Date: Mon, 06 May 2002 00:04:01 -0400

Author: Geoff Nunes

Subject: Re: Software for Creating Lab Manuals


"George M. Caplan" wrote:
> I am using MS Word to create lab manuals, which are often more than
> 80 pages. It cannot do some of the things I want it to do (e.g. put the
> footer where I want it
> on a page in landscape mode). Several times I have been told that Word is
> not
> good for big documents like these -- especially when they have diagrams in
> them.
> Have you all used other software? Framemaker? Quark Expires? etc.
> Also, have you all tried LaTex?

TeX (or LaTeX if you must) is very nice for this sort of thing. You can
have a "template" file that defines how you want things to look, and
change only that to change all your documents.

You can get a very nice freeware version for Windows or for Mac (I have
no experience with the Mac one).

The cost is a steep learning curve. Knuth's original manual is
holographic: you must read all of it to extract the least useful bit of
information. There must now be others available, but I learned back in
the Dark Ages and so incorporated that hologram...

Other cost: graphics that are not postscript are difficult, so you need
to find appropriate conversion software.

If you decide this sounds like the thing for you, contact me offline for
a copy of my lab template.

-Geoff Nunes