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Why use LaTeX?

LaTeX happens to be a very convenient format if you need to produce documents (such as manuals, help facilities, up-to-date information) in both printed and on-line media. Being a language rather than a WYSIWYG system, it allows explicit specification of layout and document structure, lending itself well to hypertext applications and automatic document generation. Many people also prefer to use LaTeX for ordinary use since it encourages a logical document structure and the user is not distracted by having to perfect the appearance; many layout decisions are taken by LaTeX automatically.

Although LaTeX is not as fancy as modern word processors and desk-top publishing packages, it is for many purposes quite adequate, and sometimes more flexible than its modern counterparts.

The conversion utility gives LaTeX a new lease of life by allowing virtually all other wordprocessor formats to be generated from documents containing a reasonable subset of LaTeX syntax. From the same LaTeX sources, we can now generate printed manuals, Windows Help files, wxHelp files, RTF-compatible word processor formats such as MS Word, and HTML files for use in the World Wide Web. Since the conversion tool is free, as are LaTeX, HTML viewers, wxHelp and (effectively) Windows Help, there are no financial or time penalties for providing documentation in a wide range of printed and hypertext formats.