many font files (.OTF) files in the ZIP file. Which font did you use? Related, is the same font for regular text and subtitles? Feb 15 at 7:45

If you want to use LaTeX, you could get the mk4ht package, and use this to convert LaTeX documents to Open Office format, and open these in Word (2007+) and have the best of both worlds.

That being said, if you have the JDK installed on your system (at least in Ubuntu) this breaks, and you need to use htlatex to convert TeX to HTML and thus to Open Office and hence to Word.


Why not use LaTeX, then parse them through TextoWord? I haven't used it myself, and have absolutely no intention of doing so, but I understand that it works very well. There's also LatextoRTF.

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