News: TUG membership in 2017

The rates for electronic membership (TUGboat and TeX software online, no paper/DVD) decreased: it’s now $15 for students, seniors and TeX friends from countries with modest economies, and $45 for regular (electronic) membership, both early bird until March 31, 2017.

By joining now, you can directly be part of and support the TUG TeX activities. You know,

  • Maintaining and developing the TeX Live distribution, that is also the base of MacTeX
  • Yearly international TeX conferences
  • The TUGboat journal
  • Supporting projects, such as LaTeX3, CTAN, LuaTeX and MetaPost and font creation

What do you think? Like to comment here, or on my blog post?

It’s all up to us:

Posted in TUG

Exporting from LyX to MS Word and LibreOffice

Julien Dutand has written a tutorial about how to export from LyX to MS Word Office XML format (.docx) and LibreOffice OpenDocument (.odt) with bibliography, almost out of the box. It requires a rather new version of LyX (2.1 and above) and the pandoc document converter. The article provides detailed installation instructions, and troubleshooting steps. Once it’s set up, it’s just clicking to Export in the main menu. Very handy!

Another part of the article deals with encoding and gives advice for exporting documents with bibliographies, and explains using bibliography styles with citation style language (CSL) format.

Here is the article: LyX Tutorial: export .docx or .odt with bibliography.

TeX on-line documentation

On PCs, tablets and smart-phones you can easily access TeX manuals and documentation via a web site:

What does it provide?

  • Keyword search with auto-completion as you type, listing all matches
  • OpenSearch for browsers with a search engine toolbar
  • Documentation sorted in categories by topic
  • Accessing TeX documentation even without having TeX installed
  • Reading TeX documentation on any PDF capable device with a web browser, such as a smart-phone.
  • Newest documentation even if your PC has an older TeX version
  • Reading a package manual before installing it
  • Easy-to-remember standardized link syntax<packagename>
  • Forums, such as and have buttons and BBCode tags for linking keywords (package names) to the corresponding documentation

Recently it got an update: read more.

Event tip: TeX Users Group meeting 2016 Toronto

Early bird registration discount ends soon!

The TeX Users Group meeting 2016 will be in Toronto, July 25-27. There will be presentations about typesetting, fonts, tools, and more.

tuglogoUntil May 15 there’s a registration discount. That’s tomorrow! So there’s still the chance to register for less than the full price. In case you might miss it: I read in the fine print, that rates will increase after May 23, so there might be some further time to get that rate.

For students, no matter if member or not, there’s a significant discount: $100 instead of $350 (non student members). That’s an incredible offer, since the registration includes lunch on each day as well as morning and afternoon coffee breaks (breakfest usually included in the hotel fee).

Look at the program to see a list of presentation topics as of today. There you also can see how many people already registered from a lot of countries. You can find me there too, I plan to talk about TeX in industry.

Meet people from our TeX Users Group, that made TeX big, that provides the TeX Live software and ensures worldwide support!

Programming network switches and routers using TeX

I’m a network engineer, and a part of my job is configuring switches, routers and firewalls. I usually work with projects that have some thousands switches each: some core switches, server switches, many distribution switches, and a large amount of small access switches for users. I mainly make networks for cruise ships – just imagine a cruise ship with about 3000 passengers and 1000 crew: each cabin gets network access for IP-TV, IP telephone, air condition, programmable door lock, computer port. Not to forget let’s say 1000 WiFi access points, 300 CCTV cameras, cash machines, vending machines, office computers everywhere, even in the Spa, IP clocks, engine and nautical workstations, broadcast center and of cause redundant data centers with racks full of servers. For security reasons, there are hundreds of VLANs (virtual networks) in several (virtual) security domains.

How to configure and to manage all of this?

Let’s take a look at configurations:

Continue reading

Crossing lines

Sometimes it’s not possible in diagrams or charts, that a line goes over another one. To not let this crossing look like a real connection of the two lines, we can let the top line go over a gap in the bottom line. It would require to calculate the intersection of the lines.

However, there’s an easy way: draw the firsts line normally, then draw the top line with a bit whitespace around. Or the top line first thicker and white (or background color), then again thin and black (foreground color).

The probably easiest way in TikZ is: draw a “double” line (TikZ manual, 15.3.4 Graphic Parameters: Double Lines and Bordered Lines). Originally, it gives two parallel lines with space in-between filled by a color. But we want to get a single line. Solution: a double line in white, the gap between them filled in black. This results in a black line with white space around.

Many words, short and simple code example:

This way, double distance is the width of the actual black line, while line width stands for the white space on each side.

Use it such as:

It can look like:




Flipping images

When I defined an image as a TikZ node, I easily create and use a flipped version: I define a mirror style that does a reflection for me:

As my original style was defined this way

I simply override the image style by adding the mirror style:

This way I can get a diagram with a focus to its center:


Images as TikZ nodes

In diagrams, I need to include images, such as symbolic icons or photos of actual hardware. I defined a generic TikZ style with two arguments: the name of the image, and the desired width. The height comes automatically with the same aspect ratio.

For the final node style, I apply this style plus adjustments such as actual node width and x or y separation:

All style definitions above go into a \tikzset command, separated by comma, plus many more global styles I need:

This way I get photos with annotations for larger physical diagrams:


Event tip: DANTE TeX meeting

Next week, the university of Wuppertal will host a meeting of the German language TeX user group DANTE. A great opportunity for meeting TeX friends! Of course, also non-members are very welcome.

The program includes several talks about LaTeX in and for schools. Unknown features of CTAN will be presented, and we will see demonstrations of practical tasks, such as: converting a CEWE phot book to PDF using LaTeX, writing job aplications, and typesetting exams.

For detailed information about registering, travel, program and accomodation, see: