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Re: How to write reports and books in Mathematica

The Presentations package does have such a functionality. It has formatting
commands for laying out material on the page. You can see some of this in
the Roger Williams video that was posted earlier in this thread.

This is all designed for presenting mathematical material to readers and
suppressing strings of input/output cells or boiler-plate specifications.
This may not be exactly what you are thinking of. It is not a method of
having side-by-side independent cells. You can have TextCell or
ExpressionCell inside a Mathematica expression, Row for example, but they
seem to always get evaluated. There doesn't seem to be a way to generate
independent cells within an expression, that can be independently evaluated.

But, if you want to present defined calculations to a reader, Presentations
has twocolumn, comment and command statements that allow you to layout a two
column display with comments (or even some active statements) on one side
and "commands" on the other side. The commands show the result of an
evaluation and in a tooltip (if you want that) that shows the unevaluated
input statements that produced the output. There are also commands for
setting up buttons either as a cell, or in Inline text cells to generate
displays. The buttons are designed to either generate a display in the next
cell or as a free standing window. There are also constructions to generate
a structure of buttons, which can be clicked through to go through the steps
of a longer derivation or proof. The reader can again generate some of the
"page" steps in separate windows so that various sections of a derivation
can be compared side by side.

Setting up such displays, however, does involve a certain amount of detailed
work because each step has to be defined.

David Park
djmpark at  

From: Peltio [mailto:peltio at] 

Il 09-May-10, David Park ha detto :
> Per,
> This can be approached at different levels.
> First, I'm not familiar with the capabilities and pricing of the various
> versions of Mathematica but, if you can manage it and plan to do a lot of
> technical work, get up to date with the latest version and keep up to
> There is a world of difference between Version 7 and Version 5. The
> and improved graphics extend the ability to communicate by an order of
> magnitude - or more.

My biggest gripe when using Mathematica as a word processor was the lack of 
tables and columns in the basic layout of a notebook. Having everything 
in just one single column was so 1800s ...

I remember some package or add-on could be used to add two-columns 
capability to Mathematica (in fact, I believe that many books on
like Roman Maeder's were written with something like that), but I believe 
such a basic functionality should be built-in, in order for everyone to 
take advantage of it.

Has this been added in the latest versions of Mathematica? I don't remember
have seen it advertised anywhere.

It would be nice to have a "columns" or "table" entry in the Format 
menu that makes the notebook from the cursor onward a two (or n) column 
table. In this way it would be possible to have text on one side and 
code and output on the other. Or to have multicolum text (eventually 
flowing from one column to the other if suitable options are given).

Is it so difficul to add such a functionality in the form of a new 
Layout[] construct?

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