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:

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>.

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 .

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Download FontPro and navigate to the directory.
  3. Then run the following commands while you’re in the FontPro directory:
    • Nota bene: You will have to change the directory in line 2 for your fonts if you don’t have Adobe Reader installed or your font files are in a different location.
mkdir otf
cp /Applications/Adobe\*.otf otf
./scripts/makeall MinionPro
sudo ./scripts/install $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)  
sudo mkdir -p $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)/web2c
sudo echo Map >> $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)/web2c/updmap.cfg
sudo mktexlsr $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)
sudo updmap-sys

You can install MyriadPro and CronosPro by a similar processes. MyriadPro comes shipped with Adobe Reader and so you can just change MinionPro to MyriadPro in lines 2, 3, and 6. CronosPro doesn’t come shipped with Adobe Reader and so you’ll have to get it elsewhere.

UPDATE 1: I’ve learned that a user (cfr) at StackExchange has pointed out that steps 5-9 of my original post can be improved upon significantly. The user suggested following steps 1-4 of the original post and then replacing 5-9 with the following (using sudo before each command if necessary):

./scripts/install $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)  
mkdir -p --parents $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)/web2c
echo Map >> $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)/web2c/updmap.cfg
mktexlsr $(kpsewhich -var TEXMFLOCAL)

I’m far from an expert on these issues (as I mention below) and I got MinionPro to work by looking at some old scripts/instructions and then just trial and error. Although I haven’t tried these suggestions out myself, I’m glad that someone with more expertise and knowledge provided this information. Next time I need to install MinionPro, I’ll use the above and see if it works.


I recently reinstalled \(\rm\LaTeX{}\) (via MacTeX) on a new install of Yosemite on my desktop computer. Minion Pro is my preferred font for \(\rm\LaTeX{}\), and so I needed to install that as well. Installing Minion Pro can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, although it’s gotten much easier over the years. Here’s the process I used to install it.

For any of the steps below, if you get permissions errors with the command, rerun the command with sudo.

  1. Download FontPro from Github. This has made the process of installing fonts just insanely easier.
  2. Navigate to the extracted FontPro directory in terminal. Follow FontPro’s the directions and create the otf directory in the FontPro folder: mkdir otf
  3. Copy the Minion Pro fonts into the otf directory per FontPro’s instructions: cp /some/path/*.otf otf
    1. Minion Pro comes shipped along with Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is typically in /Applications/ so you can use the following path in your copy command: /Applications/Adobe\
    2. If your Adobe Reader is in a non-standard location or your prefer to use the Finder to copy the files, here’s how to do access the Minion Pro font: Go to your Adobe Reader app and right-click to Show Package Contents. You can then find the fonts in the following subdirectory of the Adobe Reader application: Contents/Resources/Resource/Font.
  4. Run the makeall script ./scripts/makeall MinionPro
  5. Find your texmf folder if the default directory (/usr/local/share/texmf) doesn’t work. I ended using the texmf-dist directory here: /usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-dist. I’m sure that you could probably also use a texmf-local folder if you wanted.
  6. Run the install script with your texmf folder. For example, using the folder in step 4: ./scripts/install /usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-dist.
  7. Run sudo mktexlsr.
  8. Map the font.
    1. There are at least three options here:
      1. Local: updmap --enable
      2. System: updmap-sys --enable
      3. System with MixedMap: updmap-sys --enable MixedMap
    2. I ended up having to use to use sudo updmap-sys --enable MixedMap for this step. It’s the only thing that ended up solving some “font scaling” errors that I was getting.
  9. Rerun sudo mktexlsr. This might not be necessary but I did it for good measure.

This allowed me to successfully use Minion Pro (\usepackage{MinionPro}). I’m far from an expert on these matters but that’s what worked for me.

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 .

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.

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.

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.