[texhax] MS Word & Mathtype to TeX

Pierre MacKay pierre.mackay at comcast.net
Tue Dec 20 03:26:51 CET 2011

On 12/19/2011 7:51 PM, Michael Barr wrote:
> I am pleased to see that the discussion has quieted down.  I would 
> like to add my 2¢.  Anyone who really thinks that MS Word + Mathtype 
> could duplicated the capabilities of tex, should look at page 111 (or 
> almost any other page) of 
> http://www.tac.mta.ca/tac/reprints/articles/12/tr12.pdf. These 
> diagrams were not done in native tex, but using an add-on called 
> xy-pic (and a front end to xy-pic called diagxy, but it could have 
> been in native xy-pic).  I don't use Word, never have, probably never 
> will.  But my wife does.  She is a more or less retired translator.  
> She was offered a job last summer that she had to turn down because 
> the files were in a format called docx and her version of Word, just a 
> few years old, cannot read docx and certainly cannot write them. 

One way around the DOCX problem is to pass it through OpenOffice, or 
Libreoffice as it is now named because Microsoft has invented 
OfficeOpen, and would probably tie up the developers in nuisance 
lawsuits if they kept the somewhat similar name.  Even if I hadn't 
learned to loathe Word for other reasons, I would by this time have to 
take the manuscripts I receive in DOC format and put them through 
LibreOffice because Word has got so topheavy and sloppy that I can no 
longer parse RTF format to translate it into TeX input,  LibreOffice's 
native ODF format has clear scoping rules and I can usually get a basic 
working TeX file out of it in less than twenty minutes.  I believe that 
future instances of Word may be required to read ODF format by several 
European and South American governments.  Then, if you had to, you could 
go DOCX -> ODF (file extension ".odt") -> RTF, if you were absolutely 
required to,  But the word output would still look as crude and sloppy 
as ever.  LibreOffice is of course, free.

Pierre MacKay

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