Converting “On Second Thoughts. . .”: Changes of Mind as an Indication of Competing Knowledge Structures
A paper recently published by a couple of my colleagues was converted from a Word .docx file to a LaTeX file. We tried a whole bunch of the more common converters, and in the end could not get a good result without considerable manual labour. I have almost come to the conclusion that it is easier to just take the text as unformatted ASCII and add the formatting by hand.
The document, published at http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4928131, looks at how questions in tests, in this case a very widely used diagnostic test from Physics, are not independent. I have talked briefly about it before.
The text does not contain any figures, but contains several tables. Tables are very rarely converted well by any of the usual tools. I tried importing into LibreOffice then saving as LaTeX, and similarly with Abiword. word2latex was similar. All got some things right, but all added enough stuff that I had to undo manually that the benefit was minor, especially because I had to fit the document into the journal’s document class (REVTeX 4.1, actually), which means that the preamble all had to be put together by hand. So once I had to sort out the preamble manually, the tables manually, and fix much of the other text manually, I almost decided I might as well just get unformatted text out of Word and mark it up manually. But in the end I used chunks of the LibreOffice converter output, cutting and pasting blocks of ‘good’ conversion in when it was sensible to do so and using manual conversion when it wasn’t.
A bit laborious.
I explored my options pretty thoroughly, converting the document in quite a few different ways, so I conclude that at this time none of the free and open conversion tools is really up to the task. I can’t speak on the proprietary ones.