6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 14, 2011 2:52 PM by Derek Cross

# TeX

Hi - my author has produced a document in TeX and wants an ePub and .mobi versions produced. Does anyone know how one can convert a TeX document to use in InDesign CS5.5. The author is using a PC and I'm using a Max (OS 10.6.8).

Thanks Derek

• ###### 1. Re: TeX

TeX is a very different typesetting paradigm. I think a lot depends on how complex the features are. It might just be eaiser to do it by hand.

Is it in fact plainTeX or is it really LaTeX? If it is LaTeX, you might be able to use latex2rtf to convert it to RTF and then place that in InDesign. It's been years since I've used latex2rtf and it was a bit sketchy at the time, you YMMV (a lot).

If you're not a Unix person, you may have trouble with latex2rtf as well... And then there's LaTex 2.0.9 vs. LaTeX 2e

• ###### 2. Re: TeX

Hi John

Many thanks for your response – it certainly is a problem!

Perhaps TeX to MSWord (before placing in InDesign) might be the way to go – if there's a 'converter' available!

Best wishes

Derek

• ###### 3. Re: TeX

Derek: Yes, but that's a pretty big if. I believe you will not find a good TeX to MSWord converter.

What's your familiarity with TeX and TeX variants? I could go on at some lenght, but I don't want to be reptititve or redundant.

TeX itself is almost a programming language, interspersed with text.

LaTeX is a macro package for TeX that defines a language for formatting that is much more semantic in nature.

A LaTeX document might be something like:

\documentclass{article}
\begin{document}
\thispagestyle{plain}
\begin{flushright}
This is some text that is flush right.
\end{flushright}
\setlength{\parindent}{0in}
\setlength{\parskip}{3ex}
The rain in spain falls mainly on the plain.

This is a new paragraph.
\textbf{This is boldface text.}
\end{document}


So, latex2rtf works by redefinining the latex commands to produce a structured RTF document, and feeding the thing through the TeX interpretter.

For what it's worth.

Is your author a LaTeX guru or expert? Do they have a system administration who is who they can lean on for assistance with this stuff?

Do you have the TeX document? How does it start? What kind of docment is it? Is it a journal article or something? Is it math-heavy?

• ###### 4. Re: TeX

Hi John,

The author is a recently-retired professor of mathematics from Cambridge University, so I should think he knows the application pretty well. (I have no knowledge of TeX.) And maybe he could get advice from Cambridge University Press.

But this book is not about mathematics – it's about films. I attach a typical page (taken from a screen shot of a PDF of the book). As you can see, it includes a number of typographic styles and footnotes. It also includes a comprehensive hyperlinked index. There are no illustrations. The extent, in PDF form, is around 1,000 pages.

Regards

Derek

• ###### 5. Re: TeX

The author is a recently-retired professor of mathematics from Cambridge University, so I should think he knows the application pretty well. (I have no knowledge of TeX.) And maybe he could get advice from Cambridge University Press.

Yes, I think, practically speaking, you should encourage him to try to explore conversion options. He should be able to leverage resources at Cambridge, including his Math department unix administration/TeX colleagues, former grad students, and potentially the Press.

The screenshot is helpful -- that you're not dealing with math is, of course, a huge help, because LaTeX is very good at math and getting that to convert to InDesign reasonably would have been a bear (probably doable via having TeX produce EPS output for each equation and inserting it later, but let's not worry too much about that).

But I think you still haven't answered the big question, which is whether this is in LaTeX or plain TeX or some other macro package. I'm assuming LaTeX, but that may not be a sufficiently good assumption. And since this is someone with a math background, AMS-TeX is also possible.

So, to be concrete about it:

1. Determine what kind of TeX it is. There are lots.
2. Look at converting to a format that InDesign can place. I'd recommend starting with latex2rtf.

On the other hand, I don't really know what the support situation is for footnotes in RTF and how InDesign's limited footnote support will work here.

I have some background in TeX and of course InDesign, but I've never needed to put them together. So my advice here is informed speculation.

• ###### 6. Re: TeX

Hi John

Very many thanks for all your usefull comments – I'll pass them on to the professor for him to consider.

In the meantime, I think I'll advise him to stick to PDF - it can be read on most devices, the hyperlinks work and it'll save a lot of sweat!

Very best wishes,

Derek