2 min read

Latex and MS Word

I knew LaTeX at 2009, when I was asked to edit an annuals for my former lab. Since previous annuals’ typesetting were so bad (for me, of course, they were the products of Microsoft Word) and I am a view-driving person, I decided to abandon MS Word. Then, after a little bit research, I came across LaTeX. I was attracted by it at the very beginning! The main idea of this software is to separate content from typesetting. The only thing you need care about is your content, while letting the software to do the typesetting. With some default setting, software can do a much better job. This is “what you think is what you get, WYTIWYG”. While MS Word, Openoffice, etc. are “what you see is what you get, WYSIWYG”.

Although the prevalence of LaTeX in math, very few biologists are using it, mainly because of its steep learning curve at the beginning. However, here is an excellent website about LaTeX resources for biologists. When you have some basic knowledge about LaTeX, I recommended this software: LyX. It has user friendly GUI, while it keeps LaTeX as the core to compile the file, which will give you beautiful output.

While I really enjoy using LaTeX, all colleagues and my adviser are using Word, and they always asking Word files … At this moment, I write in LaTex then transform to Word using Pandoc. But Pandoc cannot handle tables and cross references…I probably need to write my manuscripts in word, sign…