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EMT, an Interactive Facility to Create LaTeX Documents on a PC

  Johannes Hagel PS/LP

As is well known, LaTeX is a typesetting program mainly used by scientific applications using TeX as their formatting facility[1]. A special version of LaTeX has been written for IBM compatible PC's by Eberhard Mattes called EMTEX and is being used on a large number of personal computers. It is available on the CERN computer network (NICE) and is essentially compatible with the present agreed LaTeX standard[2]. Since the first versions of LaTeX were designed for use on mainframe computers, LaTeX and also EMTEX do not directly support user-friendly program environments such as those found on PC's with other text processing systems (specially under Windows and Windows95), and this despite of LaTeX being more powerful than many alternative applications.

Facing the need to directly include into a document the results of graphics output from numerical calculations and of analytic results from symbolic manipulation programs (e.g., Maple), the author decided to build a tool achieving these goals while processing the text.

Having this in mind and being a frequent user of LaTeX/EMTEX the idea was to write an interactive and user-friendly facility program for IBM PC compatibles called EMT. The EMT program is fully menu-guided and helps to create a text based on a LaTeX/EMTEX file, to translate it into a dvi file, to preview it, and to generate an equivalent PostScript file; it is possible to edit and include figures obtained by the Windows Gnuplot program[3]. In addition a compiler was written to translate fifteen new commands to standard LaTeX/EMTEX code. Amongst these commands one finds utilities to write fractions, partial and total differentials, vectors, matrices and tables, polynomials and rationals, to set up letters of correspondence; two commands provide an interface to the symbolic manipulation program Maple V[4] available on PC's.

The facility EMT has been written for DOS using Microsoft QuickBASIC V4.5[5] (a fast compiler language very capable of designing user-friendly software, available on the CERN computer network). Although EMT is an MS-DOS program, it uses links to Windows95 based applications like Gnuplot and Maple V. Evidently, it is possible to start EMT as a separate window when calling it from the Windows95 operating system, and a few copies at the same time can run independently on the same computer as usual under Windows. Users wishing to work with Gnuplot or Maple V from within EMT must be in a Windows95 session (Windows3.1 does not offer the full functionality of EMT). It is also recommended to use as a minimum a 100 MHz Pentium PC in order to run EMT with acceptable speed.

For more information on the EMT system see the User Guide[6].


Leslie Lamport, LaTeX-A Document preparation system-User's Guide and Reference manual (Second Edition). Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1994.
M. Goossens, F. Mittelbach and A. Samarin, The LaTeX Companion, Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1994.
T. Williams and C. Kelley, Gnuplot-An Interactive Plotting Program, Version 3.5, User's Guide, 1986.
B.W. Char et. al., Maple V Language Manual, Springer Verlag, 1991.
J.R. Ottensmann, QuickBASIC Quick Reference, Que Corporation, Carmel, Indiana, 1988.
J. Hagel, EMT, A facility program to create LaTeX documents on a PC PS/LP/Note 98-03, 1998.

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