Many biology journals insist on receiving manuscripts in Microsoft Word prior to publication. Even though this probably violates some anti-trust law, I generally comply, to the point of painfully converting Latex manuscripts into Word on more than one occasion. Word is particularly unpleasant when writing papers with equations. Although the newer versions have a new equation editing system, I don’t use it because once in a past submission, a journal forced me to convert all the equations to the old equation editor system (the poor person’s version of MathType). It worked reasonably well in Word versions before 2008 but has now become very buggy in Word 2011. For instance, when I double-click on an equation to edit it, a blank equation editor window also pops up, which I have to close in order for the one I wanted to work. Additionally, when I reopen papers saved in the .docx format, the equations lose their alignment. Instead of the center of the equation aligned to a line, the base of the equation is aligned making inline equations float above the line. Finally, a big problem is equation numbering. Latex has a nice system where you give each equation a label and then it assigns numbers automatically when you compile. This way you can insert and delete equations without having to renumber them all. Is there a way you can do this in Word? Am I the only one with these problems? Are there work arounds?

# The perils of Word

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Have you tried Scientific Word?

http://www.mackichan.com/index.html?products/sw.html~mainFrame

It was widely used at JILA and the Physics dept in CU. The technical editor for JILA recommended it and I used it for a few years, until I stopped needing to write so many equations in my work.

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I stopped submitting to journals that only accept Word.

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@BMGM Scientific Word doesn’t really solve the problem because it is not compatible with Word.

@RIckG That is a solution but I have many collaborators that only use Word so I’m kind of stuck.

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I know the pain. In Word 2010, the best approach by far that I’ve found for equation handling is described here: http://superuser.com/questions/594559/how-do-you-easily-add-equation-numbers-to-microsoft-word-2010-equations. Put the equations in a table to control the positioning and abuse caption numbering to get automatic ordered numbers.

I don’t have the double-click problem though you describe in Word 2011.

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@MF Thanks for the tip

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Unfortunately, it cannot be avoided when working with biologists. I don’t know of good workarounds, but just saw the following bug recently that makes it easy to loose hours of work

http://superuser.com/questions/603393/endless-save-loop-in-microsoft-word

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