While browsing this site, I was surprised to find that TeX allows one to produce various kinds of output that could not be represented on paper. For example, one has animation ( How can we draw Christmas animations with TikZ?) and icons in PDFs that generate pop-ups when clicked on (the pdfcomment package). What other features of this kind are there?

(The specific thing that led me to ask this q. was a desire to be able to expand/compress sections of output text, in order to be able to view a document in different 'levels of detail'. I suspect that this is not possible because it would interfere with page breaking algorithms -- but then, I wouldn't have thought animations were possible in TeX either!)

Edit: knowing about PDF viewers' support levels for such features would also be welcome. I should also say that I'm using enough of TeX's typesetting features that e.g. webpages come nowhere near being a viable alternative.

  • Cf 'Constructing a dynamic PDF' at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/19673/… . (How do I make sensibly named hyperlinks in comments?) – Mohan Dec 30 '12 at 22:22
  • 2
    The question is at least partly illposed, I think. The pdf format allows embedding almost arbitrary streams, for example flash video and thus audio. as well as forms with javascript for rudimentary interactivity. So all the basic forms of multimedia, we are accustomed, to are supported by the format, at least in principle; all not representable on paper. Obviously the computer hardware these days isn't yet ready to provide us with practical haptic or olifactory feedback and pdf can't do miracles. The other side is how easy it is and especially the forms are quite hard, not just in latex. – Max Dec 30 '12 at 22:57
  • 2
    Cf. tex.stackexchange.com/questions/14842/creating-fillable-pdfs and search for eforms/acrotex. What i was trying to say is, that this intrinsic interactivity without streams is basically handcrafted javascript, which you can write in latex just like in other environments. The only thing i know of that is a lot less convenient is including a readymade video. – Max Dec 30 '12 at 23:12
  • 2
  • 1
    I agree with @Max that the question could be improved. The title is misleading (some more obvious answers you are probably not looking for: hyperlinks, giant/microscopic page sizes, RGB color space, ...). The technical definition of the scope "possible with LaTeX" is not that helpful either (everthing that is computable is possible...). Maybe what you had in mind is more like "Showcases of interactive documents created with LaTeX"? Please also state clearly what part you think is missinng in the existing questions and their answers. – Daniel Mar 13 '13 at 6:28

One of the other features of this kind would be an interactive 3D plots of vector graphics, that can be included into the LaTeX document with the help of the Asymptote, which is included in current TeXLive distribution. It lets to embed the 3D PRC format in a PDF file. Embedded 3D plot can be interactively rotated, viewed as a wire-frame, surface or illustration, etc. This feature is supported with version 9.0 or later of Adobe Reader. I am not aware of any other PDF viewers that support this for now.

  • In my self-answer to Using Asymptote with MiKTeX I used the example file latexusage.tex and created a screen shot image. One cannot test, of course, the interactive feature. – Speravir Mar 13 '13 at 4:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.