[texhax] MS Word & Mathtype to TeX

cornwall_5 at comcast.net cornwall_5 at comcast.net
Sat Dec 17 04:00:27 CET 2011

Again, thank you all for your help. 

The more I try to do things for myself, the more I have to ask other people for help. 

I think I've figured out why: in general, there's a correlation (not a causation) between 

doing things for oneself and doing things "piecemeal / a'la carte / on the cheap". 

Real-world example I encountered today: my bicycle had a flat tire. 

I was trying to get from point A to point B under my own power - bicycle - rather than by oil in a car. 

In the end, I had to call a friend to tow me to a bike shop, they had to replace the flat, 

I had to buy other parts for the bike. 

A car is like Microsoft. All bundled up in one neat little package for the consumer. 

Not spread out over a million files with a million bizarre extensions 

(at least, that's how I REMEMBER TeX when I last tried to learn it, and one of the many reasons 

I gave up on it, because I could never remember WHICH was the main file with my text in it) 

You pay a lot more for the car, and its maintenance, than for a bicycle, 

just as you pay a lot more for MS than you do for TeX. But, you end up using a lot of your own time 

doing TeX than learning MS Word.  And, look - look how many separate individuals in the TeX 

support group I have distrurbed in just 3 days, whereas for MS, one might get hold of one or two 

tech support people. 

Now, I am all about being cheap.  I don't even remember the last time I bought a piece of commercial 

software. I am merely using the Microsoft Windows XP OS that came bundled with my computers, 

and I am using MS Word 2000 that I inherited from my (deceased) parents.  

I have no intention of upgrading, ever, if I can avoid it. 

I do remember buying Maple computer algebra system for $120 in 2007 at the reduced student fee. 

And an upgrade of Mathtype for $49 in 2007 or so. 

Point is: I never take ANY technology for granted - not even my socks and underwear. 

I don't like going without, but if the effort is too much, not just by me (since I do not sew my own socks 

and underwear!) by overseas ( I don't want my money going to companies that get rich 

while they pay their poor workers in China, Pakistan, Vietnam practically nothing) - 

then I WILL go sockless and underwearless if I cannot find a company where my money can go 

that does not enslave workers. 

At the start of this year, I even tried to grow (a tiny percentage of) my own food. 

Just to see if I could do it. Barely got out a few stalks of corn and maybe a dozen tomatoes. 

Clearly growing food is best left to large-scale economies of scale and industrialization. 

I say this, even though my other reason for attempting to grow food is to prepare for a world 

without oil and petrochemicals, when oil runs out. (more accurately: when the EROI gets too low). 

But, as fantastically complex it is to get the atoms in a lump of dirt to go 

into the right configurations to create food, or the atoms in cotton to form a sock, 

those tasks have been perfected over millions of years of evolution and thousands of years 

by human ingenuity. 

But, computers and software - forget about it. They're still in their infancy. 

I'll have to wait another million years for the ideal system. 

(Hold on - that HAS been my philosophy to date: unless the TeX group can convince me otherwise.) 

Until then, I feel I either have to go without - such as give up publishing papers in peer-reviewed math journals 

and the other things I like to do with computers - 

or just throw a whole wad of money at Microsoft. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "John C Frain" <frainj at gmail.com> 
To: "TeXhax" <texhax at tug.org>, "cornwall 5" <cornwall_5 at comcast.net>, "William Adams" <will.adams at frycomm.com> 
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 7:24:49 PM 
Subject: Re: [texhax] MS Word & Mathtype to TeX 

The Word to Latex convertor that I mentioned in my third paragraph is 
that provided by the Abiword word processor.  One can import a 
document in Word format into Abiword and then export it in LaTeX 

Sorry for the confusion.  I must resist drafting such replies late at night. 

Best regards 


John C Frain 
Economics Department 
Trinity College Dublin 
Dublin 2 
mailto:frainj at tcd.ie 
mailto:frainj at gmail.com 
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