Management Tools for Writing (Part II)
By Jiaqi Wang
If you need a multitude of symbols or graphs in your writing that you cannot conveniently find either on your keyboard or some special symbol databases, formatting might have been very time-consuming to you. Don’t worry. There’s a free typesetting system that is tailored-made to solve your problem – LaTex.
“LaTex is based on the idea that it is better to leave document design to document designers, and to let authors get on with writing documents.” – The design philosophy of LaTex
LaTex has attracted many writers, and in particular it is most appealing to people who produce technical reports. You might have heard people say, “if you typeset your papers in Word, you will not be considered as a serious scientist.” It can be a little bit painful to learn the basics, but you will be amazed by the consistency and professionalism it produces.
For more information on LaTex:
- Beginner’s tutorial
- Countless videos on YouTube
You might be collaborating with colleagues on a project, so it is reasonable to expect simultaneous contribution from more than one person, and also multiple drafts/versions prior to delivery. This is when the notion of version control comes in handy. There are many software implementations in the market, which share a similar set of features – helping you keep track of the revisions/improvements over time in collaborations. Git is currently the most famous one that has been utilized by many researchers, developers, authors, or anyone who benefits from version control. You can find its documentation on the website.
Github, which I am sure looks familiar to you, is an online community that is built on Git technology, where people extend their collaborative projects, if you want, to include anyone who is interested. This “outsourcing” approach has proven to be very effective in rendering experiments robust and shortening the testing period.
Writing has never been more efficient. With technology support, we can get more work done within a short period of time. It’s time-saving and frustration-free. All we need is a little extra learning, which is the activity we graduate students conduct every day, no?
– Jiaqi Wang