Notes on typesetting a thesis in Scientific Workplace

Unlike LateX where help and examples are readily available on the internet, the same cannot be said for Scientific Workplace (Sci WP). I started out with Latex and made the switch to Scientific Workplace as one of my papers is co-authored using Scientific Workplace. I use Sci WP and Latex interchangeably now, depending on the occasion. It can get confusing when you have some papers in Sci WP, others in Latex, and your CV/cover letters in Latex as well.

Here are some stuffs you might want to take note if you are compiling your thesis in Sci WP.

For those who are interested, I have attached a master file (in a zip file) for Sci WP that links all the chapters together in a thesis. It was difficult to find any examples out there in Sci WP. So, this might be useful for anyone who needs to use Sci WP. I have not included the various links for the Chapters. However, if you compile the document as usual, you would still be able to do so with some errors. The end product gives you an idea how to typeset a thesis in Sci WP.


1. File type

Remember to save your master document as a portable TeX file and not a Sci WP file. Well, I usually save all my Sci WP documents as portable TeX files, as I use TeX fields in all of them, due to the limitations in Sci WP.


2. Sidewayfigures and captions

As my thesis deals with quite a bit of impulse responses, I have a few sideway figures. This is imposed in the Sci WP document by using the following Tex fields:

Problem: For captions to appear, you require floating figures. But, if you have a sideway figure, you won’t be able to make it a floating one as well. You will basically run into the error “not in outer par mode”.

Solution: From what I understand, the float needs to be outside of the sideway figure. So, use an inline sideway figure instead. Do not use the caption box that comes with the properties of the figure. Instead, define a separate TeX field (\caption) for captions. That way, your captions would appear in the List of Figures.

Basically, this is how your TeX commands should look like when you impose sideway figures and want captions to appear after the figure, and on the List of Figures.

Before the figure
\begin{sidewaysfigure}[htbp] \centering

After the figure

[Short form of caption that will appear in List of Figures] {Caption}


3. BibTex/citation

The “insert->typeset object -> citation” is typically the equivalent of a “\citeasnoun” in Latex. It works well and produces citations that looks like “Diamond and Dvigby (1983)” when you are just compiling a paper.

Problem: However, when you start adding subdocuments into a master document and compile the master document, using that method gives you “(Diamond and Dvigby, 1983)”. I have no idea why it does that.

Solution: To solve the problem, convert all my references citations into TeX fields and use “\citeN{key}” instead. It works well in individual papers as well. So, perhaps you are already using this.


4. Labelling, spacings

To start labelling only from sections, excluding chapters, include “\setcounter{secnumdepth}{1}” in your Preamble. Every sub levels increases the number by 1. So, if you want to label your sub-sub section, you should use “\setcounter{secnumdepth{3}”.

If you want the sub-sub sections to appear in the Contents, include “\setcounter{tocdepth}{3}” in your Preamble.

Use “\captionsetup[table]{belowskip=1pt,aboveskip=1pt}” to control the spacing between your captions and the table. Basically, if you have used TeX commands for captions in Sci WP, you would definitely have to set the space between the caption and the table. Otherwise, you are going to end up with captions that are way too far away from your tables.


5. Don’t trust the spell check

The spell check often doesn’t seem to pick up some errors in words. It is in my view not updated, with some words that are obviously in the dictionary that are not available within the spell check.


6. Bibliography

I use Endnote as my reference manager, Bibtex and Chicago Style in Sci WP. So, basically I use the Endnote (label version) filter to import my references from Endnote into a text file, and converting it into a .bib file.

Problem: I have done an extensive search online on why the capitalisation in the titles of journal articles disappear in the bibliography. At the end of the day, it is basically a problem of exporting references out of Endnote into .bib files.

Solution: As I simply do not have the time to spare, the best way to ensure the capitalisation appears in your titles is to add a {} around each capital letter in your titles. This tells Bibtex to keep those capitalisation.

In the longer term, I would suggest anyone who is deciding on a reference manager and using Latex/Bibtex to switch to reference managers like JabRef. There are some easy one click solutions that tells Bibtex to keep the capitalisation of your titles when exporting it to .bib files. I do not suggest using Endnote. It has corrupted on me way too many times.

Well, very often, you just learn things the harder way!


7. PDF bookmarks

I have read through many theses that just don’t have bookmarks that allows me to skip from Chapter to Chapter, sections to sections. It is really not user friendly. Using the package “hyperref” allows all your Chapters, sections, every single figure and table in your List of Figures/Tables, citations and so on to be linked up. It really makes PDF reading easier.





Leave a Reply