This is turning into a series, now isn’t it? Yesterday, I wrote a post on using tex2word to convert documents to .doc format. This works well but carries with it the major disadvantage that you need to run it using windows. In my copious spare time, I thought I would explore some of the other options listed on the PLoS ONE LaTeX page.
An intriguing alternative to tex2word is LaTeX2rtf, a freeware utility that runs on a variety of platforms (including all UNIX-like operating systems). I downloaded it, built it and ran it with few problems in between my dozen or so events today. Considering how little time I had to devote to it and how distracted I was, it worked remarkably well. I tested the converter out on a pretty equation-loaded document. The equations don’t look perfect, but they’re passable. One major advantage that LaTeX2rtf has over tex2word is the preservation of cross-references and (key) the bibliography. I clearly need to play around more, but my sense is that LaTeX2rtf is the tool to use if you have a document that doesn’t have too many complex typeset equations. When that is the case, the equations rendered by MathType via tex2word will probably look better. But if you go that route, you need to do extra work to do the bibliography and you lose the cross-references.
I learned from Pete Binfield, editor of PLoS ONE, some terrific news today. PLoS ONE will be accepting LaTeX submissions starting in January. This whole thing of exploring LaTeX converters started with me trying to figure out what I was going to tell some authors of a paper submitted to PLoS ONE. The submitted manuscript was done in LaTeX and I wanted to have something constructive to say other than “you can’t.” Pretty soon, I won’t have to worry about that. Of course, there are plenty of other times when I can’t use LaTeX (but want to) and so converters will be useful. Probably the most common way this comes up is working with co-authors who have no inclination to work with LaTeX (read: most of them).