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software for thesis writing (text+figures)


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#1 OA17

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:05 AM

Hi!

I'm currently writing the draft of my thesis in Word. I'm still not including figures, but when I do this, I know everything will move and it will most probably be a disaster and will not look good.

 

Can you recommend me an easy-to-use program in which I can put text and figures with a nice layout?

I know there are some professional programs, but I don't have much time to learn to use them now, so I wondered whether someone knew some easy software or something (if I can download it for free, much better!)

 

Thanks in advance!

 



#2 pito

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:25 AM

Latex? Its used a lot by engineers, physicists and mathematicians ...

The problem is that it takes some time to learn those programs... not sure you have the time to learn to work with them before you need to finish

 

Altough, word does the tric most often..


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#3 bob1

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 01:44 AM

The program [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LyX]Lyx[\url] is a word like interface for latex, which may be useful.

 

Personally I'm using Texworks with Texlive 2013, and can say it has been a bit of a learning curve, but really does produce nice documents once you have sorted out how things work.

 

Note also that many universities have templates for Latex based thesis writers.  Texlive full installation comes with some basic templates included too.



#4 pcrman

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:21 AM

You should make figures in photoshop and save them as tiff or jgep the same way as they appear in publication, and then insert them into word. No problem at all in terms of layout. 



#5 hobglobin

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:58 AM

I never had severe problems with Word, it works quite stable and if you try out and learn how to insert figures (e.g. as pcrman suggested) also this is usually without problems. Though most is intuitive it also needs some training...and you have the advantage that most people use it and can open and edit/correct the texts or write comments with ease. If you use other programs you might need to convert the text for supervisors and editors which is much more a source for disasters. Therefore I'd use Latex or any other program (Openoffice/Libreoffice Writer, WordPerfect Office; just to mention some alternatives), if they are common in your environment or you can work independently.


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...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#6 OA17

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:32 AM

Ok!  Thanks a lot for suggestions!

I will try Lyx, at least to learn something new to me, but if it takes a long time, I will use word inserting the figures the way you tell me.



#7 Trof

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 07:58 AM

(I swear that the next dissertation thing I'm going tol finally learn how to use TeX and those, but for now.. eh, no time.. it's enough I lose nasty amount of time on learning typography basics..)

So far I'm using Libre Office Writer, because I got very angry with old Word last time and still getting constantly frustrated by the ribbon-layout of new Word. That means I got a chance to find new ways in which Open Office is unbearingly awkward (though other things there I just love) and I already forgot the nightmare of trying to get different headers and numbering for different document sections) which is bad, because I need at least one more.

 

Anyway, the final edits (line breaks, image/paragraph positions) do in one program on one computer, preferably at once and then save as PDF (fonts included) and print from that. Don't go to printing center with a Word file and let them open it and print. Just don't.


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#8 bob1

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 01:00 PM

Anyway, the final edits (line breaks, image/paragraph positions) do in one program on one computer, preferably at once and then save as PDF (fonts included) and print from that. Don't go to printing center with a Word file and let them open it and print. Just don't.

I can't agree more - this will cause all sorts of things to break in your final print out!



#9 pito

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:07 PM

(I swear that the next dissertation thing I'm going tol finally learn how to use TeX and those, but for now.. eh, no time.. it's enough I lose nasty amount of time on learning typography basics..)

So far I'm using Libre Office Writer, because I got very angry with old Word last time and still getting constantly frustrated by the ribbon-layout of new Word. That means I got a chance to find new ways in which Open Office is unbearingly awkward (though other things there I just love) and I already forgot the nightmare of trying to get different headers and numbering for different document sections) which is bad, because I need at least one more.

 

Anyway, the final edits (line breaks, image/paragraph positions) do in one program on one computer, preferably at once and then save as PDF (fonts included) and print from that. Don't go to printing center with a Word file and let them open it and print. Just don't.

Nothing new really...

 

Anyone should know that you give a pdf file to print out....

Thats just basic knowledge..

 

On a last note: I dont see the problems with word... For me it does the the trick without problems....

The fuzz of learning other programs like latex is just not worth the time and efforts, word does the trick and I think latex is more for people that are into civil engineering or maths..


