[texhax] if you are forced to send it in MS Word ... ?!

Torsten Wagner torsten.wagner at fh-aachen.de
Fri Sep 8 20:46:42 CEST 2006

Hi everyone,

I know, it was discussed more then once already and normally it end ups 
in heavy flaming ;)
However, let me start from another point of view. This situation happens 
to all of us (La)TeX-user sometimes. You prepare a document in (La)TeX 
and send it as PDF or PS or even DVI to the editorial team, your 
colleagues, friends or to someone else.

For some (please do not discusses on that point) reason, they ask you to 
send it in MS Word format. I had hundreds of this discussions already 
and believe me, you can not convenience everyone to learn (La)TeX to do 
slightly changings on your documents and sometimes you are not in the 
position to deny the request (e.g., the counterpart is your supervisor, 
boss, wife ;), etc.).

Therefore, one point left which will not help you out. If your 
counterpart is not able to work with TeX and Co. there is no way, he 
need a format which he can use to do changings inside the document and 
unfortunately most of this kind of people prefer MS Word.
I know about 100 arguments why I do not like to use MS Word but that 
will practical not help, your counterpart need a MS-Word file.

My question is, there are many many ways to convert TeX and Co. to 
MS-Word. Some commercial application, a lot of scripts and freeware 
stuff. My opinion is, nothing works 100% correct, which seems to be 
completely normal. It is already tricky to open a Word-file from another 
version or even from another language-version in Word without messing up 
the layout.
Therefore, how could we expect, that a Tex-Word converter can do a 
better job :)

There will never be a perfect converter as long as there is now open format.

Nevertheless, we have to do this boring work if requested. I like to 
know your ways to tackle this problem (I mean really converting not 
convincing the opposite that MS-Word is needless).

My favorite way in the moment:

Use TtH and Tex4ht to convert the Tex-File into html. Both do a great 
job, one has strength where the other shows some weakness. Open the 
html-files in MS Word merge them by hand and do some manual corrections. 
Luckly 99.5 % of all special characters, (greek symbols etc.) as well as 
superscript and subscript are converted correct.
Mainly figures, tables and equations need some correction. Sometimes I 
use LaTeX2PNG to replace the LaTeX equations by small PNG-pictures.

This is the fastest way I am aware of in the moment. All these TeX2Word, 
Tex2RTF, PDF2Word, etc. mess up more then the TeX->HTML->DOC chain.

What is your favourite way to create a MS-Word-file from TeX and Co. ?

Many Greetings


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