Free Typesetting Software for the Professional
Document Preparation
Writing Scientific Literature, Word Processing, Creation of Books, graphic Desktop-Publishing, Web-PDF-Documents, and E-Book-Typesetting
Specialists ensure optimal End Products

Typesetting programs offer very extensive design possibilities whose effective usage requires a longer familiarization period. Hereby, long-term stable free software is advantageous as changes to operating- and functional concepts arise within the scope of a natural development, in contrast to proprietary software, where a continious new purchase of products and operation manuals is often enforced artificially. (Operating System)Platform independence as well as the ability to operate with a really open document format suited for archiving, are further central criteria, especially for the use within heterogeneous computer networks of companies and within the administrative sector. High quality typesetting is even possible with old and very old computers, thanks to specialized free lightweight operating systems and software.

This overview presents you basic document types and common free typesetting systems. Com­pre­hen­sive link lists lead to further, also powerful free software alternatives. All screenshoots were taken under Ubun­tu GNU/​Li­nux 16.04 LTS. Naturally, the color schemes of the program windows and menus are freely selectable.

Keep up your readers informed on news around your article respective book, with RSS-news-tickers.

Table of Contents

Source and license:

The choice of the suited typesetting program depends on your wanted end prod­uct. Would you like to create primarily letters, articles and forms? Do you intend, to write articles, a classic book or a textbook, as well as scientific documents? Or are graphically emphasized typesetting documents in your main focus, like, for example, richly illustrated magazines, pictorials, calendars, posters, greeting cards and postcards?

Today's typesetting programs are incredibly efficient, productive, and universally usable. With a word processor, you can create and realize letters, articles (including typesetting of formulas), forms, tables, leaflets, posters, postcards, newspapers and even huge book proj­ects. Many authors write and typeset their books with a classic word processor, and the end products have an appealing professional quality. Besides fillable, interactive PDF-documents, one even can create simply designed, illustrated websites (HTML-documents), for the upload on web servers, via ((S)FTP); and even an illustrated single written document, exported to PDF, can have the functionality of an extensive website, if it is richly equipped with internal and external hyperlinks; then, the websites open separately in a browser program, in “tabs”. Optionally, you also can create your texts with your prefered word processor or with a text editor, and then input them into an other typesetting sytem, e.g. in Scribus; today, text-import and -export functions are standard functions.

Sometimes, due to its huge range of functions, the word processor is denoted as super typewriter, whereas specialized typesetting systems focus on certain document types; they have additional possibilities of typesetting-design-refinements which usually remain withhold to the word processor.

The familiarization with the basic functionality of a free word processor, the most universal type­set­ting program, is a worthwile time investment which will pay off your whole life.

These software recommendations are classified in four sections, although the subdivisions as well as the denotations are selected arbitrarily, under various aspects:

References on basic terminology can be found at the end of the respective paragraph. A basic understanding of the operating principle of the Style Sheet (resp. template) is central for the professional working with typesetting systems:

1 The Creation with Style Sheets resp. with Templates

You work on a larger article or on a book, and you decided upon (type)setting the respective chapter headings, the section headings, as well as the sub section headings in a certain color, with a certain font size and with a certain font. However, right in the middle of your project or towards the end, you dismiss your initial design concept and choose an other font size and font (typeface).

Without style sheets, you would have to look up difficulty each chapter heading, each section heading, as well as every subsection heading and reformat them separately.

Style Sheets operate by a more reasonable principle: The properties (font size, typeface etc.) of each basic article- resp. book-design-element (chapter heading, section heading, subsection heading etc.) are defined in a separate file, in the style sheet. Hereby, you can draw on pre­de­fined style sheets, as well as on those which are defined by yourself.

Without style sheets you always can see directly, how the final result will look like. This working principle is also denoted as “what you see is what you mean”-​principle (WYSIWYM), it only is suited for brief letters and documents.

For example, for your section headings you have chosen a serif typeface of the size 12 pt, in black. Each time you now write a further section heading, you have to select it and format it again with the same properties. The result then looks, for instance, as follows:

Instead, if you work with style sheets, you no longer need to formate each single text element (section heading etc.), also, you no longer anymore have to make the numberings of the sections by hand. You only select the respective general design element from a menu resp. much faster and more effective: You apply the respective key combination (short cut). The principle, to select structuring elements resp. text elements in this way, is also called “what you see is what you mean”-principle, (WYSIWYM).

Schematically described, your typesetting program then reads internally the following input:

How the single dividing elements and text elements are to be formatted can be seen by your typesetting program by looking up the style sheet file. The advantage is obvious: All settings can be configured centrally over one style sheet file. The numbering of the dividing elements are done for you fully auto­mat­ic. If you delete single paragraphs, references etc., your program takes care of the renumbering and re-referencing for you. When you refer to single text sections, then you place marks before them, with self-chosen names. You do not write “see page 2.4.3 on page 57”, for the sec­tion numbering as well as the page number can change during the book creation, whereby your referencing also would lapse. Instead you write, schematically shown: “See <self chosen marker name>.” Your typesetting program then adds fully auto­mat­ic “sec­tion”, the correct section numbering, “on page” and the concretely calculated sec­tion numbering.

With WYSIWYM-systems like LyX you have a text input window, in which the single, structuring ele­ments like sections, sub sections etc. are presented clearly distinctive from each other; the us­age of different font sizes and font weights and everything else is freely adjustable in accordance with your personal preferences. However, the final output of the technical document follows only by keystroke resp. by mouse click.

A document created with LyX, together with the PDF output
A document created with LyX, together with the PDF output
(click for detailed view)

Practically every typesetting program already contains preinstalled style sheets (resp. tem­plates) which you can use and adapt to your personal design preferences; numerous fur­ther predefined ones are freely available in the Internet, including tem­plates for the creation of books. When designing websites, the text- resp. type design defining style sheets are denoted as CSS files, referring to the underlying stylesheet language CSS (cascading style sheets): The text itself with the ordering structure is written into the HTML file, the text elements definitions are located in the CSS file.

