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  1. #1
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    Question Opinions on LaTex

    I'm thinking about using LaTex, rather than Word, once I start my dissertation. It looks like there's quite a learning curve involved, but the end results I've seen are beautiful. I'm also really quite fed up with Word. What do you guys think of it? Advantages? Disadvantages?

    For those of you who aren't familiar with it:
    LaTeX isn't for everyone but it could be for you

  2. #2
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    I had to use the MikTeX and TeXnik Center combo for the last logic course I took in undergrad because the prof wanted a very specific style of proof (Fitch). I found it to be a bit difficult at first, but then I liked it once I got the hang of it a bit. I like it because you can just code in all of your formatting parameters and it feels like you have more control.
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  3. #3

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    TeX is much better for math or other extremely symbolic type of writing.

    The equation editor in word often does not have the flexibility needed to write the equations you want.

    But if you don't have a lot of symbols you want to use, word is probably still the better choice.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  4. #4
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Just use LyX or Scientific Workplace.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    dear god, don't use it. burn it.

    the trouble of getting miktek running, finding a proper GUI for editing (teknikcenter is shit). word is shit, but you'll be crying for mercy once you find out you have to projects in this format.

    there are definitely some things word could learn from latex, but in the long run, it's like a pain in your lower abdomen, and you will tire before it does.
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    I have a friend who had to use it to finish his diss and he hated it.

  7. #7
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sentura View Post
    dear god, don't use it. burn it.

    the trouble of getting miktek running, finding a proper GUI for editing (teknikcenter is shit). word is shit, but you'll be crying for mercy once you find out you have to projects in this format.

    there are definitely some things word could learn from latex, but in the long run, it's like a pain in your lower abdomen, and you will tire before it does.
    That's a string of lies.
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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I like it. It reminds me of being able to edit or write a webpage as a text file rather than relying on composing it visually. I don't know why, but I prefer looking at raw information and parameters affecting it (like in HTML or C code), rather than right at the end result.

    I had no idea there was a way to do that with other documents as well. I think I'll see if I can learn this at some point.

    Although, it sounds like it might have a learning curve like you said. You probably want to start learning it far in advance and get a gauge of how easily you'll be able to do what you need to do in it before relying on it to write your dissertation.

  9. #9
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I like it. It reminds me of being able to edit or write a webpage as a text file rather than relying on composing it visually. I don't know why, but I prefer looking at raw information and parameters affecting it (like in HTML or C code), rather than right at the end result.

    I had no idea there was a way to do that with other documents as well. I think I'll see if I can learn this at some point.

    Although, it sounds like it might have a learning curve like you said. You probably want to start learning it far in advance and get a gauge of how easily you'll be able to do what you need to do in it before relying on it to write your dissertation.
    There are some very useful interfaces, such as LyX, that can smoothen a lot the learning curve.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  10. #10
    Dhampyr Economica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Just use LyX or Scientific Workplace.
    I tried writing my thesis in Scientific Workplace but I couldn't figure out in a reasonable amount of time how to do some of the things that made me want to use LaTeX instead of Word in the first place, like landscape tables. (In defense of my geekiness, 'reasonable' was in this context defined by my EEENTJ thesis partner. Next to her I felt like a uselessly slow flunky. ) Now I'm investing the time in using the WinEdt/MiKTeX combination, but that's because I've been employed at the department to churn out working papers and need them to look positively delicious.

    An extremely intelligent ISFP fellow student with whom we shared a thesis office went all the way with Scientific Workplace and estimated afterwards that she had spent a full month just struggling with the program. To be fair, she did say that she thought the end result was worth it, but this was a woman who had time to spend the last three weeks before her deadline just proofreading and making incremental improvements, so identify with her at your own risk.

    My advice would be to use Word if it's just for a thesis. It's less important to make a thesis perfectly inviting to read (of course the layout should be decent, but the usual Word micromanagement followed by conversion to pdf is fine), and so IMO LaTeX is just not worth the learning curve.

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