• 1 reply
  • Latest Post - ‏2003-03-22T04:28:17Z by SystemAdmin
29 Posts

Pinned topic reStructuredText and M$ Word

‏2003-03-19T14:58:02Z |
Hi, this is a dumb question by an absolute non-specialist. I would nevertheless appreciate an answer.

I am quite stressed out when M$ Word tries to "force" certain paragraph formatting on me. I would much rather write in plain ASCII using ReST and tell M$ Word at the end to transform it all into an appropriately styled document, perhaps using a Macro or a converter programme. It should assign the necessary format (like "indented paragraph", "First Heading" etc.) so that I can finetune the styles using M$ Word's format styles.

Alternatively I suppose a conversion from ReST to XML would do the job, provided M$ Word were able to import XML. Or maybe conversion to RTF.

Is there hope of someone programming such a conversion utility for the M$ Windows environment?

What do I need to perfom this task in Linux today, if possible?

Thank you very much indeed for any kind of answer.

Updated on 2003-03-22T04:28:17Z at 2003-03-22T04:28:17Z by SystemAdmin
  • SystemAdmin
    29 Posts

    Re: reStructuredText and M$ Word

    MS-Word is quite uncooperative with other document formats, neither importing nor exporting in any particularly useful way. For more reasons than I could list here, I believe the best thing is simply to avoid MS Word anywhere in the production process.

    reST--or more specifically, the Docutils package--provides a number of output formats. For example, you can write a document as reST, then transform it to HTML, DocBook, other XML, or LaTeX. All of those formats in turn, provide techniques for imposing stylesheets on the rendering of elements. For HTML, CSS2 is a good choice. For XML (DocBookX or otherwise), you can use CSS for browser rendering, or XSLT for general transformations. If you choose DocBook as an intermediary, you have a number of tools to choose from in producing final output, for example to PDF, or printed using FO instructions.

    Just as some examples, all my dW articles, as well as my forthcoming book for Addison Wesley, were written in a reST-like text formats. I did not use reST per se, not because of a problem with the format, but simply because I developed my own tools before reST existed... and I've found it easy to remain consistent. But using reST would be fine, and I've contemplated converting everything. From my "smart ASCII" format, I produce XML for IBM, and camera-ready PDF for AW (via intermediate LaTeX). Developing the exact right output was not effortless, but I saved enough hair-pulling wrestling with MS-Word (or other word processors) to be well worth it.

    David Mertz