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2.3 Features 

In this section we will describe some features of the 4TeX workbench.

2.3.1 Add, delete, modify 

4TeX aims to be an open system such that every user can add, delete or modify the 4TeX workbench to suit personal needs and taste. For instance, 4TeX uses Babel: a simple way to generate TeX format files with multiple languages, and some control sequences to switch languages (and hyphenation patterns) within one TeX document. Generating TeX format files is done completely through menus that allow you to choose the basic format (e.g. plain, LaTeX, lollipop) and the languages you need. 4TeX calculates the memory requirements, generates the format and adds it to the list with its required parameters, ready to run.

Of course any user or department has specific printers. 4TeX currently supports more than 50 printer types including matrix printers, LaserJets, DeskJets and PostScript printers. Adding or deleting a printer type should not cause problems. 4TeX lets you choose between local printers, network printers and printing to a file.

At this moment the spell-checker supports the languages Dutch, US English, UK English, French, German, Italian, South-African and Spanish but any other language can easily be added.

2.3.2 Help in 4TeX 

There are several types of automated assistance available. For each item in every 4TeX menu there is a help screen.

The memory resident MS-Dos program TeXhelp is meant as a partial replacement for the LaTeX 2.09 and TeX manuals. It is a hypertext system that can be called from the editor. For example, if the cursor is at the word \documentstyle, pressing the TeXhelp key results in a help screen that refers you to the topic Document Styles.3 Select this topic and you get a help screen that gives information about all valid LaTeX document styles and options. Moreover, there are cross references to all options and, among others, the commands \flushbottom and \twocolumn. It is also possible to jump directly to the index of TeXhelp or to review the last help screen. For most topics, the text is taken from the LaTeX help system for MS-Windows by M.F. Reid, which is based on G. Greenwade's help system for Vax-VMS computers. Under Windows 95/NT one can use the Windows help file latex2e.hlp for help about LaTeX 2e.

Several example files exist, varying from a standard LaTeX file to more complex subjects such as tables with asymmetric columns or the creation of multiple indexes. Example files can be viewed from the editor and, if desired, inserted in the current document.

Finally, there is on-line TeX documentation. This consists of documentation of e.g. style files. To save disk space, the documentation is kept in archives that are temporarily decompressed on selection.

2.3.3 Editing 

We have chosen TSE junior (shareware by Semware) as the default editor in 4TeX under MS-Dos. For this editor, we have developed many macros. For example, you can enter a LaTeX environment defined by the commands \begin{env} . . . \end{env} by picking it from a list; insert \index{this} behind the word this at the cursor position; or call the spell-checker (see below) to check the word at the cursor. Moreover, on loading a text file, the cursor will be placed at the exact location it was when you last edited the file (also available in the Block-View facility, see below). Of course 4TeX allows you to use any editor you prefer. Under Windows 95/NT one can use 32-bits windows editors (e.g. PFE, notepad etc.).

2.3.4 Block-View: quick partial compilation 

One of the most often heard objections to TeX is that it is not a so-called wysiwyg system. On the other hand, TeX users often reply that the acronym wysiwyg is misleading: it should be wysiayg (What You See Is All You Get). We do not wish to solve this problem. Instead, 4TeX offers a feature that we think both sides may like.

Imagine that you have just typed a very complicated formula. The natural way to check whether you did not make a mistake is to see what it looks like. Or maybe you are just curious. However, to see this single formula you would have to leave the editor, compile the entire document, start the previewer, and find the formula. Then you need to return to the editor, and find the exact position where you left it. If you made a mistake, you have to do this all over again.

In 4TeX this whole procedure can be performed by the touch of a few keys. Even better, only the preamble of your document and the formula are compiled, which makes it as fast as possible. To view a certain part of a document, mark it as a block in the editor and press the `view-block' key. Alternatively, if you want to view an entire file, just press the `view-file' key. If you are making slides, it makes sense to view a complete slide at a time. Therefore, in this case 4TeX automatically defines the before-mentioned block to be the current slide. If TeX finds an error in the block, the user has the option to be returned to the editor at the line that contains the mistake.

2.3.5 Spell-checking 

In 4TeX we use amSpell, a public domain program by A. Merckens, to check and correct spelling in TeX documents. amSpell is basically a spell-checker for plain ascii files, with some special features for dealing with TeX files.

The basic idea behind this program is to make spell-checking easier by

amSpell does not require TeX commands to be removed from your document (deTeXing). In fact, it will even interpret the standard accenting commands such as \", \`, \' and will automatically use them while replacing misspelled words. When checking a TeX file, amSpell will ignore all text between $'s and $$'s. Furthermore, amSpell will ignore parameters of the LaTeX commands \ref, \pageref, \cite, \nocite, \label, and all text between \begin{equation}, \begin{eqnarray}, \begin{eqnarray*}, \[ and their counterparts such as \]. You can change or expand the lists by means of environment variables. You can make your own file with correctly spelled words that are absent from the dictionaries.

2.3.6 Extended graphics support 

TeX was developed with the idea that it should be possible to have a TeX implementation for every operating system (ms-dos, vms, Unix etc.). Another important feature of TeX is that documents can be freely exchanged between operating systems (because documents are written in standard ascii). Graphics, however, are machine-dependent and the possibility to include graphics in TeX or LaTeX depends on the operating system and the DVI-driver you are using.

The solution often adopted for the inclusion of graphics is the incorporation of PostScript pictures in the document using the \special command. The \special command is ignored/passed on by the TeX compiler but the PostScript DVI-driver will use the \special command to insert the PostScript picture at the right place and in the right size in your document. The disadvantage of this method is that you can only include PostScript pictures in your document and that you need a PostScript printer to produce output.

The emTeX DVI-drivers support a \special command to include black-and-white bitmapped pictures. Both this feature and the PostScript possibilities are used by 4TeX to incorporate pictures in TeX documents.

Graphic files come in many flavours. 4TeX allows you to view, manipulate and include the following types of picture in your TeX documents:

This is done by using the following free software software: BM2Font, HP2xx, PCLtoMSP, and Ghostscript.

4TeX automatically chooses the appropriate conversion program, depending on the type of graphic file, or (to be more precise) on the file extension. Any conversion that 4TeX performs will result in either TeX fonts (accepted by any DVI-driver) or both a PCX and EPS file (for emTeX and PostScript resp.). Furthermore, a small TeX file is produced that contains all the necessary commands to incorporate the picture in your document.

2.3.7 Printing 

Currently 4TeX supports more than 60 printer types including matrix printers, laser printers, inkjet printers and PostScript printers.

The standard Computer Modern fonts are available for most printer types. However, if any DVI-driver cannot find the required fonts, bitmaps will be generated `on the fly'. Metafont is called if the Metafont source is found, ps2pk is called if the PostScript source is found, all in one go. To accommodate PostScript users it is also possible to use Ghostscript as your previewer. This way you can see if EPS pictures are included correctly.

2.3.8 Conversions to and from. . .  

Sometimes you may want to convert files produced by other word processors to (La)TeX texts. Or you may want to use the extended ascii set for accented letters instead of the less-readable TeX equivalents.

4TeX supports a number of conversions from which we will mention but a few. WordPerfect / DisplayWrite / troff / ms-Word / pc-Write to (La)TeX, (La)TeX to ascii (deTeX), DVI to ascii, <CR><LF> to <LF>, <LF> to <CR><LF>, tib to bibTeX bibliography.

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