Sign in to follow this  
TheOddMan

Writing formulas

Recommended Posts

I'm doing my dissertation at the moment and I'm having to write out a *lot* of formulas into my report. Unfortunately a lot of these formulas are all but impossible to write out in Word, and I was wondering if any of you guys knew of any programs or anything that can help me write these formulas out into Word or into an image quickly. Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually, you can write equations in word. Not sure of the quality though. To do this, goto Insert->Object and look for Microsoft Equation. You might have to install it from the CD but it's there and free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're doing your (phd?) dissertation in word. MS Word. Up to hundreds of pages probably, with lots of special math formulae, images, and formatting, in MS Word.

I think, halfway through you're going to want to pull your hair out, but it will already have fallen out in the first place.

but if word is what you're comfortable with, then so be it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Iftah
Latex is for the professionals,

us amaturs can use Mathtype (free month trial, and rather cheap if you need more)


LaTeX cannot be used by non-professionals?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Whatever you do DON'T USE WORD!!! You will regret it (voice of experience). It is fine for lots of things, but not a dissertation with lots of equations. Use LaTeX. It is not for "professionals" (it is the standard in most math intensive academic disciplines). It is free but there is a little bit of a learning curve. However, the results are fantastic. Try downloading MikTek and TexnicCenter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mathematica student edition. Easily 50% more productive than TeX editing unless you are doing flash cards or something. Downside, costs ~$120. MathType is not much better than MS equation editor in terms of speed. Mathematica exports to TeX or html.

Of course there are dozens of equation editors, you could even use mathml, notepad, and mozilla.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
there many ways to write out forumals word should be able to do it but there many software out there that can do it and help you solve them too try mathcad (it should let you save to text/doc file).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A great alternative for Latex is TeXmacs. Writing equations is a breeze in TeXmacs. It combines the benefits of the structured documents and wysiwyg (or actually wysiwyw). Every function can be accessed from menu or written directly to the document similarly as you would do with latex. Moreover many functions are behind "smart" keyboard shortcuts, for example every greek letter (and more) can be inserted by writing a letter (e.g. pressing a) and pressing Tab (in our case this would produce alpha). There is also Latex export/import (altough they are not perfect).

Perhaps the most powerful feature is the ability to embed different sessions to your documents. Session could be for example session of matlab, mathematica, maple, python or almost any other.

EDIT: Oh, and if you test it out on Windows, I recommend that you install it under cygwin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TeXmacs is just an (old) try to give the TeX system a WYSIWYG-interface.
If you're not afraid of using Linux, you can try out Kile, which depends on KDE,
and is a quasi-standard for TeX-editing in GUI environments.
Kile is a newer approach to editing TeX, where with just one click you can see the output of your TeX 'code' immendiately. It has a large userbase, is well documented and therefore worth taking a look.

I'd recommend you to use TeX / LaTeX in any case and abandon MS Word; Word is suitable for doing office work, writing letters and short essays, business reports and sort of, but it turns out to be horribly unstable and error-prone when haveing to handle documents of 100 pages+; second, TeX can auto-generate title pages, separate chapters, index pages, appendices, picture references, text source references and a heck of a lot of other useful and required stuff in a scientific work, so a TeX-based word processing system has definately a strong advantage and should be the first choice for any scientific work.

Plus, TeX is able to output many different formats like HTML, PDF, PostScript and such - so, with one compile job, you can generate all different formats of distribution in one single step, auto-adjusting output to the given media type, paper size and stuff.

TeX / LaTeX definately needs some time for learning it, as it uses commands and tags instead of buttons, but the result is really worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I heard a lot of people yell (not only here) that you should not use Word, and that LaTeX is tha 1337 r0X0r. (Or something to that affect [wink]).

My personal experience is that LaTeX-fans come up with arguments like: "LaTeX clearly separates layout and text". This, however, is true for Word's styles as well. "Yeah, but can you split up your thesis per chapter in Word and have consistent page numbering?". Well... yes, you can.
The fact that many people don't (know how to) use features, is not Word's fault (ok, maybe a little: some functions are quite well hidden).

True, LaTeX offers things Word can't, like building any formula you can think of and a sound bibliography (although OOo has some nice features for that). OTOH, Word has some unique features too.

Sure, using illustrations in Word can be kind of tedious (but try to exactly place an image where you want in LaTeX). But the user experience in LaTeX can be quite annoying too: have you ever tried typing a chapter on statistics in LaTeX and later notice you're missing whole sentences, because % starts a comment (so you have to type \% all the time?).

Bottom line, let people just use what they can work with most easy. You can suggest LaTeX, but could we stop saying things like "WORD IS EVIL!" when you just prefer something else?

</end of (somewhat) rant>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've written all technical stuff at university in \LaTeX as long as I has had a free decision. There are some problems w/ \LaTeX, of course, but not so much. I have furthur written some articles and a book chapter in Word. I hope I never have to do so again.

If, one the other hand, you have to do many computations aside, you actually could use Mathematica for both typesetting and integrated computation, as ironpoint has stated already.

IMHO \LaTeX produces the most professional document look. Math type setting in \LaTeX follows international standards (not the stuff Word has produced). The anachronistic feeling using \LaTeX (if you think so) could be overcome somewhat by using on-the-top tools like TeXemacs or InstantTeX and the like.

