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Which DTP software for PhD thesis?

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Jack Kelly
Which DTP software for PhD thesis?
on Sep 27, 2005 at 5:02:19 pm

Hi there,

Please may I ask: should I consider using Adobe InDesign to write my PhD thesis? I have experience with PageMaker, Quark, PhotoShop and Illustrator.

The obvious package for me to use would by MS Word... it has some good points:

* I can use Reference Manager to insert references automatically
* Word can (just about) handle large documents (automatic cross-linking to figures, tables of contents etc)
* perhaps most importantly, my supervisors know how to use it and can use Track Changes to make comments...

However, I really really really dislike how careless word is with the layout. You insert a figure, move some text, then find that your figure is hanging off the end of the page!

So, my question is this: would it be possible to write a PhD thesis in InDesign? Or should I just stick to Word? I have considered LaTeX but that seems like a Bad Idea.

(A hidden agenda is: I love print and I'd like to get more familiar with a modern page-layout program like InDesign... I started and ran a magazine whilst at school (we used Quark XPress 4) and I loved it)

Thanks,
Jack

====================
Jack Kelly
London
Dir / Prod / Camera
====================


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Thumbslinger
Re: Which DTP software for PhD thesis?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 1:07:36 am

The points you mention about Word are almost the only points that make Word useful at all! Though, coming from a strictly print/advertising/design background, I may be bias.

I would weigh the time for learning the program. The biggest benefit I see with InDesign is the control over typography.

Though Quark is perfectly capable, once you're up to speed with InDesign, Quark just seems like a shareware app! That may be a little harsh, but even with InDesign CS, being able to interactively change glyph scaling, letter spacing and word spacing (not the tracking and kerning) even to negative figures is my favorite item.

I would offer that your ability to dive-in and learn the basics would be the biggest consideration. If you have the time to dedicate to start learning InDesign CS (or CS2...at this point, CS is perfectly fine and will allow you all you need) then it will serve you well in the future.

The "type to table" and vice versa might be really useful in your thesis. Creating nice looking tables from text (whether space/tab delimited) and actually being able to go back to straight type is pretty handy and must superior to the plug-ins offered in Quark..(let's not even blush about the Table tool in Quark)



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Jack Kelly
Re: Which DTP software for PhD thesis?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 10:41:26 am

Hi,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I think I will give InDesign CS2 a go. My plan at the moment is to write and draft the text in MS Word, export as an RTF and import this into InDesign for the layout. Does that sounds sensible?

Thanks,
Jack

====================
Jack Kelly
London
Dir / Prod / Camera
====================


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Thumbslinger
Re: Which DTP software for PhD thesis?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 2:09:23 pm

It's certainly possible though how much formatting is supported via RTF I'm not sure.

I've tried this with Quark 6.5 documents (Save Text as) and it's worked fine, but the formatting that was retained once imported into CS was really just font size, face, color and basic paragraph formatting such as hard returns, leading and indents.

The real polishing (H&J's, justification attributes etc) was all done in CS.

But, that will be a great way to get into CS2.

Have fun!


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Jack Kelly
Re: Which DTP software for PhD thesis?
on Sep 28, 2005 at 2:46:48 pm

Great, thanks for the reply.

Does .rft support pictures? If I follow my proposed workflow (write my thesis in Word, export as .rtf, typeset in CS2) then will I have to keep my Word .rtf drafts as strictly text with no diagrams? Will I have to instert all my diagrams in CS2?

Thanks,
Jack

====================
Jack Kelly
London
Dir / Prod / Camera
====================


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