Follow-up to post about LaTeX, etc.

Yesterday, I provided a rough outline of the steps for installing Emacs + AUCTeX in Windows 7.

Upon further reflection, I realized a few things about the process. First, most of the documentation for these tools is outdated and/or poorly written (at least for recent versions of Windows). Second, it’s way easier to install this stuff than the documentation would lead you to believe. Third, using the software itself is also way easier than the documentation would lead you to believe or than you might think yourself.

Specific examples?

Installing Emacs in Windows 7 is a three step process: Download file. Unzip file into preferred directory (e.g., C:\Program Files\emacs\). Set the HOME property to point to %USERPROFILE%.

Installing AUCTeX? Download file. Unzip file into the Emacs directory (above). However, if you read the AUCTeX manual, you’d think this was a 30 step process.

Everything seems to work ok. AUCTeX loads when a .tex file is being edited, and works. This setup even comes with a spell checker already installed, even though some of the [outdated] online documentation would lead you to believe that you have to install one separately. Perhaps its broken in a way I’m too n00bish to recognize, but so far, so good.

I went through the Emacs tutorial and the first 2 of these tutorials, and everything seemed pretty straightforward. These ref cards for AUCTeX and Emacs seem to have all the essentials. It’s just a matter of learning different keyboard shortcuts than the ones I’ve been using in Notepad2 or Word.

On the other hand, there’s this mystery .emacs file that is supposed to be where I put my personalized settings for using Emacs. I see an .emacs folder, but not a file. So, that’s a mystery to me, but I’m sure I can figure it out. So that’s the next step: Customize my environment, export my existing bibliography files to a .bib file, and see if I can create a custom formatting .bst, or whatever it’s called.

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