I find working with SWP 6.0.26 a huge improvement over previous releases of SWP 6 and can now use it for serious work without an excessive amount of hassle. Sure, I still get program crashes, the dreaded “invalid markup” message, and expanding brackets not expanding as they should but these have not caused me serious problems. With crashes, the frequent automatic saves typically stop me losing much work. With invalid markups, “Undo” typically gets me back to where I was beforehand. And with non-expanding brackets, highlighting them, enclosing them within another set of brackets and deleting the original brackets seems to give me the expanding brackets I expect. (I haven’t been able to isolate precisely when these problems occur – when I go back and do exactly what I thought I did the previous time, the problems very often do not occur again – but I will report my findings when I do.)
So now seems a good time to comment on what the next steps I would like to see in SWP 6 are. I divide these into two categories: (1) things I ought to be able to do but have found no way of doing; and (2) things that ought to work but for which I have found workarounds.
1. Things I ought to be able to do but have found no way of doing
1.1 Vertical lines of 0 width. If I insert a vertical line of 0 width (to, for example, match the sizes of opening and closing brackets on different lines in a displayed equation), I have been unable to find any way, even with Invisibles showing, to reveal on screen where that line is if I want to alter its height. (If I can locate it, using Properties > Line Properties allows me to change its height but that can be hard to do when you can’t see any indication of where it is.) Fixing this is a high priority for me.
1.2 Matrix entry alignment. Scientific WorkPlace Help states under “matrix”:
“To change the alignment of entries: 1. Select the matrix using the mouse or, starting with the insert point at the left of the matrix, press Shift+right arrow. 2. Choose Edit > Properties and make appropriate choices from the dialog box that appears.” However, when I select a matrix, choosing Edit > Properties does not bring up a dialog box relating to the matrix. Moreover, placing the insert point within the matrix, right-clicking and clicking on Properties in the menu that appears does not bring up any property options at all.
Fixing this should be a high priority – it is important for writing mathematics. Moreover, when I imported a SWP 5.5 document with matrix columns aligned left (rather than centered, as in SWP 6), this appeared aligned left correctly in SWP 6, both on-screen and in PDF. So it seems that SWP 6 does actually have the underlying capacity to support matrix alignment – it’s just that there seems no way to enter the correct code from the graphical interface. So fixing the problem should be just a matter of ensuring that selecting a matrix and choosing Edit > Properties brings up an appropriate dialog box.
1.3 Find and replace. This is very unreliable. It does not pick up some instances of what I think it should, replacing what it finds with something valid sometimes results in “invalid markup”, and it does not always discriminate correctly between math and text. The attached file illustrates some of these.
1.4 BibTeX citations. When entering a citation, the BibTeX citation dialog box gives me the option to choose to “Bibliography entry only – No citation” but not to choose the various forms of citation that are available, for example citet. This was missing in SWP 5.5 too, so adding it would give people an incentive to switch.
2. Things that ought to work but for which I have workarounds
2.1 Inserting brackets in text mode. As I reported previously in relation to SWP 6.0.21, using Insert/Math Objects/Brackets does nothing when in text mode (that is, unless already in math mode). I would expect it to convert to math as when use Insert/Math Objects/Operator. The same applies when clicking on the Generalized brackets icon. In contrast, the Parentheses and Square brackets icons insert the corresponding brackets even when in text mode.
2.2 Copying a display. When I copy a display with a label and paste it elsewhere in the same document, the label also gets pasted, which results in two displays in the document having the same label. SWP 5.5 added (something like) Copy 1 to the pasted label which avoided that. I prefer the SWP 5.5 behavior.
2.3 Function keys. F11 does not work on my Mac as stated under Tag > Function keys. Specifically, pressing fn+F11 switches the window to the Desktop and does not insert a new section.
2.4 Changed document. The program doesn’t recognize a document as changed if only the preamble is changed. (Save is grayed out.)
2.5 Speed. The program is much slower than SWP 5.5 at transferring keyboard entries to screen – even at my typing speed, I have to wait frustratingly long for the program to catch up. Anything that can be done to speed this up would be a worthwhile bonus.