I write a lot of papers and generally I use openoffice, which is basically a word processor like MS Word. Both these programs are wysiwyg, meaning “what you see is what you get.”

Now I don’t know a lot about computers but recently I was told about a program called LaTeX which is a mark up language. The entire document is done in text format with commands. The program then typesets the document to make it visually attractive (changing spaces between letters and organizing lines and even whole paragraphs so that they are optimally readable). The program is also superior for dissertation writing because of the way that sections and footnotes can be managed. Basically, I’m trying to learn it so that I can do all my documents in this way. The finished product can be put right into PDF format and many journals now require or use this type of sophisticated lay out procedure.


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