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2007.11.22

Cover Letters for Publications in LaTeX

I admit it. Although I compose most of my journal publications in LaTeX, I use Microsoft Word for writing the cover letters. The university's letterhead is provided in Word, and setting up and compiling a LaTeX document for a single text page is not worth the trouble.

However, a cover letter I was writing today was an exception. The corresponding paper is a major revision of a submission; about half of the text is new or updated material. Describing these changes in the cover letter proved challenging, because I kept referring to sections, tables, figures, and equations that I was moving around. Using the symbolic labels I had defined in the document would really help, allowing me to write things like:

Table \ref{tab:id} has been expanded to include the six largest systems,
while the values for all 32 systems now appear in the new Figure
\ref{fig:unused}.

Using the labels of one document in another proved quite easy. I first filtered with a shell command only the references I was interested in (the newlfm letter style I used was choking on the table of contents commands).

egrep "newlabel|bibcite" paper.aux >labels.aux
I then included the file with those labels in the cover letter.
\input{labels.aux}

I expected to spend a lot of time composing our letterhead in LaTeX, but I adopted a much simpler solution. I converted the Word document to PDF, cropped the PDF page to the size of the letterhead, and included the PDF file as a graphic.

\newsavebox{\Caueb}
\sbox{\Caueb}{\parbox[t]{6 in}{%
\includegraphics[ext=.pdf]{/dds/aueb/dds-en-head}}}
\makelth{AUEB}{\Cheader{\usebox{\Caueb}}}
\lthAUEB
Not the most elegant solution, but it was fast to implement, and, because PDF documents are vector-based, the quality of the end result is indistinguishable from the original.

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Creative Commons License Last modified: Thursday, November 22, 2007 12:30 am
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.