mostly math

pviton's picture

SWP 6.0.17 on MS Win

Set Alignment

Set Alignment (on the edit menu) seems to
have no visual effect on a displayed set of
equations (equation array). In SWP55, the alignment
is made visually correct on screen. However, the SWP6
typeset output can be correct, though the fact that
the on-screen appearance doesn't change means
that you're experimenting in the dark.

Minor Display Issue

The text of a Definition appears in an upright
font in the editor; the text of a Theorem is in
italics. When typeset both environments are in
italics (Std Latex Article). Maybe you should
change the way Definitions appear, to match the
typeset appearance? (I don't know if other
theorem-like environments have similar issues;
of course it's pretty minor).

Comment on math Help

In the help file, the TOC is very broad: for
example, "Entering and Editing Mathematics".
In fact, this topic contains lots of
sub-topics (sub-sections). It is a pain to
have to scroll through the entire section in order
to try and find the thing you're looking
for Help on. I think it would be useful
to show the sub-topics as well (at least one
more section level). Presumably this should
be very easy to achieve.

Entering Theorems etc

The Help tells you to select the appropriate
Theorem object from the Structure Tags. Then
"(3) Type the statement of the theorem and
press Enter". This isn't quite right. When you
press Enter, you're still in the theorem environment.
You need to press Enter *again* to get back into
plain Body Text mode. You can in fact see this
if you pay attention to the Status Bar: I think
the Help (and the manuals) ought to give the Status
Bar and its uses more prominence than they do.

Line breaks in inline math

I was a bit surprised to find that when I entered
P(X) near the end of a line, the line got broken after
the "(". This does not display the "math intelligence"
that one would like to see; and as far as I can remember,
it never happened in SWP55. (It was sufficiently
jarring that I'm sure I would have remembered it
if it had).

Fractions in Math Displays

It's quite common for the denominator of a
fraction to be some variant of what's in the
numerator. So it makes sense to type the numerator,
and then copy-and-paste it into the denominator
for further editing.

I have never been able to do this. What I get
when I paste is the entire fraction. Can copying a
part of a fraction be done? In SWP55 it is
completely straightforward.

Copying Display lines

Suppose you have a 2-line displayed set of
equations (an equation array). It seems impossible
to copy (say) just line 1 of the display to be pasted
into another display. If you select the first line
with the mouse and then do Ctrl+C for copy, you
seem to get the entire display. (In fact you get
it as a display, so when you paste you get a severely
nested display, which I take it is almost never what you
want). In SWP55 this is completely straightforward to do.

Subscripts and Fractions in Displays

I find it impossible to close out a parenthesis
after a 2-level subscript in a fraction.

Try the following: start a display, enter a
fraction template (Ctrl+/). In the numerator type
P(X and put an "N" subscript on the X and an "i" subscript
on the "N". At this point you want to exit subscripting
to close the parens. I can't do this. If after
the subscripted "i" I press the right arrow,
I find that the ")" is placed after the fraction.
(I think this may also happen with a 1-level subscript,
but I was working with two). Again, is there some
way to do this? The only solution I've found is to
type P() and then go back and insert the
material inside the parenthesis. But this is
an unintuitive way to enter math.
In SWP55 I never had this difficulty.


The preceding arose while I was attempting
to use SWP6 to write myself some notes on a
proof of the Hammersley-Clifford Theorem
in statistics. I have to say that in trying to
enter and work with somewhat complicated
display math expressions, I constantly had
the feeling of fighting the system to get
what I wanted. (This was not so in inline math or
in text). I eventually exported the SWP6 work into
SWP55 where, though allowance must be made for my greater
experience with SWP55, I made more progress in 15
minutes than I had in an hour with SWP6. I don't
believe that familiarity is the whole story: some
things just work much better in SWP55.

The inability --- if that's what it is --- to copy
lines from equation arrays and fractions is an especially
serious impediment to productivity. You should not
have to re-type lines each time you want to re-use
them: that's the whole point of having a word-processor.
If you can't solve this problem via selection-by-mouse
then I think you need to address it via a context menu item.

Perhaps there are ways to do the things I had problems
with in SWP6, ways that might not be obvious to
an SWP55 user. If so, I'd certainly like to know
about them. And I suspect that others would too.

jm's picture

I echo pretty much everything

I echo pretty much everything here. Most importantly, despite having used SWP 6 quite a lot now for writing, it still takes me far longer to do anything in a display than with 5.5. My highest priority of the issues mentioned in this post is to sort out the copying and pasting issues that are mentioned - I have ended up re-typing lots of complicated expressions in displays because copying and pasting rarely gives me what I want.

The other major problems I have with editing displays are:

1. Frequently when I delete characters, I get the dreaded "invalid markup" message. The obvious way to handle that is to use Undo. But in a display, Undo seems just to remove all the contents of the display and the only way I have found of getting it back is to close the document without saving it and re-open it, which is very slow.

2. Also when I edit displays, SWP not infrequently crashes and I have to re-open it. This is slow and, although, one can access the unsaved document again, it is often not saved at a useful point. So the only effective way I have of working is to frequently use PDF Preview to see that the content corresponds to what I want and then save the document.

On the positive side, there is an easy solution to the issue mentioned under "Subscripts and Fractions in Displays". If you hit the spacebar after the "i" subscript, the cursor moves back to the level of the "N" subscript. Hit the spacebar again and the cursor moves back to the main line without leaving the numerator, so you can type the ")". But I think I learnt that only from some comment on this forum - certainly not from Help where I find it very difficult to locate useful information.