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 .
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.