MathGroup Archive 2009

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

Search the Archive

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

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg95520] Re: [mg95426] Re: Which editor do you use for math articles
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 05:50:24 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <> <> <op.unw1jsv7tgfoz2@bobbys-imac.local> <> <op.uny2v0v0tgfoz2@bobbys-imac.local> <> <op.unzpiovktgfoz2@bobbys-imac.local>
  • Reply-to: murray at

TeX is NOT a version of HTML.  Like HTML, though, it is a mark-up 
language; but this mark-up languages emphasizes especially logical 
mark-up (with the details as to how things should actually look handled 
by the relevant macros and packages that designers have created).  For 
example (when using LaTeX):


says to typeset the document in the "article" style (as opposed to the 
book style, e.g.).

   \section{The first big thing}

creates a numbered section header, with an appropriately larger and 
(perhaps) bolded title "The first big thing", places appropriate spacing 
before and after the title, and creates a corresponding entry in a table 
of contents (in case one includes a command to include the contents).

   this is a \emph{really} big idea

is typeset so as to put the word "really" (by default) in italics.

       \int_0^{\infty} e^{-t^2}\,dt =  \frac{\sqrt{\pi}}{2}

creates a sequentially-numbered, centered equation displayed on a 
separate line saying the same thing as what the Mathematica front end 
renders as the value of:

   HoldForm[Integrate[Exp[-t^2], {t,0,\[Infinity]}]==Sqrt[\[Pi]]/2]

LaTeX automatically justifies lines (including automatically 
hyphenating) and balancing lines on pages much the way a professional 
typesetter would do.

To say more than this would go WAY beyond the proper topic of this 
newsgroup!  Please take a look at the examples linked from he URLs I 
provided in my early posting.

DrMajorBob wrote:
> What I find odd is using a text editor for this.
> Is TeX a version of HTML, then?
> Bobby
> On Sun, 18 Jan 2009 16:30:46 -0600, Murray Eisenberg 
> <murray at> wrote:
>> 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 
>> languages.)
>> 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: Finding a sine wave
  • Next by Date: Re: Interval arithmetic and Dependency problems
  • Previous by thread: Re: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles
  • Next by thread: Re: Which editor do you use for math articles