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#10 Trof

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 12:58 AM

Well anyone should know, but most of my colleagues in grad school didn't, so I thought it would be usefull to point out :)

 

I see problems with Word, for example I was unable then to set my own size and offset of super and supscripts (which is annoying when they are too small), also the fact that it reformated positions of pictures randomly and many many formating settings are just much easier to set in Open Office. Also, then OO had simple button to save as PDF, while you needed virtual printer to do that in Word. Now many things changed to better for Word, but also they screwed up the UI unbelievely, so it would take me more time to actually find anything in Word now.

 

Also, only when working with OO, I learned that Help is something that really helps you, which is an experience I lacked in most MS programs. I'm also used to certain keyboard shortcuts, in some new versions of Word they just changed them, changing them in Writer is just absolutely easy, but it took me more than half an hour to google it up for Word. 

 

And for the last thing it's true that TeX is more neccessary for complex text works, but it also provides more advanced typographic features, which is something not many people know about, or care about, but it doesn't mean it's useless, even if only for a poem you send to your granny ;)

This is the reason why many swear to TeX or other DTP programs. Those who know typography, know the difference. (I don't, that much.. I'm just starting to be horrified by the amount of things that can be wrong there)


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I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#11 hobglobin

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:09 AM

Though I don't like to defend Microsoft stuff, some comments:

- you can set object anchors to fix positions of figures and also enter specific values for absolute or relative positions.
- pdfs can be created by an add-in quite easily in office 2007 and later versions (but according to wikipedia with the second service pack it's integrated (again))
- you can get back the old UI with an add-in such as this: "RibbonCustomizer Starter Edition"
- With help (but you have so many websites and forums or colleagues you can ask) and more advanced typographic features I agree with you, but the latter I don't need for scientific papers, as journals anyway don't want this (and my thesis is luckily finished wink.png . )


One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#12 postdoc

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

I'd say you should not worry too much about which program to use for the writing. You can do all the writing and layout thing in MS Word with which you are surely most familiar. The layout and appearance for journal articles can all be done with Word! If you really want to some fancy stuff, you can use Adobe Indesign or the free program called Scribus. But these programs have sophisticated functions and a long learning curve as well.  So, do it in Word and focus on science.  



#13 pito

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:27 AM

My main reason (or one of the more important ones) for using word is pretty simple: almost everyone uses it... and if you want to send papers to others or exchange data etc... its just easier...

 

No point in me working in latex or something else if everyone else uses word..

 

I even dont know if there are many biological science journals out there that accept non word formats...


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.

#14 Trof

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:55 AM

Well I hope journal editors have a DTP program even if I send it in Word, yet my thesis is not exactly edited this way ;)

 

So for the same reason interchangebility in not an issue for this case (the topic was asking about thesis, otherwise interchangebility is an issue) and it's only important if my editor supports my citation manager plugin.

 

And, I wrote my master thesis a bit before Word 2007, so I know there are some things better now (and few worse).

 

If they just mixed all the good stuff from old and new Word and Open Office, it could be really joy to work with that ;)


Our country has a serious deficiency in lighthouses. I assume the main reason is that we have no sea.

I never trust anything that can't be doubted.

'Normal' is a dryer setting. - Elizabeth Moon


#15 pito

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 09:58 AM

Well I hope journal editors have a DTP program even if I send it in Word, yet my thesis is not exactly edited this way wink.png

 

So for the same reason interchangebility in not an issue for this case (the topic was asking about thesis, otherwise interchangebility is an issue) and it's only important if my editor supports my citation manager plugin.

 

And, I wrote my master thesis a bit before Word 2007, so I know there are some things better now (and few worse).

 

If they just mixed all the good stuff from old and new Word and Open Office, it could be really joy to work with that wink.png

No it is a problem, especially for writing a thesis!

Didnt you have to send your thesis to your promotors etc? Here we do.. and all of them used word.. so no point in writing it in another program... they wouldnt be able to check it anyway...

 

When we send papers/drafts etc to others... (other people at the lab, other labs) its all in word...because they all use word.. if you use something else... problems..


If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some then not ask and stay stupid.




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