All functions of the programs presented here can be selected via graphical menus. However, for an effective working it is recommended, from the beginning, to become familiar with, at the least, a part of the related key combinations. Partly, short cuts are displayed directly in graphical menus. You also can create own key-shortcut-demands. Example queries for related lists:

The search entry LibreOffice Short­cuts inter alia leads to: “Shortcut Keys for LibreOffice Writer”, “General Shortcut Keys in LibreOffice”, to “Shortcut Keys for Spreadsheets”, “How to create your own shortcut with special keys?”, “Keyboard”, and to “Customize”.

2 Universal Word Processing with LibreOffice
Image source:
     Original image source:,

With a mighty range of functions and with a worldwide user community resp. support association, organized in the Do­cu­ment Foun­dation (WP-article), among them states and according to news (German) also In­tel, Libre­Office offers all preconditions to meet professional challenges. Even DTP-functions are possible. For details look up the “LibreOffice Writer Features

LibreOffice's user interface is available in dozens of languages and dialects, to a comparable large extent like the equally free software Abi­word (WP-article) supports languages (list of the languages supported by Abiword).

Further information on the Open Document Format and on free word processors: “Open​Docu­ment Format Alliance”, “What is Open­Do­cu­ment?”, “Open­Do­cu­ment facts”, “We Can Put an End to Word Attachments”, “Catego­ry:Free word pro­ces­sors”.

Libre­Office is subject to an ongoing maintenance, further development and function extension, usage concepts included. However, changes in software- and operating concepts take place on a natural development base; in contrast to artificially forced changes in software and in formats of some other manufacturers, for the purpose of a continious new purchase of programs and usage manuals, whereby a part of the acquired knowledge unnecessarily becomes prema­ture­ly obsolete.

Countless reader-friendly and appealingly designed books proove, that today, you also can cre­ate with word processors valuable, professional books. However, the usage of some typsetting related refinements is reserved to specialized typesetting- respective DTP-software like, e.g., LyX and Scri­bus.

Image source:,
     Original image source:,

The familiarization with LibreOffice is a worthwhile investment which, in the long run, pays itself out; a time investment which is recommended to pupils, apprentices, students, merchants, scientists, officials and people of all occupational groups and fields of interest. With its many DTP-​functions, LibreOffice is also for book authors a powerful instrument for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of their works.

Inform yourself on further free alternatives, e.g. on the Office Suite Cal­ligra Suite with its word processor “Words”, or on Abi­word (WP-​Ar­ti­kel): official site • AbiWord High­lights • AbiWord Plugins (detailed page) • AbiWord: Reviews.

Libre­Office Writer Documentation and Help Page

Background information on the genesis and on the differences to Open­ can be found in the official questions- and answers section. The help pages on Libre­Office Writer contain comprehensive information; make usage of the search function in the upper bar. “Getting Support” describes possibilities of obtaining direct help via con­tact persons (mailing lists, forum). The section “Get Help” is a starting point to get general overviews and to obtain information on the usage of LibreOffice in various fields of application. The official documentation keeps the “LibreOffice Writer Guide”.

A list of free extensions for Libre­Office and for Open­Office informs on functional extensions. Search: LibreOffice Writer introduction • video search: LibreOffice introduction

Read essential articles on the theme word processing: WP article “Word pro­cessor” • “Cat­ego­ry:Free word processors” • „Category:Word processors“ • “List of word processors” • “Com­pari­son of word processors” • “Com­pari­son of office suites” • “OpenDocument software

3 Classic Typesetting in Highest Quality, for Scientists and Authors: TeX, LaTeX, LyX

TeX [tεχ] and the macrosystem LaTeX form the most widespread typset system in mathematics, in physics and computer science as well as in numerous further diciplines. “The Beauty of LATEX” informs about the advantages. PDF example documents can be found i.a. at the “TeX User Group” and in a compilaton of the Association of American University Presses, presented on

For the majority of the computer users it could be unusual to create documents with a text edi­tor and with macro commands. With the cross-platform available graphical user interface LyX, you can use LaTeX as easy as a word processor, a graphical formula editor is also contained. Naturally, you also can mix the modi and insert directly LaTeX-code at each place of your LyX-docu­ment.

Word processors, (e.g. LibreOffice) and graphical DTP software, (e.g. Scribus), mainly work by following the WYSIWYG-principle. By contrast, LaTeX and LyX base on a markup language. The formatting of text areas, headings and other outlinings hereby is done indirectly (WYSIWYM). Meanwhile, word processors partly offer similar functionalities, via so called style tem­plates. How­ever, the typeset-quality of Tex resp. of LaTeX and of LyX remains unmatched, as TeX uses paragraph-optimization-criteria resp. -procedures (algorithms), which are not contained in word processing programs, and as the typeset- and occupational-group-specific refinements and ex­ten­sions are incomparable comprehensive., comprising thousands of classes, pack­ages and package bundles.

The installation of LyX should precede the installation of a full TeX distribution, thereby the down­load of packages becomes unnecessary.

Become acquainted with LyX. You may want to try as document class, e.g., KOMAScript, “(KOMA-​Script)” and “book (KOMA-​Script)”, together with “Latin Modern fonts” as standard font. Find your prefered fonts/character sets in the LaTeX Font Catalogue. Thousands of packages offer comprehensive possibilities for numerous professions and application areas; also own tem­plates can be written, all typset details are possible.

Free-​BSD-, Desktop-​BSD-, TrueOS- and GNU/Linux-​user install the base system TeX, (and sub­se­quent­ly LyX) via their package management system. MacOS-​user obtain the MacTeX-​di­stri­bu­ti­on over an own site on

Instructions for MS-Win­dows-users:

  1. First get your MikTeX-​di­stri­bu­tion, for example the original MikTeX-distribution on, or ProTeXt
  2. Then install MikTeX. Follow the instructions. Choose the complete variant, the installation of all packages
  3. Then go to, download the LyX-instal­ler and start the installation. LyX either will find automatically the path of the already installed MikTex-software, or it will question for it.
  4. Become acquainted with LyX. As document class you can use, for example, KOMA­Script, “article (KOMA-Script)” and “book (KOMA-Script)”, together with “Latin Modern fonts” as standard font. Find your prefered fonts in the LaTeX Font Catalogue. Thousands of packages offer comprehensive possibilities for numerous professions and fields of ap­pli­ca­tion; you also can create your own templates, all typesetting refinements are possible.

Text geschrieben in Calligra Kalligraphie für LaTeX: Calligra Kalligraphie.

