Word compatible

Working in a publicly funded research institute instead of a university has many advantages. The most obvious ones are a decent funding and the lack of any teaching obligations. Disadvantages, however, also exist. In particular, we have to prepare an annual report in which we present the main activities to our advisory board, guests and third-party funding agencies.

For the past 20 years, we have prepared and produced our annual report ourselves using LaTeX. The report grew in volume until reading and correcting all contributions became finally unmanageable. We thus decided last year to focus on our most important results. Furthermore, we outsourced the layout of the report to an external media agency to be able to concentrate on the content. We then supplied the content in the form of text files enriched with LaTeX directives and graphics files in postscript format.

The first report produced in this way was indeed quite presentable and left a favorable impression on most people. This year, however, we were told that the media agency "had severe difficulties with converting LaTeX", and were "urged to produce conventional word-compatible files."

"Conventional word-compatible files". There's a whole world of ignorance in this short statement. Evidently, the agency employs people with a good sense for color and arrangement, but no idea about technical issues.

Because "converting LaTeX" is actually straightforward:

pandoc -s source.tex -o result.docx

transforms a standard LaTeX file to OOXML.

Complicated equations may not be converted successfully in this way. In this case, it is better to export to OpenDocument:

pandoc -s source.tex -o result.odt

Now just mark those equations not converted and click on the π-icon of the LibreOffice extension TexMaths. Select svg as format. Then save as docx.

Existing vector graphics is best converted to bitmaps

pdftocairo -png -r 1200 image.pdf image.png

and then imported into the "word-compatible file".

There are no "severe difficulties". That's hipster nonsense.