November 2021

Christopher Mabb From: Dr Christopher Mabb, Scientific Word Ltd.
To: Our Scientific Word/WorkPlace/Notebook Technical Typesetting list


    Here is our latest news, tips and technical support information to help you get the most from Scientific Word/WorkPlace/Notebook, whether you're running version 5.5 or version 6.x (meaning either v6.0 or v6.1).
    We have recently updated the installation instructions for both v5.5 and v6.x, giving links to screenshots of the Registration/Activation process. As always, the latest version of the programs is available on our download page.


  1. PDF plugin:    There is a setting in Scientific Word/WorkPlace v6.x at Tools – Preferences – TeX Typesetting – Expert which allows you to choose how to open the PDF files that Scientific Word/WorkPlace produces and puts in \SWDocs or \SWPDocs when you click on PDF preview. The setting chooses either to use "the default program" – this is what most people select – or to use the "current PDF plugin".

    No issue arises if you choose to use the default program to display your PDFs (typically this means to open the PDF in Acrobat); but we've noticed an issue on some machines if you choose to use the PDF plugin:

    We haven't got to the bottom of it, but it seems the problem arises when the machine has multiple disk drives; this results in the temporary PDF in C:\Users\Christopher\AppData\Local\Temp\SWP being written to D:\Documents\SWPDocs; whereas on a machine with a single disk drive it is written to C:\Users\Christopher\Documents\SWPDocs.
    This is not an issue for many people in practice, as most users don't change this setting and have left Scientific Word/WorkPlace using the default Acrobat Reader.

  2. OneDrive:    We have seen a few instances recently of unpredictable behaviour in Scientific Word/WorkPlace v6.x related to users saving their documents in a folder being synced with OneDrive (or Google drive, Dropbox etc).
    This problem is fairly easy to remedy by turning off syncing, or saving your documents to an unsynced folder. You can set the folder to use for version 6.x documents from Tools – Preferences – General – General – Default directory for documents.

    Note that this item relates to our November 2018 mailing Item 2 about Dropbox.

  3. Keyboard shortcuts (v6.x):    Someone newly joining us and taking up the 12-months' complimentary support offered in our August 2021 mailing Item 1(2) Emailed to say:
    I simply cannot find out what the keyboard shortcuts for my installation of Scientific Word are (Scientific word v6, running on MacOS Mojave (v10.14.6)). My collaborator had mentioned to me that ctrl+f creates a fraction; however, this doesn't work for me. In fact none of his shortcuts work on my computer, which is disappointing because I was looking forward to fast typesetting of latex documents. Could you please point me toward any documentation that may contain a key to all the shortcuts?
    In our reply we said:
    Commands using the Ctrl key on Windows are almost all replaced by the equivalent command using the Cmd key on a Mac. So a fraction is Ctrl-/ on Windows, or Cmd-/ on a Mac. Ctrl-F is for Find (in common with other Windows programs) in Scientific Word v6.0; if your colleague said Ctrl-F gives a fraction then s/he must be using Scientific Word/WorkPlace v5.5 on Windows; version 6.0 was a complete re-writing of the code.

    For further information please see:
    1. Our v6.0 Fact Sheet
    2. The v6.0 Creating Documents manual Appendix A on pp105–107

    It will probably help to watch the Scientific Word video or any of the videos on our Demo videos page.
    Hopefully this will help other users of Scientific Word v6.x, whether on Mac or Windows, more widely around the world.

  4. Licensing SWP v5.5:    One of our sites was having problems licensing a user's Scientific WorkPlace v5.5 on a new laptop:
    ...we have tried to install [SWP5.5] on his new laptop using the same Serial Number he has for his license.
    We are getting a license error and can only use Viewer. Can you please send us a .lic file for this installation.
    In requesting the 8-character computer ID from them (available in Scientific WorkPlace v5.5 from Help – System Features) so that we could generate a licence file for them, we offered the following pointers:
    What might have caused the problem? Possibly:

    1. Did you copy-and-paste the serial number when you installed, rather than type it (Step 3 of the v5.5 Installation Instructions)?
    2. Did you try to enter a dictionary serial number when registering (February 2014 mailing Item 2)?
    3. Did you copy across the licence file from the previous computer? The licensing is machine-specific, so each machine needs Registering itself.
    On this occasion our suggestions didn't immediately resolve the issue, and we generated the licence as part of the Premier Technical Support we provide for our Annual Maintenance sites.

  5. Subdocuments:    A professor in Mexico who had already achieved a high level of competence in Scientific WorkPlace v5.5 from our downloadable Training videos Emailed to ask us a question that didn't make it to the list of topics we covered in the Course:
    I have been using SWP to teach my classes during lockdown and it has helped me a lot, I have written down a set of documents in standard latex article and I was wondering if there is a nice way to put them all together in a master document to have all my notes in one file, do you know of any way to do this?
    We replied:
    Master documents and subdocuments are covered in the online Help: in Scientific WorkPlace click on Help – Search – subdocuments – subdocuments – creating a master document / creating a subdocument.

    We have created an example for you, supposing that you already had two Scientific WorkPlace documents FirstDocument and SecondDocument.
    1. Keep all your documents in the same folder (eg. c:\swp55\test\ )
    2. Start a new master document: eg. File – New – Standard LaTeX – Blank Standard LaTeX Article (see MasterDocument). Save it in c:\swp55\test\
    3. Within this master document, click on Insert – Typeset Object – Subdocument and type the name for a subdocument (eg. Subdocument1). This creates Subdocument1.tex in the same folder. The grey TeXField saying [Include Subdocument1] appears in the master document
    4. Do the same to Insert a subdocument called Subdocument2. Save the master document
    5. Open the document Subdocument1.tex from File – Open; the document is blank. Use File – Import Contents to bring in the contents of FirstDocument. Save Subdocument1.tex
    6. Do the same with Subdocument2.tex to bring in the contents of SecondDocument. Save Subdocument2.tex
    7. You can now compile MasterDocument, and it will include the text of the subdocuments Subdocument1 and Subdocument2. See the PDF here.
    You now have a master document which includes the two subdocuments Subdocument1 and Subdocument2 containing the text of the documents you started with (FirstDocument and SecondDocument). You can include as many subdocuments as you wish in your master document.

