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st: Re: your favorite math editor

From   Kit Baum <>
Subject   st: Re: your favorite math editor
Date   Thu, 18 Mar 2004 12:41:16 -0500

On Mar 18, 2004, at 2:33 AM, Nick wrote:

By "equation editor" you may mean some add-on software designed
to compensate for the inadequacies of word processing
software in this respect. (To be fair, does any word processor
claim excellence on this criterion?) I can't comment on those,
as I've never used any. However, I know that many people have
struggled with the fact that their word processor uses different
systems for displayed equations and in-text mathematics, so that
even on a simple level it is difficult if not impossible to use
identical fonts. That may be folklore; however,
I've never heard of a satisfactory solution to this problem
except not using a word processor to prepare mathematical
To expand on this: Equation Editor in M$ Word (which is really a "lite" version of the commercial product MathType) operates on equations (and even single Greek letters) as GRAPHIC OBJECTS, so that a lengthy paper with many equations and symbols will be absolutely huge, since it contains many embedded graphic objects, giving ample opportunity for M$ Word to choke someday and determine that the file is no longer readable (one of our secretarial staff has empirically estimated that Pr[failure] approaches 1 as the equation-rich paper gets to be 50 pages or so). The graphics do not auto-resize when you change the font size, since they are not text; they are a picture, and must be manually resized to suit. Bleah!

On the other hand, consider LaTeX:

Einstein taught us that $e = m c^2$ with a coefficient $\beta = \frac{\lambda \gamma}{\sqrt{2}}$ and thus we can understand why hyperjumps are not feasible.

This bit of doggerel will scale to any size you want by changing the LaTeX \documentclass. This is "inline math"; figure out how long it would take to type these (nonsensical) lines in M$ Word, 12 pt text, and then rescale it all to 36 pt text. Can we say carpal tunnel syndrome, boys and girls?


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