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10.1.1 Creating Well-formatted Documents

Before authoring a document, decide its primary audience. If the document contains relatively simple content, e.g., no mathematical equations etc. and is primarily targeted at the web, you are probably better off using HTML. You can create well-structured HTML documents with the help of package nxml-mode for editing XML documents. Another option is to use org-mode to create a Wiki-like text document that can be easily published to multiple output formats including HTML.

Packages org-mode and nxml-mode are speech-enabled by Emacspeak to provide auditory icons, structured navigation and outlines, as well as voice locking for audio formatted feedback as you work.

If the document being authored is more complex, you are usually better off creating it in LaTeX. Note that LaTeX documents can be converted to HTML either via package tex4ht — available on the WWW.

The TeX family of typesetting languages is suitable for producing well-formatted documents in an eyes-free environment. Unlike WYSIWYG environments, the author of a TeX or LaTeX document works with the content of the document, leaving it to the formatting system (TeX) to format the document for good visual presentation.

The AUCTeX package is an Emacs extension that facilitates authoring and maintaining structured documents in TeX and LaTeX. Package bibtex facilitates maintenance and use of bibtex bibliography databases. The Texinfo package allows creation of software documentation that is suitable for both printing as well as online viewing as hypertext. Emacspeak speech-enables packages AUCTeX, bibtex and texinfo to provide convenient spoken feedback as you create documents. For details on using these packages, see their accompanying online info documentation.

As the document preparation system of choice, Emacspeak supports a fluent speech-enabled interface to editing and formatting LaTeX documents. This interface is provided by speech-enabling AUCTeX mode.

Mode AUCTeX provides efficient keyboard shortcuts for inserting and maintaining LaTeX markup as a document is being authored. All of these editing commands provide succinct auditory feedback when used with Emacspeak. The syntax coloring provided by this mode is extended to provide voice locking — consequently, Emacspeak uses different voices to speak the embedded markup to set it apart from the content.

Mode AUCTeX can be used to create empty document templates and to insert document content at the appropriate places in the template. The mode also enables structured navigation of the document as it is being edited. Emacspeak speech-enables these template creation and structured navigation commands to produce auditory icons and succinct spoken feedback. For example, while editing, the user can quickly browse through the sections of the document and have each section title spoken. Document elements such as paragraphs and bulleted lists can be manipulated as logical units. These features are especially relevant in an eyes-free environment where the user needs to select logical parts of the document without having to point at portions of a visual display.

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