    If you want your master document to format as a book, create your master document using File – New – Standard LaTeX – Standard LaTeX Book.
    For the equivalent version 6.0 topic, please see our February 2017 mailing Item 4.

  6. Individual Annual Maintenance...    was introduced in our May 2021 mailing so that our customers (who were already benefitting from complimentary Tech Support for v6.x) had a route to access Tech Support for v5.5. Then with MacKichan Software’s closure at the end of June 2021 we extended the Individual Annual Maintenance scheme to include registered users anywhere around the world so as to provide them with the security of Tech Support for both v5.5 and v6.x, as detailed in our August 2021 mailing Item 1(3).

    Our May 2021 mailing Item 6 describes it like this:

    To avoid confusing the two (Annual Maintenance and Consultancy Time), there's a 30-day lead time before your 12-month Annual Maintenance cover is active.

    You buy car insurance (Annual Maintenance) for peace of mind, hoping it will turn out to be a waste of money because you hope never to crash the car (require Tech Support); guidance as to the maximum limits of regular Technical Support is found in our Fair Use policy. If someone knows that they will be crashing the car – and they want to have experts continually working on their car (document) with them when they do – well, we offer that option too! That's our Support Contract [or our 5-hour Support Package].

  7. Menu font size:    A v5.5 user in America Emailed to say:
    The drop down menus in Scientific Word are being presented with a very small font that is nearly unreadable on a high-resolution screen. Do you know how to control the size of these fonts?
    We pointed out that:
    The menu fonts are hard-wired into Scientific Word, and so will be smaller at high resolution. How high resolution are you using? The menus are fine at my standard 1024x1280...
    To change the screen resolution, right-click on the Desktop and click on Display settings – Display resolution. Users with very high resolution screens (and correspondingly small menu fonts) might be interested in this comparison of:

    By careful adjustment of these two parameters (screen resolution and View setting) you can have both the text font size and the menu font size you want.

    We hoped that a different approach might have allowed just Scientific Word/WorkPlace to run at the lower screen resolution (so as to increase the menu font size) without affecting other programs. We initially suggested to the user that:
    You may get some joy from using Windows 10 to change the screen setting for Scientific Word to a lower resolution. To do this, right-click on the Scientific Word v5.5 desktop icon, and select Properties – Compatibility. Try checking “Run in 640x480 screen resolution” to see if this makes a difference. If so, try changing the settings at Properties – Compatibility – Change high DPI settings.
    But despite spending some time on it ourselves, we didn't get it to work.
    Note: We strongly recommend you ensure System Restore is set up on your computer before changing any settings like this just in case!

  8. PreviewPDF problem:    We recently found that Typeset – Preview PDF stopped working for Scientific Word/WorkPlace v5.5 on one of our own machines, presumably as a result of the Windows 10 update to version 21H1 changing the address of the Acrobat Reader. To resolve the problem we followed the instructions in our November 2010 mailing Item 3 to change Typeset – Expert Settings – PDF Preview Settings – Add/Modify – Executable filename to
            C:/Program Files/Adobe/Acrobat DC/Acrobat/Acrobat.exe.

    But how did we know that was the correct filename? On another of our machines it is
            C:/Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Reader 11.0/Reader/AcroRd32.exe.
    And on a third machine:
            C:/Program Files (x86)/Adobe/Acrobat Reader DC/Reader/AcroRd32.exe.

    Here's how... You can find the address and filename of your Acrobat program from the following steps:

    1. Read the name of the program (on the top line) that opens up when you double-click a PDF file. For example, it might be Adobe Acrobat Reader DC; or Adobe Reader
    2. Look for that program in the alphabetical list of programs on the Start menu
    3. Right-click on it and select More – Open file location. This takes you to the program shortcut in a folder like C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    4. Right-click on the program shortcut, select Properties and go to the Shortcut tab
    5. Read the address of the .exe file from the Target box. This is the address to enter into the Scientific Word/WorkPlace dialog box, using forward slash / rather than backward slash \ in the folders hierarchy.

    As a last resort, you can always reinstall Scientific Word/WorkPlace. This will allow Scientific Word/WorkPlace to locate the Acrobat Reader for itself and make the necessary connections.

  9. A free lunch?    One of our Site Licence Administrators Emailed to say:
    I had a member of staff asking:
    “MacKichan software has gone out of business.
    There is a free version 6.1 of Scientific Words available.
    Is that correct? Do you know what this is about?
    We replied:
    Yes, this is what we announced in our June 2021 mailing Item 2:
    “… in a parting gift to the academic community, the code for the new v6.1 of the original program Scientific Word (only) will eventually become open source”
    There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so it’s worth considering what’s not included in the free version. It doesn’t include:
    1. Scientific WorkPlace (any version)
    2. Scientific Word on a Mac
    3. Scientific Word v5.5
    4. Our Unbeatable Expert Tech Support *
    5. …and you’ve got to be pretty proficient to install your own TeX system to work with it.
    * But lest you think we're giving away the ranch, note that our Technical expertise is always available as Consultancy time at £500/hour + VAT, with an introductory offer to £165 + VAT for the first hour.


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Christopher Mabb, Scientific Word Ltd., UK
Tel: +44 (0)345 766 0340; Fax: +44 (0)345 603 9443