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From the Editor: In this issue

Dave Walden


My name is Dave Walden, and I am the guest editor of this issue of The PracTeX Journal (TPJ). I am on the Editorial Board of the journal, but until now I have worked in the journal's back room maintaining the journal's web pages.

In this issue

I was hoping that this issue would have a theme of "using TeX to improve productivity and using TeX more productively," and two or three pieces in the issue are explicitly on that topic (for instance,
pracjourn/2006-3/robertson/). However, as I look at the whole collection of papers and columns in this issue, I realize that a key to both TeX's productivity and using it productively is its flexibility. In fact, flexibility may be the underlying theme of every issue of TPJ and may help distinguish TeX from standard word processing systems and other typesetting systems -- TeX is extraordinarily flexible and customizable in many dimensions.

Users of TeX have several formats they can choose from: plain TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt (pracjourn/2006-3/hogg/), and so forth.

Users have different major classes they can choose from: basic LaTeX, KOMA (pracjourn/2006-3/robbers/), memoir (pracjourn/2006-3/wilson/), AMS, and so forth.

Typesetting all manner of languages is possible. There was great excitement at the recent PracTeX06 conference (pracjourn/2006-3/practex06/) about XeTeX's capability (along with the fontspec package from our editorial board member Will Robertson) to easily use any font in a Mac, Windows, or Linux font folder (including non-Latin fonts).

TeX can be used any type of application as illustrated by various articles in this issue: creating a pocket-size book (pracjourn/2006-3/venugopal-pocketbook/), developing a letterhead or a laying out a small brochure (pracjourn/2006-3/hogg/), laying out a book (pracjourn/2006-3/walden/), or formatting crossword puzzles (pracjourn/2006-3/distract/).

All this capability comes with lots of free documentation, e.g., pracjourn/2006-3/venugopal-review/.

As usual, this issue of TPJ includes some other standard features: letters from readers (pracjourn/2006-3/readers/), and Nelly's answers to questions (pracjourn/2006-3/asknelly/), and a PDF of the whole issue (pracjourn/2006-3/wholeissue/).


Helping with reviewing and copy editing for this issue were Barbara Beeton, Karl Berry, Jon Breitenbucher, Lance Carnes, Peter Flom, David Ignat, Francisco Reinaldo, John O'Rourke, Yuri Robbers, and Will Robertson (please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone). Especially notable is the work of Yuri Robbers who solicited two of the papers for this issue, edited one of them, led the writing of a third paper, and helped with production editing. Will Robertson (who also wrote a paper) and Lance Carnes (who was supposed to be taking a break) also did extensive production editing. Other members of our editorial board also commented on the content of this issue in various useful ways. Thank you to all of them and to the authors.

Next issue

Editor Lances Carnes states that next issue will include papers from the recent PracTeX06 conference, but will also be accepting other papers; so if you have something to say about the world of TeX, please write it down and send it to this journal.

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