Tag Archives: LaTeX

Forcing line breaks in LaTeX titles using maketitle

I had occasion while using the typesetting program LaTeX to force specific line breaks in my very long title. In order to do this, you must protect the line break command. I am not sure what this means or why, but it works with no apparent ill effects for me:

\title{Insert very long and informative title \protect\\ in this space with considerations of \protect\\ strange automatic line breaks}

If your title used to read:

INSERT VERY LONG AND INFORMATIVE TITLE IN THIS
SPACE WITH CONSIDERATIONS OF STRANGE AUTOMATIC
LINE BREAKS

it will now read:

INSERT VERY LONG AND INFORMATIVE TITLE
IN THIS SPACE WITH CONSIDERATIONS OF
STRANGE AUTOMATIC LINE BREAKS

LaTeX modernization challenge

For those in technical fields, the LaTeX typesetting system is only slightly more invaluable than infuriating, not to mention shady to search for appropriately on the internet. As they say, LaTeX makes very difficult tasks easy and very easy tasks difficult. Though there are several excellent GUIs that address many of these shortcomings, there’s a problem in compiling efficiency that I think can be addressed. Every time you make a change and run the LaTeX command on a file, it recompiles the entire document, soup to pie. This is obviously useful when you have references that need updating throughout the entire file, but I bet there’s a way to implement a system in which LaTeX compiles only what changes, and beyond.

Let’s take a simple example. Let’s say I have a beamer presentation in LaTeX that has 10 slides. If I change information on slide 3 that has NO bearing on slides 1-2, I should be able to compile the document so that it only compiles slides 3-10, since potentially pagination on slide 3 changes the slides that follow. (In fact, beamer slides should be such that most changes made to slide 3 will not affect any other slide, so in that case LaTeX should retypeset page 3 and then maintain the other pages.)

Pitfalls of this are pretty clear: there are several scenarios, including references and labels, in which the entire document may need to be recompiled, and it may seem like considering these exceptions is cumbersome/inelegant. But I think that modern computing is easily capable of handling these challenges in a fairly efficient manner. It doesn’t even have to be all-inclusive for a first try.

It’s also not clear to me whether or not such a thing exists. I haven’t spent enough time on LaTeX community boards or mailing lists to really know. The reason for this is partly time, of course, but mostly because I don’t have the technical acumen to actually help solve these problems. But here I’m throwing out the challenge to do so, if it hasn’t been done already. It’s clearly not in the mainstream LaTeX distributions, but it’s a sorely needed feature that would save enormous amounts of time in preparing these manuscripts in LaTeX.

Poster creation in LaTeX

It’s conference time, and this means poster creation. Like many who are in mathematical fields (I’m more closely at the boundary), \LaTeX is a typesetting system that, among many other things, allows for easy and professional creation of equations in documents. It can also be used to create posters and presentations. I found a great site today in my search for the shortest path to poster creation, and I found this wonderful resource that, unlike most LaTeX tutorials, is easy to follow and pretty much self-contained:

Andreas Jung

By the way, WordPress (this blag’s host) is insanely cool. It allows typesetting of \LaTeX equations on the fly – a thing of beauty! And so I’ll leave you with the FHN model:

\dot{V} = V - \frac{V^3}{3} - W + I \\ \dot{W} = 0.08 \cdot \left(V + 0.7 -0.8W\right)