[texhax] Word vs. LaTeX questions (was latex in social sciences?)

tom sgouros tomfool at as220.org
Sat May 6 23:38:41 CEST 2006

Peter Flom <flom at ndri.org> wrote:

> This thread spurs me to ask two questions that I was going to ask at Practical TeX.
> 1.  Using Word and Procite (a bibliography package) offers one thing
> that I haven't found in LaTeX.  While typing along, you want to cite a
> work that is entered in your bibliography file.  You can cite it using
> any of the fields and any part of the fields.....for example, if I
> wanted to cite a work by Karl, but only knewe that it had the author
> Berry and the word LaTeX, I could hit alt-t, then enter, then berry
> latex and it would bring up every item in my bibliography that had
> both these things.
> This is really kind of neat

I use emacs for writing in LaTeX, and the Reftex package provides hints
about the cite tags you're typing, and searching through the .bib file
with grep or emacs is more or less functionally equivalent to what
you're talking about, even if it's not at one's fingertips in the same

But I replied to this note for the second question.

> 2.  Another thing that can be done in Word is track changes.  If one
> has to work with several co-authors, this is kind of nice.  Since
> there are a lot of academic-types using LaTeX, I imagine this issue
> comes up a lot.  What do people do?

My experience is that the change-tracking features of Word look very
good, but in actual use documents very quickly become way too confusing
to be useful unless you get everyone to agree how they are to be used
*and* they actually stick to those rules.  What I've seen is that
usually by the second round of revisions, you get people who forgot to
remove the changebars, or incorporate the previous changes, or who did
so prematurely.  I've had far better success using CVS to track changes
to the LaTeX source.  It's still not perfect, especially when someone
refills paragraphs of the source, but if people refrain from that, you
can use tools like cvs diff and the cvs log to track changes pretty
well.  It also can usually accommodate documents that are changed by two
different people simultaneously.  Another downside is that the changes
don't appear in the processed output.


 tomfool at as220 dot org

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