All my text edition is made using LaTeX, a free, professional class, text layout software. At first, this edition tool can seem difficult to use as it is not a “What-You-See-is-What-You-Get” kind of software. Meaning that the greatest difference with Microsoft Word, for example, is that, in LaTeX, you have to edit a code (with any text editor) and then compile it before seeing the result
Here is a small example of the code (.tex file) and it’s outcome outcome (.ps or .pdf):
Yes, it seems rough at first, I admit, but the tremendous advantages of LaTeX are:
- It works great and identically under any platform (Unix, Linux, Windows or Mac)
- The software itself is free
- The code file (.tex) is a simple text file, therefore very small: easy to backup, exchange, send by e-mail…
- The page layout is done automatically by LaTeX (no more long hours wasted dealing with page layout) and is of professional class (meaning it’s way better than what Word will ever do). And this is not only true for equations and other scientific particularities, LaTeX will be exceptionally good for a history thesis for example.
- Even the resulting file is easy to exchange with other people, by using PDF format for example
Just compare with: wasting money in buying Microsoft Word, wasting plenty of time in editing an not-so-ugly document and then having to buy an additional software such as Adobe Acrobat to convert your no-so-good-either files into PDF to eventually be able to send them by e-mail to your colleagues and be sure they will have the same page layout that you… (well you could at least use OpenOffice and save you from all this garbage but still).
I find other advantages in my personal use of the software such as: LaTeX does great with math formulas, LaTeX is accepted by most scientific journals, LaTeX deals alone and very easily with several indexes (table of contents, index of tables, index of figures…), LaTeX deals with bibliography trough BibTeX -another free software- and so on…
You can use one of the numerous “distributions” of LaTeX
Then you can start with one of my templates