How to fake LaTeX in Microsoft Word 2007

Ever seen those sweet research papers with that awesome font? That’s LaTeX. If you are a die-hard LaTeX fan you can pretty much stop reading this post right now. For the rest of us, Microsoft Word 2007 is often a practical alternative when pressed for time.

I’ll be the first to admit that if you can be bothered getting your hands dirty, LaTeX makes documents look pretty damn sweet. But there are times when the fuss of setting up distros and then beating LaTeX into submission just isn’t worth it (positioning figures, anyone?). If you just need to throw a quick document together, but want people to think you’re a LaTeX pro, you can get passable results using Word 2007 with a few tweaks:

  1. First, download the Computer Modern and Latin Modern fonts. Word 2007 supports the OpenType format so get that. Don’t be disheartened by how these fonts look onscreen – some look like total arse, but let’s face it, these fonts were not designed for the screen at all. They look fine when printed or even in a PDF if you zoom in far enough. And stick with “LM Roman 12″ as it has the proper bold font, others may look strange. You can find even more fonts if you install a LaTeX distro like MikTeX and search the installation folder for *.pfm files.
  2. If you want to approximate BibTeX-style references, get the IEEE citation stylesheet for Microsoft Word 2007 and extract to
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\Bibliography\Style.
  3. Set up your heading sizes and turn on 1.2.3 section numbering. I can’t be bothered explaining how so here’s a sample word document to get you started.
  4. Make sure you use the LM fonts for all figures and diagrams for consistency. (EDIT: 9/9/13) For sexy Word equations, download the LM Math font (as kindly suggested by a commenter) otherwise use the built-in Cambria Math.

When you’ve finished your document it should look something like this PDF of the sample template linked to above.

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