[tex-live] Re: [pdftex] MS Word hell, TeX heaven?

Magnus Lie Hetland magnus at hetland.org
Thu Mar 13 14:31:51 CET 2003

Herman Bruyninckx <Herman.Bruyninckx at mech.kuleuven.ac.be>:
> On Thu, 13 Mar 2003, Magnus Lie Hetland wrote:
> > >     > I suppose these data don't support your hypothesis, but I've
> > >     > actually written a 600 page book in Word -- though I must admit
> > >     > each chapter was a separate file ;)
> > >
> A big advantage of (La)TeX over Word for large documents is that one can
> use a file versioning system (such as CVS) to really cooperate with many
> people, and work on the same files.

Oddly enough, version control was the main argument for using MS Word,
as it has version control built-in -- no reason to use CVS and the

Yes, it may be more limited, but seeing the changes made by different
people highlighted in different colours etc. was quite practical --
and Word *does* make it easier to cooperate with people who don't know
that much about computers (not a reference to the people I worked with
on my book, certainly).

But, yes, I do use CVS with LaTeX.

> In addition, this cooperation works
> on every platform, not just Windows.


> Other large-scale advantages are:
> - scriptable: it's easy to make automatic reports, with high
>   typographical quality and rich features.

Word is also scriptable. I've even scripted it with Python... :)

> - scalable: (La)TeX documents can be stored in data bases as simple
>   text, which adds all the scalability and configurability that
>   databases bring.


> - searchable: it's easy to search over a big archive of (La)TeX
>   documents.

Not that I've done so, but I would think this should be possible in
Word as well, if you use the right MS tools.

> - perenniality: one can be sure to be able to access (La)TeX archives at
>   any time in the distant future.

Yes -- good point. Opening old Word files can easily be quite

> Herman Bruyninckx

Magnus Lie Hetland               "Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist." 
http://hetland.org                                   -- Indiana Jones

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