Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for the ‘Formatting’ Category

Academic workflows on a Mac

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Over at the Macademic blog there is a list of good software on the Mac that is particularly useful for academics, teaching, writing, etc. I’ve used most of the software on this list (or at least experimented with a lot of them), but everyone’s workflow is different. Some of these will only frustrate your writing experience, especially if you’re diving into a big project like a dissertation that has unparalleled citation and formatting demands. So tread lightly and don’t make an impulse purchase, if that is your temptation. When I began writing my dissertation I had hoped to use something other than Microsoft Word, but I quickly found out that other applications would be unacceptable for submission. I wrote my prospectus in Scrivener, but I had to spend a couple of days after it was completed just converting the file into a .doc for review. That process was a real pain, particularly with in-text citations and footnotes. The writing experience in Scrivener is excellent, however, just not suitable for the parameters of a dissertation. 

What software do I really need for academic work on Mac? | Academic workflows on a Mac

A. General tools

LaunchBar – a launcher and an automator (€24) /alt: Alfred, check here for comparison

TextExpander* – Mac typing shortcut utility (€35)

1Password* – password, identities and other sensitive information management (€40)

Dropbox* – file sharing (free) /alt: Box


B. File and e-mail organizing and management

Hazel – file management automator, indispensable for managing reference files (€20)

Papers – managing scientific articles, also used for annotation, citation and bibliographies in writing (see D); check Macademic reviews (€60) /alt: Sente, Bookends

Foxtrot – a professional search engine; “goodbye haystack, hello needle!” ($40 or $130 for the professional version) /alt: Leap, DevonThink, HoudahSpot

MailTags – tagging mail messages in Apple Mail ($30)

Mail Act-On – processing and organizing email with keyboard shortcuts in Apple Mail ($25)


C. Calendar, task and project management

Fantastical* – natural language calendaring, part of the Macademic Ninja Kit (€16)

BusyCal – professional calendar management (€40) /alt: Mac’s native Calendar

OmniOutliner* – outlining for brainstorming and project planning; also used for writing outlines (see D) ($50 or $100 for professional version) /alt: MindNote

OmniFocus* – unparalleled task management app extensively reviewed on Macademic; however tempting it is, don’t try to put all your life in there! ($40 or $80 for the professional version /alt: Things, TheHitList, TaskPaper


D. Note-taking, research and writing

NValt – plain text and markdown no-frills note-taking (free) /many alternatives

Evernote* – capturing text notes, documents, images, photos and screenshots and sharing them including on iOS devices (free with some paid features)

Ulysses – a rapidly evolving software for taking and organizing notes using searches, tags and folders; I use it extensively for teaching (€37) /many alternatives

OmniOutliner* – writing outlines, also used for project management (see C) ($50 or $99 for the professional version) /many alternatives

Byword* – simple and efficient text and markdown editor for Mac (€8) /many alternatives

Scrivener – writing software, especially suitable for theses and other complex texts ($45)

Pages* – Apple native word processor producing beautifully formatted documents, features sharing through iCloud (free with OS X) /alt: Mellel, Nisus

Microsoft Word for Mac – very powerful word processor, a standard for many publishers and in the Windows world, sometimes irreplaceable but should not be over- or misused (various pricing models) /alt: MellelNisus

Papers – citation and bibliography management, article annotation, also used for managing scientific articles (see B) (€59) /alt: Sente, Bookends, EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero

 

E. Data processing, presentation and graphic design


Microsoft Excel for Mac – an extremely powerful electronic spreadsheet (various pricing models) /alt: Numbers

OmniGraffle – vector graphic software for diagrams and other illustrations ($100 or $200 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Illustrator, iDraw

Keynote* – the most powerful presentation software with amazing possibilities (free with OS X) /alt: Microsoft Powerpoint, Prezi

PDFPen – editing pdf files ($60, $100 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Acrobat

Written by Josh Philpot

July 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

Interview with Bibliotheca’s Adam Lewis Greene at the Bible Design Blog

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I backed the Bibliotheca project after about 10 seconds on the Kickstarter page. I was excited about it from my first glance at the page, and the video only make me my excitement grow. I’m interested in this project not only because of the possibility of having another high-quality Bible, but also because the 4-volume format. Since I’m a firm believer in the threefold division of the Hebrew canon—Law, Prophets, and Writings—I was smitten and had to back the project. As long as things progress well I should have it in my hands by the end of 2014. The project caught fire across the internet very quickly and has already $120,000+ in pledges from people like me. Another blog I follow, the Bible Design Blog, has an interview with Adam Lewis, who created the Bibliotheca project. Check it out here: Interview with Bibliotheca’s Adam Lewis Greene: Part 1 – Bible Design Blog

Written by Josh Philpot

July 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

Tip on How to Replace Hyphens with En Dashes in MS Word

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Recently I was looking over a paper I had written for a seminary class which conformed to the SBTS Style Manual. This manual is unique to SBTS and is loosely based off of the Chicago Style Manuel (Turabian). But I wanted to submit this paper to a journal, and nearly every biblical studies journal requires SBL Style, also similar to Chicago style but much different from the SBTS style. One difference, for instance, is that SBL style requires en dashes between numerals (Gen 3:14–19) while SBTS style allows for simply hyphens between numbers (Gen 3:14-19). It’s a very small difference, but I guess editors are different people.

So who wants to go through an entire research paper and change all hyphens to en dashes?! I don’t, so after two minutes of googling I found this quick solution for those who use MS Word on a PC or Mac (I happily fall into the latter category):

  1. Go to “Edit” and click on “Find” or “Find and Replace” (or just Ctrl + “F” or Cmd + “F”)
  2. Click on the “Replace” tab
  3. In the “Find what” field type ([0-9])-([0-9])
  4. In the “Replace with” field type \1–\2 (notice the en dash in between, not a hyphen)
  5. Select “Use wildcards”
  6. Click “Replace All”

And there you have it. If you run this script all hyphens between numerals will be replaced with en dashes. If you have hyphens between words they will remain the same. Saved me a bunch of time. Might be helpful for others. Thanks to Phil Gons for the help.

Written by Josh Philpot

December 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Syncing Zotero with multiple computers

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Maybe you’re like me and you have a laptop for when you’re at school and desktop for home. Fortunately, Zotero allows you to sync your sources from both computers automatically. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Create a Zotero.org account here
  2. Once verified, click on the Zotero icon on your Firefox web browser, then the “actions” button, and then “preferences
  3. Click on the “Sync” tab at the top
  4. Type in your username and password for Zotero.org
  5. Make sure “Sync Automatically” and “Sync Attachment Files in My Library using Zotero” are both checked
  6. Open your other computer and type in your log-in information in Zotero “preferences” as before
  7. Close the page and restart Firefox. Click on the Zotero icon again and either wait for Zotero to begin syncing automatically, or start the process by clicking on the “Sync to Zotero Server” button.

I did this on a Mac, so it may look a little different on Windows. The steps are essentially the same. Now every time I add a new source on my laptop it will show on my desktop as well, and visa versa.

Away with you, formatting demons! Be gone!

Written by Josh Philpot

October 30, 2009 at 12:22 am