Calligraphy fonts, Fraktur, Sütterlin and numerous additional fonts and styles can be used uni­ver­sal­ly, e.g. as elaborate shaped titles for websites, book covers, film and music albums, post­ers, greeting cards and gift cards. The openness of the TeX- and LaTeX-base enabled/gained a momentum resp. an Eigendynamik, beauty, functionality and expressiveness, to which, world­wide, countless nations, profession groups and private persons contribute permanently. Donald Knuth’s TeX interpreter belongs to the mightiest computer typeset systems and, moreover, is the most archive safe and most durable, that ever has been created, as far as our civilization knows. His cultural meaning is rightly equated with the invention of the letterpress printing by Guten­berg – free Software, emphasizing the beauty and freedom of individuals and nations, supporting descriptive linguistic science.

The following listing contains various search requests on examples on typesetting usage within various occupational groups; often, there are several packages (no claim for completeness, overall only a tiny selection). For getting showed examples, browse through the respective docu­men­ta­tion, and also switch to the images category of your search engine. Many official docu­mentations are also available in other languages, freely available instructions of third parties are available in numerous languages. [Scientific illustrations, interdisciplinary] PSTricks documentation, official website of PSTricks • [Electronics and optics:] LaTeX pst-​circ do­cu­men­ta­ti­on, LaTeX circuits do­cu­mentation, makecirc do­cu­mentation, LaTeX tikz-​timing do­cu­mentation pst-​optic do­cu­men­tation  • [Chemistry, biology, medicine and bioinformatics, et al:] Latex chemistry xymtex documentation, Latex TeXshade bioinformatics documentation, Latex TeXtopo bioinformatics documentation, Latex Feyn documentation (for Feynman-diagrams) • [Music:] Latex MusiXTex docu­men­ta­tion, Latex abc2mtex documentation, Latex music pmx, Latex music M-Tx  • [Phonetics, linguistics] LaTeX Phonetics TIPA documentation, LaTeX linguistics docu­men­ta­tion  • [LaTeX presentation] LaTeX beamer, LaTeX powerdot, LaTeX lecturer  • [Jurisprudence] LaTeX Jura  • Acting: Lyx template for theatre play scripts  • ... and many many more.

Inform yourself: Category:Free TeX software • Category:Free typesetting software • List of word pro­ces­sors • Google search: writing scientific docu­ments using LaTeX • writing scientific docu­ments with LaTeX • LyX • LyX introduction • LyX tutorials • LyX examples

4 Graphic Desktop Publishing with Scribus: Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Pictorials, Posters, Cards

Scribus is especially suited for the creation of primarily graphical DTP-products, like, e.g., newspapers and magazines, books and textbooks, including such with gaudy design, for pictorials and for photo books, book covers, calendars, catalogs, ad­ver­tis­ing brochures, posters, cards and postcards. Comprehensive information are obtainable on the official website,, and in the Scribus-wiki, Illustrating example projects can be found under “Made with Scri­bus” and “Success Stories” (at the right, all success stories can be selected, from 2003 to 2017).

Inform yourself: Google-Search: Scribus • Scribus introduction • Scribus tutorial • Scribus examples.

5 The Creation of E-Books
Basic Knowledge on the Creation of E-Books
grayscale converted image version.
     Image source of the image file in color:,
     Project site:

An e-book is a chapter- resp. content-structured document file which can be read on handy, specialized e-book-reading-devices as well as on common computers. The great advantage of e-books resides in their display-​adapt­abil­ity. With usual docu­ment types, like, for example, PDF-files, the document measurements and the positioning of the content are prescribed (resp. fixed) geometrically exact and rigid: DIN A4, US-let­ter, A3, B5 etc., where­as e-books dynamically adapt themselves to the display size of the given output device, hereby the text display takes place fluently, it re­ar­ranges.

How many text appears on the computer monitor of a display device depends on the pref­er­ences of the user, e.g. on the adjusted font size (type size, character size). Hence, e-books have no page numbers, however, bookmarks can be set, and some devices also allow the gen­er­ation of quasi page numbers. E-books can be equipped with a copy protection, which not only makes impossible the creation of backup copies, but furthermore even excludes the printing on paper.

The technichal markup language elements with which e-books are created essentialy base on the same with which Internet websites are written (HTML).

The e-book-format EPUB is the open standard for writers/authors and scientists. E-books cre­ated with it can be converted to other formats. However, copy-protected e-books cannot be con­ver­ted, and probably the majority of the present e-book-titles offered in trade, .epub-files included, are equipped with a copy-protection.

Mathematical Typesetting: The current e-book-specification is only of limited suitability for the writing of comprehensive mathematical texts. Since EPUB3 mathematical typeset can be written natively in the markup language MathML, it also supports SVG, so that there is no longer the necessity to embed formulas and equations as graphic file or to convert vector graph­ics (resp. function graph­ics) to raster images, if the target device supports EPUB3. How­ever, mathematical typeset with MathML cannot be created as easily and elegantly as with TeX resp. as with LaTeX, the required markup text for describing formulars is far more extensive.

Mo­zil­la's “MathML Tor­ture Test”-site contrasts TeX-typeset with MathML (“As rendered by your browser”), whereby the Tex-typeset is solely embeded as screenshot, thus naturally seems less brilliant as within the PDF-, PostScript, or DVI-format, and as graphic cannot scale within size adjustments, concerning its resolution. Call up this site and look at the markup text file, open the source text under Firefox with the key combination CTRL + U to see, how questionable la­bo­ri­ous typeset with MathML becomes. Apart from that, until today (2018), Firefox probably is the only browser who is able to display MathML correctly and complete, including this test.

Most authors typeset their mathematical texts with LaTeX and, if required, probably convert them, with a program like, e.g., MathToWeb to MathML, to insert the corresponding sections into their e-book (EPUB3) or into HTML-files; though the author does not know, if their is any sig­nifi­cant spread of MathML at all.

