Although I generally use Windows platform and hence Word for most of my document writing, I have always used Latex for academic writing purposes.
One reason being of course that back in uni, formatting using Latex was mandatory. In fact for my undergrad thesis I used a Sinhala Latex called SinTex since I needed to include Sinhala fonts which were not included in the general MikTex distribution.
But mostly I find Latex to be much more easier to use since its a pretty well structured way of doing things.
You dont need to worry about floating tables and images with captions randomly appearing all over the place…well sort of. 🙂 Latex mostly takes care of them for you..So you dont have to spend time dragging and right-clicking and answering wizards. Latex is basically mouse-free!
However due to the fact that I dont have my favourite Latex editor LEd and the MikTex distribution on my (new) computer I have been reduced to seek the help of Mr.Word 2007 to write this research paper 🙁
Weell its not that bad..
But citations are a pain. For one thing it takes too much time. It takes at least 2 seconds for the citation box thingy to appear once you click on it.
And the citation format I needed which was numerical with square brackets was not included (which means something like this ). Fortunately the formats are in .xsl files inside Word and I was able to add my format. 🙂
Still, I’m having trouble over positioning tables and captions. The caption goes to one place and the table goes to another place!
I didnot have the pdf conversion addin either. But thanks to the internet have been able to get a download (yippie!)
One plus is that I dont need to convert images into .epf . AND I dont have to run the DVI viewer to see what the document actually looks like. This is a major plus when adjusting margins and page width/heights.
In 2 days have only been able to write 1.5 pages (!) AND the actual content has already been written, this is only to format. I get frustrated after half an hour of trying to drag my table to the place where I want it to go but Word thinks it knows better than me. Hmph.
So which is better, Latex or Word?
Word has a lot of nice glitz which would be really nice for things like resumes and reports but in terms of academic writing I’d definitely go for Latex.
Ah the world of wysiwig editors. They suck indeed. Especially the one’s that THINK they know better than you.
omg! Latex. Word.
1. Make a change
3. Refresh DVI
For. every. single. change. Sometimes it’s so frustrating. Also figuring out all those funky commands to put in simple formatting is a pain. But the automatic structuring and organizing is pretty cool though. But Word is way easier to use you know? Also, you can pretty much embed anything you want into word. Maybe someone would make a push button interface for miketex :), that would be unstoppable!
chaarmax: so true!
john: weell you can embed stuff into latex too! And actually I think ive seen a sort of push button edior for Latex – WinEdt or something..not in the same league as Word tho 🙂
One advantage I can think of about Latex is its easy to embed complex formulas in the documentation.Well at least that’s what the guy who did the documentation in our project said 🙂
nishadha: yep so true.. Math mode totally rocks! Actually I think theres even a Math mode latex plugin for blogs…
I love Office 2007. I can’t even imagine writing my thesis w/o it. While the new referencing database is a great addition in Word 2007, it lacks some standards like Harvard referencing. So in the end I resorted to using End Note. It is not free but most academic institutions have licensing agreements for their students. Check it out.