[texhax] Running LaTex in xp pro w/ open office

Thomas Schneider schneidt at mail.nih.gov
Tue Feb 1 18:07:00 CET 2011

> Tutorials only explained symbols used in LaTex but were useless as
> to how to implement software when Open Office is the no recourse
> desktop word processor. In Greenberg's "Short Intro to LaTex" it
> makes reference to using DOS commands to create a document and the
> DOS in this system refuses to recognize any of it.
> So I understand that LaTex is not a word processor program but a
> text editor....fine...but all I've got to work with is Open Office
> and none of the instructions tell me jack squat about how to type up
> a document on Open Office and then "send it" or transmute it or scan
> it or whatever you are supposed to do to LaTex .....and really that
> is useless anyway because I am trying to type documents using
> mathematical expressions and that is next to impossible using Open
> Office. TYhe reason I downloaded LaTex in the first place was for
> their supposed ease in writing mathematical relationships...what
> good is that if they have to first be typed up in something like
> Open Office or DOS?

There is no need to use bulky and slow software like OpenOffice.

First, LaTeX is not a text editor.  One uses a text editor to create
the latex file.  I use vim, but you can use any program that creates
ascii text.  OpenOffice would work - but it's overkill and an
incredibly slow way to generate text.  (I avoid using the mouse.)

Think of that text as the source code of a program.  You run latex to
"compile" the program, and the result is typeset material in the
device independent (dvi) format.  Then one can convert to postscript
(dvips) and from there to pdf (ps2pdf).  I have all that wrapped into
a script (l) and the display I use is Skim - set to automatically

My tools: http://alum.mit.edu/www/toms/toolkit.html
A page on LaTeX: http://alum.mit.edu/www/toms/latex.html

Here's a minimal LaTeX file, call it latexdemo.tex:

Here's an equation from Shannon:
H = - \sum_i^M p_i \log_2 p_i \mbox{bits per symbol}


latex latexdemo
bibtex latexdemo
latex latexdemo
dvips latexdemo
ps2pdf latexdemo.ps

I've put a slightly more advanced version at:



  Thomas D. Schneider, Ph.D.
  National Institutes of Health
  National Cancer Institute
  Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory
  Molecular Information Theory Group
  Frederick, Maryland  21702-1201
  http://alum.mit.edu/www/toms (permanent)

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