PDF versus E-Books: Often, PDF-files are denoted as e-books when they have e-book-​func­tion­alities, like, e.g., a link sensitive table of contents and a keyword index which enable the direct jump into a certain book section, as well as when they have external hyperlinks through which, after clicking, a browser opens in the background to load Internet websites. However, the text of PDF-files is not flexible, it does not flow, the line break cannot be rearranged dy­nami­cal­ly. Therefore, PDF-documents lack the abilitiy to adapt resp. scale dynamically to the given display device, they have no dynamically-adapting line breaking resp. word breaking. The font can be enlarged resp. be scaled, however, the document is solely enlarged like with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass, the text does not rearrange itself, it remains rigid.

Apart from that, all essential e-book-​func­tion­alities are also possible with PDF: Internal and ex­ternal hyperlinks, link sensitive tables of contents and key word indexes, search functions et al. Furthermore, the PDF-format enables a best possible print quality.

Further information: Criticism of proprietary e-book formats, of digital rights management and of copy protection mechanisms:, criticism on

WP-​articles: “E-book”, “EPUB”, “Category:E-books”, “Comparison of e-book formats”, “Cat­ego­ry:​De­di­cat­ed e-book devices”.

Since the specification EPUB 3, e-books also can contain video films and audio files, and they can have interactive functionalities (via Javascript). Thereby, the possibilities have become so comprehensive, that sometimes it also is talked of a “website in a box”. Recommended reading for the familiarization with EPUB3: “EPUB 3 Best Practices[,] Optimize Your Digital Books”, Matt Garrish, Markus Gylling; O'Reilly.

Production: E-Book Editors and Quality Control

Creating e-books requires only minimal typesetting knowledge, the technical aspects have dra­mati­cal­ly simplified, except for the creation of the front cover, what remains, under design aspects, as challenging as with classic printed books.

Texts and books either can be written directly in the .epub-​format by means of an editor, in the pure markup language, or you write them with the help of a specialized graphical Epub-editor, where­by they can be created as easily as with a word processor. Sigil is a mighty, free e-book-editor with graphical user interface, besides the free e-book-editor Calligra Author; search re­quest on further information: Calligra Author epub.

Also already existing word processor files can be converted into an EPUB-file, for example with the LibreOffice-extension Writer2epub or with Calibre.

Use EpubCheck for the quality control, a program for the syntax check. You have to care for the Epub-file validation, particulary therefore, as some e-book-reading-devices possibly operate less fault-tolerant than web browsers. For example, there already was an (here unspecified) model that stopped the displaying of the content of a subfile (e.g. of a chapter unit) since the ap­pear­ance/​read out of a syntax error, i.e. it does not display the remaining text.

Also the scaling (size adapation) of some image files for the display on e-book-reading-devices per­haps may not work as desired. The usage of a somewhat bigger image file (with screen-​reso­lution-​reserves) is recommendable, as users of devices with a higher resolution get dis­played the images in a better quality; the dis­played image measurements can be prescribed pinpoint/​pixel accurate as well as screen-width-percentual. Although possibly, when exceeding a certain image file size, some reading devices will not display the illustration, resulting in a gap.

Both exemplarily listed errors did not occur with software-e-book-​reading-devices. However, they possibly could take place with several hardware-​e-​book-​readers. Before its publication, an illustrated e-book should be watched on e-book-readers of several manufacturers; also look out for .epub-test-files.

E-​Book-​Reading-­ and Management Programs
Epub-Extensions for Mo­zil­la Fire­fox and Chrome

There are several EPUB-reading-extensions for Firefox, among them the Freeware EPUB­Reader. Extract of the description of the official website, (December 30, 2017): “[...] EPUBReader is a Firefox addon which lets you read ePub-files just in the browser. You don't need to install additional software!
  If you click on a link to an ePub-file, you are normally prompted by the Firefox 'save as' dialog. With EPUBReader installed, the ePub-file is downloaded, processed and directly displayed ready to read.
  It runs on every operating system Firefox does (Windows, MacOS X, Linux) and is already used by more than 350,000 daily users.
  EPUBReader is available in 26 different languages: Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese. [...]”.

The official site and its “Frequently asked questions”-section contain detailed descriptions.

For the webbrowser Chrome and for its free variant Chromium, the free (open source) and EPUB3-able e-book-reader Readium is offered. Instructions: official site, Readium in the Chrome Web Store, on Youtube “Using the Readium Plugin for Chrome to Read EPUB and MOBI eBooks”.

The word division resp. the syllabification with e-books has not been solved satisfactorily, not yet. In the past, many e-book-readers (hardware reading devices as well as reading ap­pli­ca­tions) had no syllabification function, what resulted in unattractive spaces within text jus­ti­fi­ca­tion mode. Some devices and programs bypassed the problem by formatting the text flush-left, resp. book authors typesetted the text from the beginning flush-left. Syllable division aids being contained in the text are either ignored by some devices or they do not function correctly; Al­ready since years, EPUBReader regards such syllable division aids.

In the meantime, some progress has been made with the word divison and with syllabifaction.

Cal­li­bre: Universal E-Book Management Program

Callibre (WP-article) contains comprehensive functions for the management and conversion of e-books and is also suited as reading program.

6 Free Text Editors and Recommended Reading on LaTeX, KOMA-Script & Co.

Text editors are the ancestors of typestting programs and of word processors. Today, they are mainly used in the scientific environment (prevailingly in computer science and in pro­gram­ming), in the EDP-​administration as well as for markup language-​based typesetting, e.g. for LaTeX, HTML and CSS (for the conceptual distinction also see the WP-article “Markup lan­guage”).

The possibilities of text editing and of text evaluation are great. In the Unix-world, Vim (cross-platform) and Emacs probably belong to the most widespread editors. Besides Vim, Emacs and Xemacs, Notepad++ is suited as free editor for the Windows-world. Read the WP-article Text editor, to inform yourselve on basic functions and get overviews on free text editors.

Except the graphical desktop environments and application programs, by default, GNU/​Linux-​distributions contain also text mode software. Programs with text-based user interface are extremly powerful. Their huge number of application programs form an own universum. By using them you obtain a system-independence to a great extent, as numerous applications were ported and are maintained on most diverse operating system platforms. Due to their low ressource requirements, text mode programs also run high performant on old and on very old computer platforms, locally as also via remote accesses on other computer systems, more in­for­ma­tion herto in the WP-articles “telnet” (historical), “secure shell”, and “OpenSSH”. The text mode offers you a greatest possible information-technical (device-)independence, liberty and efficiency, also very often when using graphically based software, like the introductory example of “Put Yourself in Command” shows.

