[From Archive 8.9, June 1995]

From "Writing your own book" by Philip Woodward


After much thought, I chose to prepare the text using TechWriter, mainly because it copes wonderfully with equations, printing minus signs as proper minuses, not as hyphens, and spacing things in a thoroughly professional manner. I had already bought Desktop Publishing on the Archimedes by Bruce Goatly, an informative and sensible book which enabled me to appreciate for the first time the real difference between word processing and desktop publishing. Although only twelve pages of this book are devoted to EasiWriter (upon which TechWriter is based), those twelve pages were invaluable in overcoming the initial hurdles. Bruce Goatly spoke to me in my own language rather than that of the manuals.


Then, helped by a friend with an IBM-compatible PC, I discovered that characters in the range 128-159 are by no means standardized. All the characters on the keyboard are safe, as are those needed for French quotations, but not such simple essentials as inverted commas and dashes. For instance, a single inverted comma is character 144 in Acorn fonts, but 145 in Times New Roman for a PC/Deskjet combination. Taking a leaf from Goatly's book, I encoded all my single opening quotes as double primes ( " ) and all my single closing quotes as single primes ( ' ). This enables the desired text to be reconstructed by editing, apostrophes and all. Conversational dashes (en-rules) I encoded as a pair of hyphens ( -- ). All highlights were lost, as were mathematical equations, so these would have to be edited in from the printed copy.

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