[texhax] Converting from LaTeX to MS Word

Ian Watson i.watson at econ.usyd.edu.au
Wed Dec 22 22:53:35 CET 2004

The thread on this topic touches a nerve, since I find myself in this
dilemma quite often. I use LaTeX all the time, but have colleagues who
only work with Word, as well as publishers etc who require Word
versions of chapters or articles etc.

I've tried several of the methods mentioned, and the best one I have
found is to generate a PDF file (eg pdflatex) and then convert the PDF
file into a Word file. I've tried several commercial packages for
this, and the best results have come from the cheapest one, Scansoft's
PDF converter (http://www.scansoft.com/pdfconverter/) Mine came
bundled with some other software (Dragon Naturally Speaking), but the
website indicates the current pricing is around $100.

The conversion process works inside Word. You open the PDF document
from inside the Word and the scansoft softward launches converts it as
it opens it.

The results are somewhat mixed:

* very successful for formatted text (headings, quotes,
footnotes, headers, footers etc)

* moderately good for tables (respects most cells, except doesn't span
full columns when using \multicolumn, only the numbers of columns
which the width of the text covers). Still, this is much better on
tables than most of other approaches.

* good at preserving whatever graphics may be embedded in your PDF
(though the quality falls away because they become bitmapped)

* poor for tables of contents etc. (seems to have problems with the
spacing for page numbers), but this is intermittent

* lousy at equations (doesn't convert to a graphic, but gives
a mixture of meaningful and meaningless text)

Still, this is the best approach I have found yet, but I'd be
interested to hear about other people's experiences.

Kind regards,

Ian Watson
Senior Researcher
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

Phone: 02 9351 5622
  Fax: 02 9351 5615

Email: i.watson at econ.usyd.edu.au
  Web: www.acirrt.com

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