Websites and recommended articles on textmode-programs: WP-articles: “Con­sole app­li­ca­tion”“Text-based (compu­ting)”“Text-based user interface” • “Shell (com­pu­ting)”“Command-line interface”“GNU Core Utilities”. An excellent introduction: Floss Ma­nu­al “In­tro­duc­tion to the Com­mand Line” • WP-article: “GNU Screen”“Ter­mi­nal (Com­pu­ter)” • a German website which includes a huge link list on English websites and ressources “ :: freie Text­mode-Soft­ware” [free textmode software], its link list: “Web­sei­ten zum The­ma Text­mode” [websites on the theme text mode].

Recommended Reading on LaTeX, KOMA-Script and PS-Tricks

The text mode is the natural way of communication with computer programs, and it enables access on all their functions. Probably the majority of mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists chooses the text input via macros over graphical formula editors (conventions). Also, in most cases, scientific illustrations can be created more easily with LaTeX- resp. with PostScript-​macros than being drawn with mouse-based graphic programs, thanks to the huge number of packages, which are specialized in the requirements of the most different oc­cu­pa­tion­al groups and of scientific disciplines (though, there are also graphical editors, with tpx and LaTeXDraw, et al).

The list of freely available LaTeX-​introductions is huge, like search requests for any language demonstrate, here for example, in English: LaTeX intro­duc­tion • creating drawings and graphics with LaTeX • drawing graphics with LaTeX • PSTricks introduction. Propably most packages and package bundles already contain an excellent documentation, and also in the Internet are very good overall introductions freely available.

High-quality printed literature is recommended as detailed introduction as well as com­pre­hen­sive reference work.

Herbert Voß' (interview in English) offers excellent in-depth introductions to LaTeX, his books are available in German, some titles are also available in English. However, the German edi­tions are the most current ones. “Ein­füh­rung in LaTeX [,] un­ter Be­rück­sich­ti­gung von pdfLaTeX, XLaTeX und Lua­La­TeX” introduces into all essential fields and aspects of the type­set­ting with LaTeX, in-depth. Such a standard work is not only suited for beginners. Due to its detailed over­views, tabulars and links, it also has a reference-book-character for experienced users, and there­fore is also an investment with long-term returns.

Two further in-depth standard works of Voß containing numerous subtleties and ramifications, being particulary of great importance for mathematicians: “Ma­the­ma­tik­satz mit LaTeX” und “PSTricks [,] Gra­fik mit Post­Script für TeX und LaTeX”. The official PS PS-Tricks-​website (English) contains numerous illustrations and usage examples. PSTricks is not only relevant for the crea­tion of scientific graphics and functions but also for the classic maths setting; read the table of contents in the Internet, look out for the title in the (online-)directories of libraries, or go to a sci­en­tif­ic library to read the book.

LaTeX file in Kate and its PDF-output.
Macro-typeset with LaTeX and KOMA-Script, file opened in the editor Kate, PDF-view with Evince (click for details). The introduction to the indirect reasoning is available at PDF A4, PDF US-Letter. The article contains information on the common math-proof-notation as well as a concrete typset information, in footnote 13 on page 5. Duplex-formats are also available, on the title page.

Further classics among the macro-typesetting-systems are Troff resp. Groff (GNU-Troff), which also run performant on very old computers. Official Site: GNU troff (groff) — a GNU project • Reflections on GNU TROFF (GROFF) • Official Troff site:, „The Text Processor for Typesetters“ • The Groff Friends Howto [PDF] • Read to be in the picture on news around Troff

Suche: Gnu Groff example documents

7 Free Fonts and an Introduction to Basic Concepts of Typography

The “Libertine Open Font Project” offers high-quality font files (character sets) for MS-Windows and GNU/Linux, among them the Linux Libertine, which also includes the capital ẞ (WP-article), and the Li­nux Biolinum, with which even keys for the description of keyboard shortcuts can be typesetted (WP-article on the Linux Libertine).

Self-description of the title page, July 21, 2016, “ – About us”, by Philipp H. Poll: “Glyphs and fonts are basic elements of our com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fundamental to our culture. But on the other hand they are also software products and consumer items, which are commonly copyrighted and are intellectual property of large American corporations.

While in former times one used to write his letters by one’s own hand, we nowadays com­mu­ni­cate digitally and thus require fonts for displaying of what we want to read or tell. But you will find copyrights and patents even on the most elementary fonts and often there is no support for minority languages or scientific special characters. We thus founded this project to provide you with high quality libre fonts, which can be supplemented and kept up to date by the public community.

An older extract of a section of the start site from the Open Font Project, July 27, 2011: “[...] It is our aim to support the many western languages and provide many special characters. Our fonts cover the codepages of Western Latin, Greek, Cyrillic (with their specific enhancements), Hebrew, IPA and many more. Furthermore, typographical features such as ligatures, small capitals, different number styles, scientific symbols, etc. are implemented in this font. Linux Libertine thus contains more than 2000 characters. In this huge amount of glyphs, there still may be small mistakes that we ask you to report for the improvement of the Libertine Font Family. You may also write us, if you would like to see a new feature added (see the section “Contribute” for details). [...]”

Study the easy to understand information of the Li­ber­tine Open Font Pro­jects to acquire most elementary basics on typography: “Open Type” • “Specialties” • “Styles”.

Inform yourselves on further free fonts and on fundamental terms: “Category:Open-source type­faces” • “Category:Writing systems” • “Category:Typefaces”

Nations/Countries/Regions and their prevalent paper size: “Paper Types” • “Paper Size”

8 Free Software for the Creation of professional PDF-Documents
Free PDF-Viewers
PDF-Symbol von
      Image source and license for this PDF-symbol:

PDF (Por­table Do­cu­ment For­mat) and Post­Script (GS-View-Be­trach­ter) form the document standard in the pre-print stage. Books and magazines are primarily handed over as PDF-file.

Moreover, PDF serves as standard format for letters, forms, bills, and more documents sent by e-mail; in business life, in the administration, and in science.

Its adavantages are based on its plattform independence. In the past, viewing a document of­ten required the software with which it was created (e.g. a certain word processor), today you only need a PDF-viewer.

