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Re: Readability of troff documents (Was: [Groff] Bug in gxditview)

From: Robert D. Goulding
Subject: Re: Readability of troff documents (Was: [Groff] Bug in gxditview)
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 11:02:48 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 23 May 2003, Giorgos Magos wrote:
> Is there a way (other than preprocessing through some sed
> filter) of inserting these the way they're inserted in
> LaTeX? Ie:
> em dash is ---
> en dash is --
> I find that \(em and \(en (and other similar codes)
> seriously reduce the readability of the _source_ document,
> as well as increase the knowledge level required to create
> documents in troff. It shouldn't be hard to explain to a
> non-computer person that a dash meant as punctuation should
> be entered as ---, but trying to explain \(em?

Others have already replied with various solutions using sed etc. (and
ISTR that there is a section on this in Unix Text Processing).  You can
also take the route used by most of the macro packages, to define a string
containing these glyphs.  So, in ms, - is defined as \(em, and you can
just type \*- instead of \(em, which is marginally more readable.

(I use en-dashes more than em-dashes, so I use the lines:

.ds - \(en
.ds = \(em


It might just be possible to do it with -- and --- if you redefine -
itself as a complicated string using a .char request - the closest groff
gets to TeX's active characters, but a technique with a lot of power.
I'll attempt it when I have a moment....


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