In the last its your own decision. If you are unfamiliar w/ \LaTeX and have to start writing immediately, you perhaps may get a timing problem, since \LaTeX needs some learning to be used well. In this point Word has an advantage (although you have to learn to use Word's advanced topics, too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Im sorry, I didnt mean seriously Latex is "for professionals". I know one 18 year olds who masters it. What I meant was that Latex is abit unfriendly and needs some learning. With the MathType sort of programs you can start right away and get exactly what you want without reading manuals or any trial and error, which is why I use it and decalred it more worthy for amatuers.

for the purpose of this post-
amaturs = using equations intensly rarely (~once a month)
professionals = using equations intesnsly daily.



so to be even more precise:

To read/write Latex you need to read a manual and practice until you remember all the different commands. This is worthwhile if you do it at the begining of a mathematics degree and it will save time on the long run.

The upside of the WYSWYG interface type programs is that you can start working right away and get excellent results. If you have to type lots of complex equations only once per month I think its better than learning Latex.
The real downside is that clicking is slower than typing, but with the keyboard shortcuts (that you can learn them as you work) you get faster and faster until its almost as fast as working with latex.

both can be used by amatuers, but I believe the "professionals" will use only Latex sort of equation editing.

Iftah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also support LaTeX for writing your formulas.

Quote:
Original post by DaBono
But the user experience in LaTeX can be quite annoying too: have you ever tried typing a chapter on statistics in LaTeX and later notice you're missing whole sentences, because % starts a comment (so you have to type \% all the time?).


Never had this problem. I use a \frc{10} command to get the display I want (10%) or similarly \conf{5} for ±5%, and in turn I can use this command when I have tables of elements to get any format I want for my columns. This also allows me to alter the aspect of all percentages in my document.

Even if you had to use \% directly, any decent editor with syntax highlighting would display the rest of the line as a comment.

However, it's true that hunting for overfull hboxes can be pretty annoying too (still, you can resort to \sloppy and revert to a word-like ugly method of spacing).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I dunno, I've looked at all this LaTex stuff and it's another thing I have to learn. Microsoft Equation seems adequate enough for my needs. I really have to agree with DaBono on this. I'm used to Word, and my report is 99.9999% text and formatting. LaTex seems like too much work for so little gain. A lot of the features mentioned (such as seperation of content and formatting, output of differing formats etc.) are of little use to someone writing a report, and the useful ones are actually available in Word. Why use a chainsaw when all you need is a pair of scissors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, as I said clearly, and with me most of the other posters favouring TeX/LaTeX, this is a recommendation, something you can follow, but don't have to.

No one's gonna hit you because you feel comfortable using Word; it's just about keeping an open eye on the possibilities of other systems, and the way they can (after some time and practice) improve your workflow, the benefits they have, and as well the disadvantages.
Regarding that information, you can choose and decide what tool best fits your needs - and if it's Word, then this is it, no discussion at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by lucem
TeXmacs is just an (old) try to give the TeX system a WYSIWYG-interface.


That sounds a bit like flaming but I have to defend my favorite editor ;)

The UI of TeXmacs looks horrible, true, but fortunately it is at most 10% of the whole program (perhaps this is what you meant by old). The beauty of the program lies in the whole philosophy. The point is that TeXmacs isn't a try to give the TeX system an interface, what is left of TeX in TeXmacs is pretty much just the fonts. Furthermore TeXmacs _can_ be an (extensible) interface to many softwares.

Here are few paragraphs from the TeXmacs site showing that TeXmacs is much more that just an interface to TeX or LaTeX:

"GNU TeXmacs is a free wysiwyw (what you see is what you want) editing platform with special features for scientists. The software aims to provide a unified and user friendly framework for editing structured documents with different types of content (text, graphics, mathematics, interactive content, etc.). The rendering engine uses high-quality typesetting algorithms so as to produce professionally looking documents, which can either be printed out or presented from a laptop.

The software includes a text editor with support for mathematical formulas, a small technical picture editor and a tool for making presentations from a laptop. Moreover, TeXmacs can be used as an interface for many external systems for computer algebra, numerical analysis, statistics, etc. New presentation styles can be written by the user and new features can be added to the editor using the Scheme extension language. A native spreadsheet and tools for collaborative authoring are planned for later."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by TheOddMan
I really have to agree with DaBono on this. I'm used to Word, and my report is 99.9999% text and formatting.


Quote:
Original post by TheOddManI'm doing my dissertation at the moment and I'm having to write out a *lot* of formulas into my report.


So do you have a lot of formulae to write or not? Like I said, Word is fine for many things, but not for a dissertation with lots of formulae.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by jjd
Quote:
Original post by TheOddMan
I really have to agree with DaBono on this. I'm used to Word, and my report is 99.9999% text and formatting.

I'm doing my dissertation at the moment and I'm having to write out a *lot* of formulas into my report.


So do you have a lot of formulae to write or not? Like I said, Word is fine for many things, but not for a dissertation with lots of formulae.


I would have written "Word is fine for many things but not for a dissertation with lots of formulae, text or formatting".

My experiences are quite old now, but LaTeX (combined with BibTex) was excellent for writing my PhD thesis and various papers. People using Word had a lot of troubles, as did I on the few occasions I was forced to use it.

It's probably not worth learning LaTeX just to overcome some minor short-term niggles, but if you plan to be writing more things like this in the future it's worth putting the effort in, in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this