Word is not Word

I am often forced to write papers in Microsoft Word.  I once wrote a paper in LaTeX and it was perfectly fine with the journal all the way through the submission process.  However, after it was accepted the journal asked for the Doc or RTF file for the paper.  The paper had quite a few equations and there was no way that we could find that would convert a LaTeX file into a Word file so we typed it all out again in Word.  Since that time I always find out ahead of time what format a journal wants and more often than not it is Word.  The one benefit is that it really forces me to minimize the number of equations in a paper.  I managed to cope with this system up through MS Office 2004 on the Mac.

However, things started to fall apart completely with Office 2007.  The first issue is that they switched to an XML format suffixed by .docx, which is completely incompatible with the previous .doc format.  There exist conversion tools that can turn .docx files into RTF files but equations in .docx cannot be converted.  To make things even worse, equations in Office 2007 for Windows are also completely incompatible with equations in Office 2008 for the Mac.  So in effect,  it is impossible for a person using a Mac to collaborate with a person using Windows if the paper has equations.  As far as I can tell, there is no work around.  If anyone knows of a way to make equations in Word 2007 readable by a Mac please let me know.  This really makes me wonder who makes decisions at Microsoft.


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