Moving from Word to TeX

My resolution for the start of November 2007 is to start using TeX or LaTeX as the tool for drafting every article or conference presentation. Humanities scholars who use the ubiquitous Microsoft Word may view this as a quixotic decision. But I have arrived at this point with conviction.

I began using Microsoft Word during undergraduate years. The software’s ubiquity led to a habit, which lasted through my dissertation. Word usually performs well enough for a scholar of literature. That is, until you decide that an article in MLA style needs to be converted to Chicago style. One might, I suppose, believe that bibliographical citation software is going to solve this problem. But I’ve tried EndNote and RefWorks. Both drove me nuts, and I don’t want to learn every trick of another vendor’s application. I want to get the work done.

NoteTab Pro, a few PERL-style regular expressions, and LaTex can get the work done. The 20 or 30 hours that I’ve spent converting MLA to Chicago style in Word is an evil that is not necessary. For subsequent articles, it’s LaTex and BibTex right up until submission. Then, only then, for publisher requirements, I will convert LaTex to rich text format (RTF) and whichever Word format the publisher requires. I do not know BibTeX well enough to believe this resolution won’t waver, but it must be better than this mess.

But I’ll stick with my QUERTY keyboard habit. One of my colleagues favors the Dvorak keyboard, but QUERTY is a habit that I’m not sure I can break.

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