Writing Technical Articles (LaTeX Windows)
I do like LaTeX for writing articles, it allows me to focus
the content, without being distracted by the actual formatting. Later
in the process, I can add the typesetting and tweak automatic
setting from LaTeX
. There are
plenty other good reasons for using
LaTeX, but as often it is a matter of taste.
For using LaTeX under Windows, I found the following
software very helpful:
a TeX implementation for the Windows operating system.
an interpreter for the
PostScript language and for PDF.
an IDE for developing LaTeX documents under Windows.
a fast PDF viewer which does not lock viewed PDF files (as Adobe
Acrobat does). The viewed PDF will automatically update when
recompiled. It also allows syncing PDF to LaTeX source: ie.
double click on a text passage in SumatraPDF and TeXnicCenter will
the corresponding LaTeX source line (follow TeXnicCenter
SumatraPDF integration instructions). These two features really
contribute to productivity.
Integrating Windows Generated Figures into LaTeX
main compilation methods exist for compiling LaTeX: dvips and pdflatex.
I have recently switched to pdflatex (since a convenient viewer
SumatraPDF exists now). pdflatex can include figures in PDF, which
makes it easy to integrate any sort of windows generated figure into
PDF Figures in Windows
Simply print the desired
figure into PDF. Ensure that only a single page is printed. Then, crop
the white margin, e.g. in Adobe Acrobat, or use trim=
option to \includefigure.
Generating EPS Files in Windows
I use the Adobe PS
to generate EPS files. Make sure to select EPS as output in the
advanced options. For that open the printer preferences, open the Advanced
tab, then click on Printing Defaults...
and finally on Advanced
This opens a dialog for Advanced Options
containing a tree of
options. Unfold the PostScript Options
and select for PostScript
the value Encapsulated PostScript(EPS)
Further, disable the option Send PostScript Error Handler
Note that my Windows XP, the printer drivers would be lost after I OK
all changes. To make printer preferences under the subtree PostScript
persistent, I had to change other options outside this
subtree at the same time too (for example switch TrueType Font
, OK all changes and later switch it back).
With the freshly installed printer, EPS files can be created from any
application. To integrate
the EPS into another document, the size and location of the figure
within the printed page is important. A setting inside the EPS file,
, defines the boundaries of the graphic. The created EPS file
typically has for the whole page instead of the figure/drawing itself.
Including a graphic with the
default bounding box results in large empty spaces around the figure
when integrated into a LaTeX/PDF
document. However, a tight fitting bounding is very desired.
does a very good job in automatically calculating the bounding
(use File -> "PS to EPS"). Note, that I was not very lucky in
generating EPS directly from Power Point. Despite using a blank
template, the automatically calculated bounding box is always too
large. Instead, I now copy and paste the graph into another program and
print it from there.
For increased convenience, I adapted a small shell
to call ghost script to perform the calculation. Also, I
placed a wrapping batch file into the context menu for "eps" files (following
There is still room
for improvement. One possible addition for example is the automatic
calculation of the bounding box directly after printing. What would
also be nice is to
have an application independent file dialog to select the output file
name (Excel 2003 for example requires manually entering the complete
string). One idea to achieve all this is to adjust CutePDF
for this purpose as it seems to be nicely configurable.
Other people are successful using wmf2eps
part, it installs a generic post script printer driver. Then it allows
to print out of any windows application into an EPS file (similar to
the more manual approach above). It also should adjust the bounding box
automatically. However, I did not have much success.
EPS to WMF
I did not have the best experience with this tool. The resulting WMF
files differed too much from their original. The fonts did not
match and curves did appear very coarsely
approximated. As a result, I try to create a WMF directly in the first
place. This was possible, because I generated measurement graphs using
, which allows
for WMF output.
Too Small Head Margin using
Sometimes the head margin (space between top of the page and first text
line), seems to be awfully small. When comparing Linux compiled output
and the Windows output using MikTeX
the Windows output did leave too little room on the head of the page.
The culprit in my case was dvips. On linux it assumes a letter output,
whereas it the Windows version assumes A4 as default. I found two
solutions: adding an option to dvips or defining the papersize in the
latex source code.
Alternative 1: adding paper size definition in LaTeX source
Add within the LaTeX source code the following line:
%setup letter paper size for dvips
% (it requires absolute values)
Alternative 2: Add Option to "dvips"
The option "-t letter" forces dvips to output letter sized paper, which
fixes the headmargin problem as well.
In the end, I decided for this solution and added the extra parameter
to the output profile of MikTeX
(Build -> "Define Output Profiles ...").
Here a collection of some PDF tools that I find useful. Obviously there
are more tools out there in the world.
||The standard reader.
||PDF Reader, allows saving form data, and simple
manipulations, e.g. overwrite simple objects (line, rectangle,
This reader has extended functionality, but is not as convenient
as the Acrobat Reader.
||Installs a pinter driver to generate PDF
||Modify the Meta Information In a PDF FILE
||PDF Tool Kit. Command line for PDF manipulation (split,
||Graphical Front end for Pdftk. However, it does not
access to all functionality of Pdftk. (Web site also provides info
more PDF tools.)