Best software


======= Date Modified 14 18 2009 20:18:45 =======
======= Date Modified 14 14 2009 20:14:29 =======
Sure its been asked before but....hey,ho! What is the best word processing package for preparing your Thesis ???

I've seen Endnote discussed. Is it worth getting separately or is the referencing good enough in the latest Word.
I've heard people saying don't use Word for your Thesis and instead recommend Latex or some such.
But I think the new word is much better.
Any opinions ??

I'm just starting out but I would like to start off on the right foot, as it were.
I thought it would be especially useful to get my citations from the lit. review correct from the start.

I'm doing an EngD so I will need software that can cope well with equations.

Any recommendations??


Hi Aberdeen
I have just gone through my upgrade on Friday and both examiners suggested Endnote as I had numerous errors in my reference list. I am going to get it tomorrow from my Uni. They both recommended it and said they had used it themselves for their PhDs. So, I figure, I will go with what is well known. Will let you know how I get on with it. Oh, I did pass my upgrade, it was just the comment about my referencing....!


Do you use Endnote as as add on to Word ?


Apparantly, yes. Perhaps some Endnote specialists can answer this. The two examiners said it was the easiest referencing software to use with Word etc. and this is the software my Uni supplies free for PhD students.


I've found Endnote unnecessary as Word 2007 includes a more than adequate referencing system. It works fine, so I don't see the point in using two programs when one will do the job. There are a couple of little foibles though, like if I have two authors with the same last name, it will include an initial for one of them in the in-text referencing, which I don't want. However, this is easily overcome by converting the reference to static text and removing the unwanted letter.

I don't know about engineering equations but I've used Word for my thesis and it seems OK. I didn't want to have to learn a new program.


Use Word and Endnote. But more importantly, USE A TEMPLATE. Most universities have one for preparing doctoral dissertations. If you're a Mac user, you must download "Papers" which is the most useful program I have ever used.


I'm not sure if the "best software" question is actually the correct one w.r.t. writing complex, structured content. I'd kick of rather a "best markup" discussion, since markups have compared to Word or any other WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) office applications the remarkable advantage of being software **agnostic**.

That means you can crunch such a content through any compatible system (or even a *chain* of such systems) to transform your content into something which as increased value. After this rather abstract explanation a very concrete example:

Take **reStructuredText**: It's a powerful markup easily suitable for writing content like a PhD thesis, but it is still very natural to read (in its original form). Then you run Sphinx (a document generator) and can get PDFs, HTMLs or even LaTex. Single source, but multiple target platforms! You can also translate your document into something like docbook and publish it for electronic readers.

I'd strongly suggest you to familiarize yourself with one or two such markup languages (the other one being **Markdown**). Relevant reference: (a brower based text editor with a strong focus on markup languages), (document generator) and (a markup language).