Besides the proprietary freeware Adobe Acrobat Reader, there is a range of comprehensive free PDF-viewers, listed at, among them are also the following programs available for MS-Windows:

Oku­lar (WP-article) belongs to the most powerful free PDF-viewers. It masters numerous further formats, among them Post­script, EPUB, and Open­Do­cu­ment. MS-Windows-user obtain the software via KDE on Win­dows.

Sumatra PDF (WP-article) is an excellent lightweight PDF-viewer for MS-​Windows. It also is suited for older hardware and reads further document formats, among them the epub-format. Quickstart Manual Official manual.

Evince (WP-article) is a further free PDF-viewer for the MS-Windows-world, arisen from the GNOME-desktop-project for GNU/Linux.

Creating PDF-Files
Image source and license:

Numerous free programs have PDF-export-functions by default. Moreover, many offer the option of the ISO-standardized PDF/A-ex­port, for creating PDF-​documents which are suited for long-term filing.

PDF-export under Libre­Office (word processor): “File” → “Export as PDF...”. Detailed official information: “Export as PDF”.

Under LyX (typesetting program): “File” → “Export” → “PDF (pdflatex)”. Further PDF-export variants are possible. Official LyX-FAQ on PDF.

Under Scribus (typesetting program): “File” → “Export” → “Save as PDF...”.
Scri­bus- and Scri­bus-Wiki-information: “Help:Ma­nu­al PDFx3”, “Ca­te­go­ry:PDF”.

The PDF-creation with Abiword (word processor) under MS-Windows requires a PDF printer driver (“Faq­Creating­PDFs”):


The universal, mighty and freeware software PDFCreator (WP-article) is suited as PDF-con­vert­er. Also PDF/A-files for long-term file storage can be created with it. (“Features”). Video films on PDFCreator.

According to the section “Adware toolbar controversy” of the WP-article “PDFCreator”, there was a controversy concerning the bundling of the software with an adware toolbar. Originally, it might have been sufficient, to simply deactivate the default option of installing a toolbar during the installation process, or to remove it afterwards from your browser. Later, this subject could have become more complex. Inform youself on this issue before installing the software.

There are also other PDF-printer drivers available: List of virtual printer software • List of PDF software.

Dissecting PDF-Files, Merging, Editing of Meta Data

The PDF Tool­kit, pdftk, enables a comprehensive editing of PDF-files and -metadata. Detailed instructions and examples are freely available, e.g.: “PDFtk Server Examples” • “How To Ma­nipu­late PDFs with PDF Chain [Linux]” • “pdftk(1) - Linux man page”. PDFTK Builder is a graphical inter­face to pdftk, further are listed in the WP-article “PDFtk”.

A Python-based PDF-editor: PDF-Shuffler.

Checking the Hyperlinks of PDF-Files on Functionality

In the past, the Firefox-AddOn “Linkchecker” was excellently suited for checking the hyperlinks of a PDF-file. You simply had to open the PDF (resp. to drag it into a browser tab) and to select the link-check-function, the program highlighted valid links with green, broken links with red, and other links with yellow.

Unfortunately, since the “Quantum”-Firefox-​version, it no longer functions. Maybe there are al­ter­na­tives, which follow a similar principle. The website alternativeTo, Crowdsourced soft­ware recommendations lists alternatives to LinkChecker, whereas the platform as well as the licence can be selected.

Further PDF-programs: “Category:Free PDF software” • “List of PDF soft­ware”.

9 Typesetting and Hyphenation
[Please note, the punctuation and the naturalness of this translated article on free typesetting software will be verified soon.]

We write for the reader: The careful punctuation effectuates an unambiguous and reader-friendly structuring of the thoughts and concepts of the writer, it ensures the correct re­pro­duc­tion of his information and messages.

Syllable divisions effectuate a harmonical text image in justification and care for an effective reading flow. In the naturally evolved rules for written language they ensure, that the correct stress/accent of the words-to-be-divided remain intact as far as possible.

For example, the natural grown supra-regional written German (Schriftdeutsch) that based on a set of rules which always self-renewed themselve (descriptive language science), was wrecked deliberately in order to deprive the language of its expressiveness, to deform and to anihilate it. Inter alia, many thousands of words have been anihilated directly, words, where the sepa­rate spelling and the compound spelling have completely different semantic meanings, al­though these conditions of anihilating a language will not endure for long-term. Approved rules, which before reformed themselve in a natural way, were declared as “outdated”, whereas the written language, now being deprived of its expressiveness, being highly deformed, and thrown far back in its evolution, was and is praised as “new” and “modern”. However, the “renewed” rules and hyphenation rules lead to countless errors and misunderstandings and complicate the reading of texts, in spite of the fact, that the self-contradicting “rules” were implemented for­mal­ly correct in software systems (it is not about programming errors). Thanks to free software, you are free to decide yourself, which hyphenation rules and dictionaries you would like to use, because free software emphasizes the freedom of the individual, of the people, and of the nation. More information on this will appear in a separate article (until then a mini article with more general aspects [in German]).

The classic written German still is furthermore written and the language packages for LibreOffice resp. OpenOffice are contionously maintained, extended and updated. Excerpt of the official description (March 11, 2018), publicized on the “German (de-DE-1901) old spelling dictionaries” -project and -download site of the “LibreOffice Extensions & Templates”: “[...] This extension published by Karl Zeiler integrates dictionaries in accordance with the old rules of German spelling and hyphenation. Classical spelling rules are still valid but do no longer apply to government agencies and schools where the new ones are mandatory. This version - derived from new spelling frami and igerman98 dictionaries - has been modified by Rüdiger Brünner according to the classical spelling rules. Additionally, he enlarged the word list by many scientific technical terms.

Under LyX you choose “Document”→ “Settings...” and choose in the section “Language” the option “German (old spelling)”.

LaTeX/LyX: General information on “german / ngerman” (in German).

9.1 The Soft Hyphen

The word-division-systems of modern word-processing- and typsetting-systems are powerful and work largely error-free. However, it happens, that a typesetting system man not recognize a compound word as such, or that a word goes over the line (into the margin), or that the author wishes an other word division. For such cases you give clear guidelines.

