Typography for writing focus and reading flow

Typography affects writing as much as it affects reading.  Yet paradoxically, the fonts that help me to write are not always those that are best for reading. For example, for email, I have recently discovered Avenir which practically forces composing short and clean email messages:


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How reference managers could help is in our thinking process rather than just hold our libraries…

I must admit I don’t seem to be perfectly happy with what reference manager software have to offer. I am probably unjust and have high expectations. After all, they are ‘reference managers’ and in that sense they are already over-performing. Originally they were only intended to help scholars keep bibliographical data in one place (electronically) so that when they needed to add citations to their documents they be at hand rather than having to go through piles of print-outs to track down the sources. In that function they now fit very nicely (almost seamlessly) into the academic writing workflow. Is that simply their well-defined little niche? Or could they become more useful than that? Continue reading

Posted in Annotation, Bibliographies, Notes | Tagged , | 33 Comments

5 Typography essentials for academic texts

Typography can affect everything from the mood of a text to how convincing its arguments are. When self-publishing a thesis or working paper, or even in preparing a piece for review it’s good to follow these rules to make your texts as readible and visually pleasing as possible.

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Posted in Graphics, Writing | Tagged | 8 Comments

Should PowerPoint be banned?

Aleh Cherp:

I have recently spoken about inappropriate uses of Microsoft Word to my students. The slightly scared students started to fear that I downgrade everyone who dares to use any Microsoft products, for example PowerPoint. I don’t. But here are a few relevant thoughts for new readers of Macademic.

Originally posted on Academic workflows on a Mac:

My favorite podcaster Lucy Kellaway went into an open attack on PowerPoint (for those who wonder, Power Point is Windows presentation software also used by Mac users who have not discovered Apple Keynote). Not only did Lucy join the Anti-Power Point Party (APPP) , but she also proposed to create a terrorist wing that would cut the cables connecting laptops to the projectors.

Another FT journalist, Tim Harford defended PowerPoint. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to Lucy and I admire how masterfully Tim does it.

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Steve Jobs’ lesson on email and job priorities

Some of Steve Jobs’ lessons on email and job priorities were captured by Lucy Kellaway of Financial Times  in 2010, about a year before his death. I especially enjoy this one:

"The first lesson is about brevity. Her initial message was 
473 words. His was 12."

P.S. This is a reblog of a post from Macademic’s early days. 

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Renaming and moving files from within apps in Mavericks

I have previously written about Mountain Lion’s mini-revolution of renaming and moving files from within apps. Well, Mavericks went further. All you need to do now is to click on the file name at the top of the page and then type a new name and select a new location and even tag the file. If you want to keep a copy of the file with the old name and location just press ⌘⇧S. There is really no excuse left for not having your files properly named, stored and tagged!


Posted in Tags and folders | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Taking full advantage of Scrivener’s power for short writing: Streamlining research and writing

Recently, I’ve been writing shorter pieces and have developed a new workflow in Scrivener. At the beginning of a writing session, I work on the text which I’m prepared to write (i.e. I have all the references and ideas fleshed out in an outline). At a certain point though, I lose power with writing and find myself searching for references or outlining ideas.

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