## Monday, October 11, 2004

### PowerPoint, TeXpoint, and Bill Gates

Aurora is a new commercial LaTeX system for MS Office

Update: a newer system to write equations in PowerPoint is called TeX4PPT.

I am just preparing the PowerPoint support for a string theory lecture on Wednesday. You can see the relevant files in various directories on the course web page

http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~phys287a/

Although PowerPoint is pretty useful and looks good, writing equations in PowerPoint is not the most convenient thing in the world - and the blackboard remains the most available substitute. In principle, Microsoft offers a WYSIWYG environment called "Microsoft equation editor", but one needs to go through a lot of hassle if she wants to type a single equation. Most of us (physicists) are used to write equations in TeX.

This is the reason why many of us can appreciate a nice addition to the PowerPoint which is called "TeXpoint", see

http://raw.cs.berkeley.edu/texpoint/

TeXpoint offers two modes - limited LaTeX and full LaTeX. The limited LaTeX mode allows you to type a TeX-like mathematical expression with superscripts, subscripts, integral signs, Greek letters (written with the usual backslash commands), and so forth, and then press alt/x alt/x. Suddenly, all these objects are converted into a pretty reasonable form. I am using it all the time. Well, fractions are impossible - the output generated by this simple tool must be a linear sequence of characters.

On the other hand, the full LaTeX mode, initiated by alt/x alt/d, quickly opens a window where you can edit the body of a LaTeX source, and by two more clicks, you can generate a PNG image from that LaTeX source, which can be pasted to your PowerPoint file immediately. Although the result is, in principle, a perfect TeX image, I am not using this option too much because it does not handle the vertical position of the equation and the color of the background too well, and moreover, it is much slower than the limited TeX.

It's probably more reasonable to make a "snapshot" of an equation as seen in the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you have the new reader 6.0, you should try to play with the "camera" icon. This tool is able to take a rectangle from a PDF file, convert it to an image file, and copy it to the clipboard. You just switch to PowerPoint and "paste" this image. That's it.

One more general comment. Microsoft is doing a great job, and Bill Gates is one the most deserved billionaires in the history of this planet. It was probably a very good decision for him and for most of us not to finish his studies at Harvard. As you see, this blog is not going to join the club of narrow-minded anti-corporate blogs that copy all this cheap stuff from each other!

1. LubosOne more general comment. Microsoft is doing a great job, and Bill Gates is one the most deserved billionaires in the history of this planet. It was probably a very good decision for him and for most of us not to finish his studies at Harvard. As you see, this blog is not another member of the club of narrow-minded anti-corporate blogs that copy all this cheap stuff from each other!Cornering Silver on the open market by the Hunt brothers is pretty much what Bill Gates Tried to do.

No body faults Bill Gates for being successivefull, its just that if one position is going to be developed, you needed a opposite and equal reaction:)

True Bargianing and freedom in democracies, recognizes this feature. The pendulum always comes to rest some where in the middle, and hopefully, all peoples become happy.

Looking at Netscape and Microsoft, the pre-history on OS brought forth democratic institutions that developed even today(wikipedia and its kernal), alongside of corporate influences.

One way or another there is always a corrective feature in swinging to far one way, Strings for instance, to have been counter in some way else.

Anyway that makes is easy to diversify the ability to equative formulate response, in which ever environment in a good thing.

The Adobe acrobat is pretty much like you said in terms of pictures and paragraphs for reference. Some can bring unique perspective regardless of individuality, becuase a wider perspective draws in other views for consideration.

You'll have to perform most eloquently then with your new bloggery. If not The pendulum will swing towards Peter:)

2. I find pdfscreen very useful. Especially with the fast CPUs these days, the time difference between typing in LaTeX and previewing is so small that it is almost as good as WYSIWYG. Plus, it is platform-independent, unlike MS Powerpoint.

It is easy to convert articles written in LaTeX article class into something that can be used with Acrobat Reader for some simple presentation effects. With a bit more effort nice multipage handouts can be created.

3. I use the FoilTeX package for LaTeX to write the slides, and PPower4 for post-processing the resultant PDF in order to produce transition effects, gradient backgrounds, etc. See http://www-sp.iti.informatik.tu-darmstadt.de/software/ppower4/.

Kristjan Kannike
http://www.physic.ut.ee/~kkannike/english/