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  • 05:08 UTC (new) (history) 2018-01-15 Counting LaTeX commands in a bunch of files . . . . Marcin Borkowski I hope that I want bore anyone to death with blog posts related to the journal I’m working for, but here’s another story about my experiences with that. I am currently writing a manual for authors wanting to prepare a paper for Wiadomości Matematyczne. We accept LaTeX files, of course, but we have our own LaTeX class (not yet public), and adapting what others wrote (usually using article) is sometimes a lot of work. Having the authors follow our guidelines could make that slightly less work, which is something I’d be quite happy with. (Of course, making a bunch of university mathematicians do something reasonable would be an achievement in itself.) When I presented (the current version of) the manual to my colleagues in the editorial board, we agreed that nobody will read it anyway. And then I had an idea of preparing a TL;DR version, just a few sentences, where I could mention the one thing I want to get across: dear authors, please do not do anything fancy, just stick with plain ol’ LaTeX. And one component of that message could be a list of LaTeX commands people should stick to. (If you have never worked for a journal or somewhere where you get to look at other people’s LaTeX files, you probably have no idea about what they are capable of doing.) So here I am, having 200+ LaTeX files (there are twice as many, but I had only about 200 on my current laptop), meticulously converted to our template (which means our class and our local customs, like special commands for various dashes or avoiding colons at all costs), and I want to prepare a list of LaTeX commands used throughout together with the information about the frequency of using them.


  • 20:22 UTC (new) (history) 2018-01-07 A small editing tool for work with AMSrefs . . . . Marcin Borkowski As I mentioned many times, I often edit LaTeX files written by someone else for a journal. One thing which is notoriously difficult to get right when writing academic papers is bibliographies. At Wiadomości Matematyczne, we use AMSrefs, which is really nice (even if it has some rough edges here and there). (BTW, BibLaTeX was not as mature as it is today when we settled on our tool; also, AMSrefs might be a tad easier to customize, though I’m not sure about that anymore…) One of the commands AMSrefs offers is \citelist. Instead of writing things like papers \cite{1}, \cite{2} and~\cite{3}, you write papers \citelist{\cite{1}\cite{2}\cite{3}}, and AMSrefs sorts these entries and compresses runs into ranges (like in [1-3]). The only problem is that most authors have no idea that this exists, and we often have to convert “manual” lists of citations into \citelist‘s. Well, as usual, Emacs to the rescue.


  • 06:34 UTC (new) (history) 2017-12-31 LaTeX pillory – macros everywhere . . . . Marcin Borkowski A few years ago, my frustration with what people do with (or to…) LaTeX made me start a (now rather abandoned) series of blog posts (in Polish) with the common theme of a “LaTeX pillory”. The name is somwhet misleading, since I don’t really want to shame anyone – but I do want to put shame on some practices. This time I received something that is so terrifying that I decided to revive that project.


  • 05:17 UTC (new) (history) 2017-12-24 Merry Christmas . . . . Marcin Borkowski It’s Christmas time again! Thanks be to God for keeping me and my family alive and well, but even more for taking care of us in sometimes quite astonishing ways. As usual, I wish all of you Merry Christmas. Let these days be devoted less to your everyday activities and more to the awe at the greatness of God who gives meaning to them. I hope that even if you are far away geographically, we will meet someday in the Father’s house. As the tradition goes, I will offer a decade of Rosary to all of you!


  • 22:38 UTC (new) (history) Comments on 2017-12-18 hierarchy.el . . . . Phil Not entirely under the radar...
  • 16:38 UTC (new) (history) 2017-12-18 hierarchy.el . . . . Marcin Borkowski A few months ago, Damien Cassou announced his hierarchy.el library. It looks like it went a bit under the radar in the Emacs community – I haven’t heard about it much since. That’s a pity, since it looks quite interesting.



  • 09:59 UTC (new) (history) 2017-12-04 Embedding files in Org-mode . . . . Marcin Borkowski A few days ago, there was a question on the help-gnu-emacs mailing list about a way to embed an image in a text file. Of course, the OP was instantly pointed to Org-mode. However, this does not quite do what he wanted: while you can have attachments/links to images in Org, you then need two files instead of one. This being Emacs and Org-mode, there exists an (at least partial) solution.


  • 16:40 UTC (new) (history) 2017-11-27 Org-mode radio targets . . . . Marcin Borkowski One of the interesting features of Org-mode is hyperlinks. For some documents, having many internal links makes a lot of sense. One of these types is mathematical papers: you often want to refer to “Theorem 2.1” or “Definition 3” or “equation (5)”. LaTeX has that pretty much solved (even core LaTeX, and then there are packages to help, like cleveref). Org-mode does not improve a lot on that, but it’s usually enough anyway. But it’s not the topic of my post today.




  • 13:07 UTC (new) (history) 2017-11-12 My email workflow – an addendum . . . . Marcin Borkowski Some time ago I wrote about my email capturing workflow. After I’ve written that text, I noticed that my command does not work well when launched in message mode (as opposed to the headers view mode). I tried to debug this problem, but to no avail. Until yesterday.



  • 18:59 UTC (new) (history) 2017-10-30 Pdf-tools and follow mode . . . . Marcin Borkowski Today I discovered an extremely cool feature of pdf-tools. Assume that you have a pdf file with annotations (that is, those funny yellow sticky-note-like thingies which show some text when hovered or clicked). Assume that they are done by the editor of a journal you work for, and you have to modify the source LaTeX file accordingly. (This is a rather specialized use, but I think the feature may have more applications.) My previous workflow involved using a mouse (actually, a touchpad, but I hate both with a passion). But there’s a much better way.


  • 19:26 UTC (new) (history) 2017-10-23 Styles in TikZ . . . . Marcin Borkowski Many TeX users learned to love the great TikZ package. I used to be a great fan of Metapost (even back in the good ol’ days of DOS), but when a friend told me about TikZ, I checked it out and instantly fell in love. No more external compilation, no more strange syntax, no more problems with labels etc. Yes, MP has its advantages, like the declarative way of solving linear equations or the Hobby algorithm for finding the nicest curve fitting to a set of points. And yes, with \write18 or LuaTeX (or just plain old makefiles), you don’t have to run a separate program to compile your MP diagrams. But I made my switch, and most of the time I’m really glad I did. There are a few things, however, which are a bit uncool with TikZ. One of them is that I find it notoriously difficult to define commands to draw repetitive things in my diagrams.