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st: Re: your favorite equation editor

From   Kit Baum <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: Re: your favorite equation editor
Date   Thu, 18 Mar 2004 12:52:30 -0500

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

When you say he "doesn't have a good equation editor" is he including the
freebie version of mathtype that comes with Microsoft Office? It generally
isn't installed by default; you have to explicitly select it during
installation, and so a lot of people do not even realize it is there. I
like it very much myself and I imagine the pro version Marcello mentions is
even better. It may be that he just doesn't or won't like mathtype; but he
should definitely check it out first if he doesn't already know that he has it.

Zillions of equations created with mathtype can be found in my handouts at

There are **serious** problems with exchanging documents created by different versions of MathType / Eqn Editor, even on the same platform, all the more across platforms. Furthermore M$ Word and PowerPoint do not run on Linux/Unix. (Star*Office is a workalike, but M$ has probably put significant effort into getting them to break with the latest versions of M$ Office). Many of my Windows-using colleagues have been seriously bitten by this problem: they exchange a file created with one version of M$ Office for Windows with a coauthor using a different version of M$ Office for Windows, and when they get it back, the file is not recognized as containing equations--just un-editable embedded graphics. Solution: type all the flaming equations over again. Great for the grad students who get paid to do it; a huge waste of time. Totally avoided by using LaTeX in the first place: 20-year-old LaTeX code will compile today just fine. Try reading your M$ Word 1.05 file in Word XP.

Scientific Word/Workplace also has its down side: when it reads a LaTeX file, it translates it into an internal format, and does the reverse when saving it. The former step can choke, leaving you with a file that cannot be read. Of course the file can be attacked with a good old text editor and TeX'd; the TeX generated by SciWord includes a lot of extraneous junk, and occasionally it trips over itself.

Consider the Stata Journal article on IV and GMM by Baum, Schaffer, Stillman. We use different computing platforms, different OS, etc. but had no trouble collaborating through multiple revisions of a 30-journal-page paper with a pile of embedded math. And when we were done, it was camera-ready for the Stata Journal. Most sensible journal and book publishers these days are happy to receive LaTeX manuscripts. Indeed, some recent econometrics texts have been typeset by the authors in LaTeX (no proofreading of the galleys!)


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