[NTG-context] TeX & chemistry (was: alignment of figures)

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 20:56:53 CEST 2005

Jörg Hagmann wrote:

> I use "Chemdraw", save as .pict and finish it in Illustrator. I will
> eventually look into PPCHTEX, but at the moment struggling with
> ConTEXt is all I can do. There is a problem with my method: the
> formula saved as .pict look awful (bonds shifted, atoms not aligned
> etc.) and I have to correct everything by hand in Illustrator. I am
> sure PPCHTEX would do a better job. On the other hand, if I switch
> the formulae should look the same (bondlength, thickness, font etc.)
> as the ones I already did (and don't want to do again). I suppose
> that's feasable?

I may be wrong, but I doubt that PPCHTEX would satisfy your needs.
It's a complicated notation which is not flexible enough (I gave up
since there were quite some cases for which I wasn't able to draw what
I wanted to.) XymTeX is more powerful, but not supported by ConTeXt
(although you can still draw single formulas in LaTeX and import them
into ConTeXt as pictures) and still with very complex notation.

(I would say that all you need is a better export from Chemdraw, but
as this is a proprietary software I doubt that there are any
specifications how to write an exporting module. Please correct me if
I'm wrong. I wish I were.)

I'm playing a bit with drawing formulas in metafun, but my question
is: are there any guidelines about how a nice formula should look
like? (Yes, I have problems to decide how thick the lines have to be,
how to draw a triple or a steric bond properly, which size of letters
to use). Knuth did a marvellous job with drawing math formulae in TeX,
there are many books about typography, but I've never seen anything
about chemistry and I haven't found anyone who could answer me this


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