Separation-points can be set centrally in a separate reference-word-list, or directly within the text. The soft hyphen informs the typesetting system explicitly, where it may divide a word. One possiblitiy is, for example, within larger texts, to copy it va Crtl + C into the clipboard and to insert it then via Crtl + V into the word joints.

Read the WP-article “Soft hyphen”. It contains detailed information for operating systems as well as for word processing- and for typesetting-systems.

9.2 Separation Points without Hyphens, Zero-width spaces and Protected Words

Some text components, such as hyperlinks resp. directory paths can spread over several lines. To ensure the correctness of the reference, it must be prevented, that (non existent) hyphens are inserted.

Use the Zero-width space, in order to provide your word resp. your text component with breaking points which remain free from hyphens, in the break. The hyphenation can be pre­vented for parts of a word as well as for the whole word. Read the following articles, in order to become familiar with the various scenarios:

9.3 The Problem of the Hyphenation in E-Books and in HTML-Documents, and its partial Solution

Word division aids and optional defined breaking points increase the reading comfort. An op­ti­o­nal automatic hyphenation algorithm is either non existent in today's web browsers and e-book reading devices, or it does not function satisfyingly.

Partly, the problem can be solved, so that, at least, the broad spaces disappear.

Hyphenation-Aids which effectuate a Hyphen:
  1. First, write your text and then open it in the HTML-mode, with an editor, like, e.g., Note­pad++
  2. Write the so called soft hyphen for HTML (WP-article: “Soft hyphen” and copy it into the clipboard: &shy;
  3. Now copy continously, out of the cliboard, this HTML-entity in the respective syllable joints

Thus, there are enough joints available for the web browser to avoid unsightly interspaces. However, certain cases of word separation, like e.g., in German the retransformation of the double consonant (from “ck” to “kk”), cannot be accomplished by this: In “Zuk-ker” (sugar) the short “u” is retained, in contrast to “Zu-cker” which leads to a long, falsely stressed “u”.

Optional Text-Breaking-Points without Hyphen-Triggering:

Some words need urgently a separation possibility but may not be equipped with a hyphen, as thereby the content would be falsified. Examples are e-mail-addresses and hyperlinks, where it no longer would be clear, if it would be a separation hyphen or a component of the address it­self.

Here, a zero-width space helps: &#x200b; (Zero Width Space). With URLs it is best, if you insert it be­tween each single character of your word.

While established web browsers impeccably consider these hyphenation aids, some e-book-readers and software e-book-readers ignore them either completely, or they bypass this prob­lem by presenting justified text; or they use the soft-hyhphen-aid but do not show any hyphens. Or even worse, they show everyhwere hyphens, where hyphenation aids are inserted.

Generally, at least a subset of the official Epub-standard should be implemented obligatorily, in order to guarantee a reliable text display and get a proper reading comfort. To this, an article, publicized on the official Sigil developer blog: “An ana­ly­sis of EPUB3 (and, uh, a bit more)”.

10 Free Image Editing Software and Vector Graphics Editors

Images and graphics are handled in different formats. raster graphics, like, e.g., photos, consist of many single points, of which each single one has a certain color. With high magnification, the point structure becomes visible.

Image source:,
        Original Image source:,

Vector graphics consist of geometric objects, color gradients and other com­pon­ents. They can be resized (scaled) without quality losses, i.e., that for an en­large­ment, the image is computed from a new resp. drawn from a new. Com­pa­ny logos are often creatd as vector graphics. Naturally, there are also limits: A vector graphic, which is intended to be put on a house wall, is often cre­ated separately. Vector graphics can be converted to pixel graphics/raster images. Besides illustrations, technichal scopes of application (construction plans, circuit dia­grams, dia­grams) are the main application field of vector graphics software.

The possible color depth of a software determines, how fine nuanced color tones and color gra­di­ents can be displayed within an image, the higher (resp. deeper) the possible color depth, the better. Depending on the case, a high color depth can be also then of advantage, if the output follows only in low color depth: Within comprehensive image editing works, possibly less cal­cu­lation errors (rounding errors etc.) arise, when complex computations must be carried out.

Hyperlink on image source:,
       Original image source:,

Each device (monitor, printer, etc.) has its own color space. One imagine it as a color palette that predefines, which colors can be displayed and which not, and how the colors are being displayed. Color spaces are standardized. A clas­sic problem: You have an image with many color tones (large color palette), and you would like to output (or display) it on a device which has only a limited color range (small color palette). Here, among others, the fol­low­ing questions arise: How shall a color of the original image be displayed, which cannot be displayed on the output device? Shall the next resp. nearest similar color be chosen? Shall a mixed color be chosen? Or shall the color simply be omitted completely? A futher example: You would like to convert a color photo into a black and white photo.

Software for the Raster Image Editing

For the image editing of photos, the mighty and free paint program Krita ( is recommended. It is suited in the context of image editing of professional prepress products, as well as for the editing of graphics for the Internet as well as for e-books. • WP-article “Krita” • download section • Google search: Krita, Krita introduction, Krita tutorial; Google image search: Krita landscape; Google video search: Krita, Krita landscape • „Category:Free raster graphics editors“ • „Comparison of raster graphics editors

JPEG-file, opened in Krita 2.9
(click for detailed view)

Software Overview:

Various Themes on Image Editing

The Internet offers numerous high-quality step-by-step-instructions around the huge theme im­age editing. Think of the words which could be contained in the information you are searching for, and vary these search term combinations.

The WP-article “Comparison of raster graphics editors” contains a comprehensive overview on all free image editing programs (left column)

Vector Graphic Editors

General overview on vector graphics software: “Comparison of vector graphics editors”

Drawing Diagrams

DIA, official website • WP-article “Dia (soft­ware)” • Documentation • Google search: DIA software introduction, DIA software Tutorials; Google image search: Dia software diagrams; Google video search: DIA soft­ware Introduction, DIA software tutorials


Blender is one of the most popular, most widespread and powerful free software applications for 3d-graphics and -animation.

WP-article Blender (software) • Google search: Blender software, Blender introduction, Blender tutorials, Google image search: Blender software landscape; Google video search: Blender software landscape, Blender software introduction • Category:Free 3D graphics software

Various articles

WP-overview “Category: Free graphics software”, with subcategories.

