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When students submit papers electronically as .docx files, I prefer to convert them to .pdf files with a single format with a nice font. This makes them easier and more pleasant to read (and cuts down on trickery with fonts sizing, kerning, line spacing, and so on). Here’s an easy way to do this: You’ll need to have rename, pandoc, and LaTeX (with xelatex) installed. Here’s the easy, three-step process:

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Here are some of the pieces of software that I regularly use. Much, but not all, of this is available freely. You should be aware that, although some of this is super-easy to use, there is a learning curve, sometimes quite steep, in places (e.g., LaTeX). Software Management Tools Homebrew. This allows you to install very useful commandline tools on Mac OS X with simple commands, such as brew install <applicationname>.

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Last year around this time, I was working on a paper and it was requested that I submit it to the professor in .docx format for easier commenting. I hadn’t really built this into my workflow at the time (always going from .org or .tex straight to .pdf), and so I decided to figure out how to do it. Now exporting to .docx isn’t really too much of a problem with Org-mode, since you can export to an LibreOffice .

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UPDATE 2: I decided to install MacTeX-2015 and figured that would be a good opportunity to test out the solution above. I’m happy to report that it worked like a charm and it made for the easiest install of MinionPro I’ve had to date. Here is the updated, correct process: If you don’t already have LCDF Typetools installed, you’ll need to do that. An easy way to do that is with homebrew: brew install lcdf-typetools.

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Like lots of philosophers, I regularly read the open-access Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. It’s great for staying on top of new books in philosophy, but sometimes I wish that it had more traditional journal-style formating (nice fonts, margins, and so on). To that end, I wrote a simple script to convert this-or-that NDPR review into a nicely formatted and properly named .pdf file. This script grabs a review from a specified URL, pops that into a .

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I am a big fan of Org-Mode. I like its pared-down syntax and general power. One problem that I was having, though, was getting my citations to show up in my exported PDFs–the export mechanism just wasn’t processing them. There is a pretty easy solution to this, though–you can use latexmk as the export process. This thread on StackExchange gives suggestions on how to do that with some earlier version(s) of Org-Mode, but it wasn’t working in my more recent version.

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I recently wanted to convert my footnotes to endnotes while using biblatex-chicago . I was surprised by how easy the process was–three simple steps:

  1. I first added \usepackage{endnotes} and then \let\footnote=\endnote to the document.
  2. Then, in the biblatex-chicago options, I added notetype=endonly to the package options: \usepackage[notes,isbn=false,backend=biber,notetype=endonly]{biblatex-chicago}. You can add whatever other options you want.
  3. Before the bibliography, I added \theendnotes. This just prints out your endnotes.

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I have recently been working to establish an entirely new workflow for my academic life–a workflow that uses free, open-source software instead of pricey, closed solutions. Part of this has been shifting away from proprietary bibliography management solutions (such as EndNote) toward applications like BibDesk. I use the Chicago Manual of Style in my work, and, since I have moved all of my word processing to LaTeX, I implement the style with biblatex-chicago and biber.

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