Notes on conversion between MS Word & LaTeX

Because of a performance problem with \\numiwinctr1 I recently went through the exercise of converting a MS Word 7 document to LaTeX, making substantial changes to it, and then converting it back to MS Word 7. It may be useful to others to describe the experience.

I chose "save as RTF" for the MSW document and then did a RTF-->LaTeX conversion via Scientific Workplace (on \\numiwinctr1). It wasn't a terrific conversion & I had to do a lot of patching. SWP has a new version available (3.0), but the description of the changes from version 2.5 doesn't hold out much hope that this conversion process is improved (see URLs TCI Software Home Page (USA) & Scientific Word Ltd. (England)).

To get back from LaTeX to MS Word and keep all the superscripts and subscripts was a main goal. The equations and tables I was willing to patch up, since they aren't so numerous. The best combination I found was "tex2html" on TeX2HTML (they offer a 21 day trial service), followed by MS Word 97. "tex2html" is the same as "tthgold", which is mentioned on URL tth. Tthgold is the commercial version of "tth".

The "thread" I pulled on to traverse the Web on this subject was Converters between LaTeX and PC Textprocessors - Overview. This I found by perusing the newsgroup "comp.text.tex".

I had to search for a machine here having MS Word 97 available and HTML ready (There actually exist Windows NT machines here at Fermilab which have MS Word 97 installed that doesn't recognize HTML codes, nor does it allow "save as HTML").

The Internet Assistant for Word 6 doesn't recognize the HTML3 codes for subscripts and superscripts, so that wasn't good enough. I presume that the Internet Assistant for Word 7 has the same problem.


3/10/99, U. of T. inquiry

I received the following inquiry:
A search engine directed me to your web page entitled, "Conversion--MS Word & La Tex." I work for a Professor here at the University of Texas that has a book chapter written in MS Word and the publisher wants it in LaTex with some specific style notes. I saved the file in RTF. I did not seem to be able to find a way to preview Scientific Workplace. This is a one time problem, so we would rather not buy software. I am having a difficult time finding resources on this problem -- do you have any links that you could share or advice?
I gave this person some advice and asked her to tell me what was the final result. Here was the reply:
Thanks for all of your advice! I found a web page of a consulting service that will do this for $5/page. I think that we are going to go ahead and just pay for someone to do it since this is a one-time thing for us. Here is the url in case you are interested...

Comments to: Alan Wehmann(
Last modified: Thursday, 3/11/99