homemade at talktalk.net
Fri Mar 7 15:38:09 CET 2008
On 6 Mar 2008 at 11:40, Thomas Brendel wrote:
> we have to print/reformat some old but voluminous software
> documentation written in TeX. But we cannot find a suitable
> LaTeX.exe nor a 'converter' say to MS-Windows.
> We are running MS-Office and Win XP on a WINTEL systems.
> Could you give us a hint how to overcome this problem?
> Thank you and best regards,
> Thomas Brendel
It is possible that there is no suitable LaTeX processor because you
have (plain) TeX source. New LaTeX processors are used to going into
compatibility mode - for older LaTeX sources. This is automatic. So
If you've tried a new LaTeX and it does not work at all, try a plain
If neither works for you, we readers of this texhax list might offer
more relevant help if we could see what you tried, and why you
thought it failed.
The top few lines of your source and what tool you fed it to would be
useful too. And/or perhaps you could post the log file(s) with the
errors in it?
>From the what I know so far, the cheapest solution will be to use
TeX family software to process your source to a pdf. (e.g. Lyx,
Winedt with TeXlive, MikTeX etc as suggested). This rule of thumb
will weaken as you choose to make your changes to the documentation
more extensive. Clearly, by the time you choose to have a rewrite of
the content, and a radically different format, there's nothing left
to re-use in your sources. You may then choose whatever publishing
system suits you and the task. And your choice will depend on
whether you already have expertise in a (sufficiently) appropriate
publishing system. if none, LaTeX & ConTeXt are worth considering
again. I advise against Word for voluminous documentation. It's not
sold as or designed for producing long or complex documents. From my
own experience Word 2000 can't cope with 30 pages of publisher's
catalogue (too complex), and 500 pages of doctoral thesis (mostly
running text) will start to break features. TeX is noted for its
good support of long documents, robustness when providing complex
features and especially for its support of mathematical notation.
I believe that any conversion to Word that you try will be only
partly automatic, error prone (both manual and automatic aspects) and
may not adhere to the formatting conventions you demand. You should
do better with conversion to XML/SGML. That probably won't be
If, as it seems, you no longer have TeX/LaTeX expertise in-house, you
may prefer to hire someone rather than process the source in house at
the expense of your time. TeX consultants are findable. Your local
TeX user group could perhaps advise on someone local.
Of course I'd warmly encourage you to learn TeX/LaTeX, especially if
the budget is really tight, but it _is time consuming. I think it's
fair to say plain TeX has a steep learning curve, and LaTeX a
somewhat shallower one. Which brings us back to deciding whether
you have plain TeX or LaTeX source.
I hope these hints move you further forward.
> IDB - Dr. Brendel Consultant Engineers
homemade at homemade.free-online.co.uk
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