April 18, 2019, 06:49:40 PM
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Topic: Tables for publication  (Read 592 times)

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Offline rolnor

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Tables for publication
« on: January 28, 2019, 11:22:09 AM »
What is the best software to make nice tables for publications? I have used Word but it does not feel straightforward.

Offline hypervalent_iodine

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2019, 11:49:12 AM »
I’ve always used Word, but I’m sure there is a better way.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2019, 09:45:25 AM »
Publication in science journals? They want papers in Latex format, so a natural choice would make the tables themselves with Latex.

Html makes tables easily, it automates their format as much as you want, and you can input the code as a text or with adequate html editors.

I feel Word is meant to type letters and shouldn't be misused for bigger documents like a science paper. Word isn't autonomous enough to keep a meaningful document aspect if a change in the first page influences the 20th one.

If you plan to include a table as an image in a Latex document, this has serious drawbacks. Examples:
http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?topic=79637
Every data change in the table (this happens often) means editing the table in html, Excel or whatever, then converting again in the image, and checking the Latex document. I do it for my messages in the forums as it provides maximum compatibility, but I feel the drawbacks. If my target were Latex, I wouldn't do that.

Offline rolnor

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2019, 10:26:16 AM »
Thanx Enthalpy,
I think in the guidelines, journal often wrights that Word is OK to use?
How does Latex work together with structures made in chemsketch?

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2019, 03:09:05 PM »
I am wondering if an Excel spreadsheet embedded in a Word document would be a reasonable choice.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 11:28:11 AM »
Sure, Excel is made to work with Word. Especially if the table benefits from automatic computations, Excel is a good choice.

Latex is a monster. It's by far the N°1 choice for publications and for longer documents because
  • It works automatically and produces very aesthetic documents.
  • There are standard packages for each journal that result in its uniform aspect.
  • It has capacities for everything. Write music, theatre, science papers, letters. Embed automatic algebraic computing. Just use the proper package.
  • Special packages can do about anything you want (they total >>1GB). Notably draw chemical formulae. Write aesthetic math and chemical equations.
If you imagine the horror of a Word document where math formulas are cut by a page bottom or images are randomly resized when you edit something elsewhere... And this does happen in a journal, where papers don't always start at a page top, or where pages have a size different from what your Word knows. By contrast, if you send the journal a Latex document, they will concatenate all papers and let the more clever and autonomous Latex recompile everything to obtain a cute edition.

If you plan more than few months at a university or in a research career, I feel using Latex (and installing it if necessary) should belong to your know-how.

Latex belongs more to the Linux world but I could install some distributions on W2k and Xp with limited headache. Learning to use it seems reasonable. But don't expect a document 2 days after downloading the binaries. Colleagues already trained are a help.

Offline Enthalpy

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Re: Tables for publication
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2019, 11:38:27 AM »
I got many answers by googling
draw molecules latex
for instance
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/Chemical_Graphics
https://www.overleaf.com/learn/latex/Chemistry_formulae
http://tug.ctan.org/macros/generic/chemfig/chemfig-en.pdf
these draw structures in 2D. There are certainly packages to represent molecules in volume. I'm confident many packages understand Smiles too.

The examples give a glimpse of the way Latex works. You input a text (optionally with the help of a specialized editor, which has menus for math, greek, chemistry, tables of citations...), let Latex compile it, and get a cute document where Latex has done much autonomously.

On most web forums, math formulas are compiled by some Latex module. You know, when you type _ to get indices. So you've probably already used bits of Latex.

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