Image manipulation and photography: “Category:​Photographic techniques”, “Category:​Pho­tog­ra­phy”, “Category:​Digital photography”

“Ca­te­go­ry:Free mul­ti­me­dia soft­ware”

11 The sovereign Usage of the Keyboard

Make use of the possibility to write with 10 fingers, learn the touch system. Through this, there are several advantages:

  • A substantial time saving, as you can write down your worded thoughts blindly and direct instantly, editing texts with highest efficiency and fertility.
  • No more distractions through unnecessary sights on the keyboard, continuous read­ing of teletyping dialogs on the screen, fast response times, selecting functions through key combinations instead of time-consuming mouse clicking.
  • Where required, also learn the original keyboard layout and the touch system on one of your targeted further languages. Example: The keyboard layout(s) for French or the layout for German or the Russian PC-keyboard layout(s) in Cyrillic. The switching of the keyboard layouts takes place either instantly via key combinations or per mouse click. From the beginning, words and phrases to be learned are written down repeatedly with the touch system of the original keyboard layout, for the purpose of memorization, in an own word processing file. Thus, during written direct com­mu­ni­ca­tions (teletyping dialogs, chatting), an instantly fast written communication with lan­guage learning partners is ensured.
1.4.1 Free Software for the Learning of the Touch System, Teaching Articles

Humans of all professional fields write with the touch system, for a crucial time saving and for an increased reaction speed, and for a maximal concentration on contents. Your attractiveness as language learning partner is simply greater, when you can respond your language tandem partner instantly within written dialogs.

In the WP-article “Touch typing” various aspects are elucidated, and, in the German article ver­sion, a reference to a comprehensive list of free (at no charge) software for the touch system and of online aids is listed. Under the free of charge programs, the free and platform in­de­pend­ent available writing coach TIPP10 [English website version] (German WP-article) stands out es­pe­cial­ly. It offers a sophisticated interactive self-adapting writing course.

In the Internet, there are countless information free and directly acessible. Examples: Google search for “touch system typing”, Google video search for “touch system”.

1.4.2 Language and Keyboard Layout

Acquire the touch system not only for your mother tongue but also for the furthermore language aspired by you. Often, per language, there are several country-specific keyboard layouts at choice. The English WP-article “Keyboard layout” offers a very comprehensive overview. The article itself is offered in various languages (menu at the left), whereas other versions may not be as comprehensive as the English original. The article contains numerous hyperlinks, referencing on nation- and country-specific keyobard information; via these sub-articles you can get plenty of information, also in languages other than English. Always (in each [sub-]article, category etc.) look at the left side for other language versions.

Modern operating systems support all worldwide common layouts. The switching either is made via mouse click or by a self-defined key combination (shortcut).

For the acquiring of the keyboard layout of your target language the following approach is re­com­mend­ed:

For the learning of new (chapter episode)words you open a word processing file. Write each new word to be learned by using the touch system, at least over several lines away. So you pro­ceed word by word, paragraph by paragraph. Writing down entire texts is also advisable for their memorization.

Make usage of the numerous instructions in the Internet on how to choose the respective key­board layout. For instance, via the search query Russian keyboard, or in general, via the search combination [target language] keyboard layout [operating system]. Keyboard layout graphics also can be find directly via the image search, for example via the Google image search for Russian keyboard, or for Russian keyboard layout.

Your language partner/teletyping partner will be in for a surprise, when you suddenly can write as fast or even faster than her. In the physical world, the language is the key to the culture of peo­ples and to the hearts of their humans. Read the comprehensive overview article on free and powerful dictionaries: “Multilingual Online and Offline Dictionaries with Phonetic Ref­er­ences, For the Study of Language and for Translation Projects”.

Striving wholeheartedly for speaking the language of a people on site implies a fundamental re­spect. The local people note this, and, completely independent on how advanced your lan­guage competence already is, one will encounter you correspondingly openly.

1.4.3 Your National Keyboard Layout and the US-American PC-Keyboard-Layout, EFI and BIOS

Look up the English WP-article “Keyboard layout”, it contains de­tailed information on your national keyboard layout as well as hy­per­links on further articles to each single keyboard sign; also WP-SVG-graphics are offered, for example on the German PC-keyboard-layout. At the left side of the “Keyboard layout”-article, you can look up the language version which contains the relevant information for your national keyboard ver­sion.

Keyboard layout and EFI: In rare cases, the EFI and possibly also the previous system BIOS or an other program requires an input with an US-American keyboard layout. Confirmations with “Y” (for “Yes”) and the reconstruction of already set system passwords only can be carried out, if the US-keyboard-layout is known. Therefore, unconditionally file a print of the US-American key­board layout in your physical computer folder. (WP-article on the US-keyboard layout, overview on the WP graphic file versions [various resolutions]).

1.4.4 Mechanical Keyboards

Frequent writers, authors and programmers prefer mechanical keyboards, for example the time­less, world-renowned Cherry G80-3000 LSCDE-2 (black version). There are worlds between standard PC-keyboards and the real, the so called mechanical keyboards, regarding the writing comfort and the precision of the key stroke, as well as under the aspect of the consistent writ­ing quality, the robustness and the durability of the keyboard.

Two articles on this keyboard class and its various types: “Benefits of a Mechanical Keyboard for Writers” • “Best Mechanical Keyboards For Typing – 2018 Edition”. Overview page of Cherry: “Me­chani­cal keyboards” • “G80-3000” • PDF on the G80-3000.

Animated graphics on the various switch types and video information films: “Me­chani­cal Keyboard Switches Guide – Animated Gif” • Youtube-search: “Cherry G80-3000 LSCDE-2” • Youtube-video “What makes a Cherry MX Blue click?” • “Cherry MX Factory Tour - Linus & Luke do Auerbach, Germany” • Youtube-video: “Cherry MX Switches Sound (Black, Red, Brown, Clear, Blue)” •. WP: “Category:Computer keyboards”.

12 Securing the Integrity of your Document with Cryptographic Checksums

[English article is in preparation. Those who can German, read the original article on the practical usage of cryptographic checksums.]

Cryptographic checksums and collision of checksums

Copyright 2008–2018 by Peter Jockisch,
All listed brand names, trademarks and work titles are the property of their respective owners
Legal Notifications •  Imprint •  Privacy Statement •  Biographical Notes