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MathGroup Archive 2003

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Trying to use Mathematica as "word processor" for my math homework

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg44293] Trying to use Mathematica as "word processor" for my math homework
  • From: Bob Harris <nitlion at mindspring.com>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 03:24:26 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

Howdy,

I have recently returned to grad school, and am attempting to use
mathematica as my "word processor" for my math-related homework.  There are
a few annoying things that keep happening to my attempts at this, and I
thought I'd describe them here in hopes that someone would have some better
suggestions.

For an example of what I've been doing, see
    http://www.cse.psu.edu/~rsharris/spamlog/ExampleHW.nb

My motivations are (a) it will give me a clean output that will be easier on
the grader's eyes, (b) it will make it easier for me to edit changes to
equations, etc., and (c) I can include mathematica-generated plots and
import drawings from other packages.

I've been doing this with some success from the beginning of the fall
semester.  I'm not incredibly sophistocated with mathematica, but have
managed to do this using only InputForm and StandardForm cells (i.e. I have
set the cells to DisplayAs one of those two forms, depending on whether the
cell contains running text or equations).  This sort of works, but there are
many shortcomings:

1) Mathematica likes to auto format things, so it is difficult for me to get
things to line up the way I want them to.  This has made the inclusion of
mathematical symbology in my running text difficult.  I think I have
discovered that displaying a cell as Text rather than InputForm is better,
but haven't tried it much yet.

2) In many cases when I include a plot, or an imported drawing, when I print
out the notebook I get an unnecessary page feed before and/or after the
plot/drawing.

3) Font sizes on the printout don't seem to correlate with font sizes on the
screen.  The default size of 12 pt is fine to read on the screen, but is too
small on the printed page.  Very surprisingly, it is not as large on paper
as wehen I use 12 pt fonts in other programs.

4) Trying to set font sizes on things seems like a nightmare of hard to
comprehend results.  E.g. slecting a cell and setting the font size many
times seems to have no effect whatsoever.

5) ... others ...

I've also looked at style sheets a little bit.  Like I said, I'm not very
mathematica-sophistocated, and am trying to find a fairly quick solution
that I can implement without having to dig *too* deep (am willing to dig
some, but don't really have the time with my current class and teaching load
to spend a lot of time with this).

It seems like what I'm after is the same sort of set up that someone writing
a paper for publicatiojn would need.  Have looked for such examples, but
have not found any.

Thanks for any help or suggestions,
Bob Harris


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