Mathematica 9 is now available
Services & Resources / Wolfram Forums / MathGroup Archive

MathGroup Archive 2009

[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index]

Search the Archive

Re: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles

What you say is both true and non-true!  A commercial package such as PC 
TeX is a single application that includes the editor, previewer, etc.

On the other hand, the origin of TeX is in the *nix world, so the 
paradigm persists of a separate tool for each task:  a text editor; the 
executable TeX engine itself; and a previewer (from which one often does 
the printing).  The TeX engine may itself have a version that produces 
pdf directly, or one may use a separate tool in the bundle that converts 
the the standard TeX device-independent output .dvi file into pdf.

The TeX engine is the analog of Mathematica's kernel; the editor and 
previewer together form the analog of Mathematica's front end; and the 
various TeX/LaTeX packages are analogs of specialized Mathematical packages.

With contemporary distributions, however, the separation into the 
different tools is largely transparent to the user. The front-end editor 
is, in a sense, the application, and you don't really have to care what 
executable or batch file is doing what.

About fonts:  producing a high-quality font family that includes all the 
necessary fonts for mathematics is no mean feat. That was a reason that 
Donald Knuth originally designed TeX, because so many journal articles 
looked plain ugly as they tried to mix and match symbols with letters. 
And among symbols I include upper & lower-case Greek, both upright and 
slanted, Cyrillic, "blackboard bold", Hebrew (for set theory's Aleph, e.g.)

The standard, default set of fonts is Computer Modern, which looks great 
  on-screen but can seem a bit spindly in print. Many folks who are 
producing technical documents with mathematical symbols want a different 
choice, and that's why the two most popular alternatives -- Times with 
MathTimes and Lucida with Lucida Math -- were developed.  To use those, 
instead of Computer Modern, one simply includes a line or two of code in 
the document to load some packages; then, provided you have the 
underlying fonts, everything works transparently; you do have many 
options available that you can set for these fonts though, and some even 
for Computer Modern, e.g., just what font to use for script.

(TeX is is used for many purposes far from math and science, and there 
are fonts and supporting packages available for a huge number of world 

It is NOT difficult at all to getting a working TeX system: my TeX-naive 
Math 370 students all managed to do it in short order.

But just like using Mathematica effectively takes some learning effort, 
so using LaTeX effectively does, too.

DrMajorBob wrote:
> Judging from your links, there IS no application that creates, edits, 
> and maintains LaTex (and displays it; I forgot that part).
> It takes at least four different pieces of software? And dozens of 
> extra, optional pieces? For one task?
> And you sometimes use a different package because it handles certain 
> fonts, but the other package doesn't?
> Wow! That sounds like quite a briar patch you're suggesting.
> Anyway, isn't loading, and THAT'S not encouraging.
> I initially used TeX for early versions of my dissertation back in 
> 1987-1989, but the writing went on hiatus when I was assigned to the 
> Pentagon, dissertation unfinished. (Dr. Klingman, my adviser, was dying 
> of brain cancer at the time, though I don't offer that as an excuse.) 
> When I took up the struggle again in 1992, I used Word and its Equation 
> Editor (later adding MathEdit because Equation Editor was only its 
> stunted younger brother). It was a MUCH better experience than what I'd 
> gone through with TeX, although I suppose TeX had improved in the 
> meantime as well. Sadly, it was not long after finishing the 
> dissertation that Word would no longer display the equations properly. 
> (A year or two?)
> Still, my MS Thesis was accomplished (1983) with rub-off templates for 
> equation symbols, so it was a very significant progression from that, to 
> 1988 TeX, to 1992 MathEdit.
> Oh, and let's not forget the Wang workstations I used, 1984-1986, which 
> handled equations better than anything I've seen since... until 
> Mathematica.
> Another poster suggested LyX, and it "looks" very promising (though 
> looks can be deceiving). It seems to do everything at once.
> Bobby
> On Sun, 18 Jan 2009 04:31:52 -0600, Murray Eisenberg 
> <murray at> wrote:
>> There are several distributions of TeX, which include the LaTeX macro
>> package along with scads of other packages that modify the default
>> behavior of, or add new functionality to, LaTeX.  Some of these
>> distributions, except for Linux, include a "front end" editor that
>> integrates into the input -> dvi (or pdf) viewer -> print chain.
>> For some recommendations, see the menu item "About Math 370" at:
>> And you may be interested in the items under "LaTeX resources" at that 
>> site.
>> For a more complete listing of TeX/LaTeX distributions
>> and the links there.
>> There are both free and commercial distributions.
>> For an easy-to-install Windows distribution that includes a front end
>> editor, I recommend ProTeXt. Personally I most often use the free MiKTeX
>> distribution (which is part of ProTeXt) together with the low-cost front
>> end editor WinEdt (which is more powerful than the editor that comes
>> with ProTeXt but is more complicated to configure). Sometimes I use the
>> nicely integrated, commercial PCTeX system ( just because
>> some of the LaTeX packages it includes make it much easier to use the
>> non-default Lucida fonts or the MathTime Pro fonts.
>> DrMajorBob wrote:
>>> What application creates, edits, and maintains LaTex?
>>> Sign me curious,
>>> Bobby
>>> On Sat, 17 Jan 2009 04:27:37 -0600, Murray Eisenberg
>>> <murray at> wrote:
>>>> If you want an interactive document, then there's little, if anything,
>>>> that can touch Mathematica.
>>>> If you want a more-or-less static document, then the gold standard in
>>>> the mathematical community, and in a good part of the scientific
>>>> community, is LaTeX. You can include any Mathematica-produced graphic
>>>> there by exporting it as EPS.
>>>> And LaTeX documents today typically wind up as PDF, with embedded
>>>> hyperlinks and even animation and some interactive effects.
>>>> TL wrote:
>>>>> Although Mathematica 7 is a very powerful peace of software as far as
>>>>> the computational part goes it turns out to be quite limited and
>>>>> unstable when it comes to word editing and processing, despite the
>>>>> claims in the help that it is almost as powerful as WinWord.
>>>>> For example it crashed multiple times on me while I was trying to 
>>>>> setup
>>>>> the right fonts and sizes, as  a result I lost all my work several
>>>>> times, it also messed up my fonts, sizes, styles, settings for the
>>>>> equations, its undo is totally useless and I couldn't figure out 
>>>>> how to
>>>>> format a text and a graphic in two or more columns and display them 
>>>>> side
>>>>> by side in a notebook as well as how to control what goes on what page
>>>>> and while printing to PDF often it wouldn't print all pages, but just
>>>>> the first 2-3.
>>>>> All that said I'm wondering what program to use to write my work 
>>>>> in, and
>>>>> I'm asking for advice - is WinWord any better when it comes to 
>>>>> handling
>>>>> equations?
>>>>> Any other choices?
>>>>> What is the best way to export Mathematica 7 equations and graphics?

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

  • Prev by Date: Re: Chem PDB files, Export and Manipulation
  • Next by Date: Re: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles
  • Previous by thread: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles
  • Next by thread: Re: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles