Guide for setting up your Mac OS to write technical papers

My daughter is starting college this week. We bought her a Mac Book Air. This page is dedicated to first-year college students.

Starting college (or graduate school) means doing a lot of homework, writing papers, citing your sources, and conducting calculations or technical analyses. Fortunately, with an integrated set of open source programs, your documentation workflow and production can be accomplished efficiently and with high quality. This approach saves time (and maybe money!).

1 Key installations

  1. Install MacTeX from https://tug.org/mactex/mactex-download.html. MacTeX the Mac OS version of TeX Live—a program for creating typeset, publication-ready PDF documents using LaTeX.
  2. Install R from from https://cran.rstudio.com/bin/macosx/. R is a programming environment for statistical computing and graphics.
  3. Install RStudio Desktop from https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/. RStudio is a popular Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for running R.
  4. Install BibDesk from https://bibdesk.sourceforge.io/. BibDesk is a bibliographic management program for BibTeX—a bibliographic file format and process for generating in-paper citations and end-of-paper bibliographic references.
  5. Install Pandoc from https://pandoc.org/installing.html. Pandoc enables multi-channel publishing (to and from .Rmd, .html, .pdf, .md, .doc, etc.). For us, it will enable citations and bibliographies.

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Tomás J. Aragón
Health Officer, City & County of San Francisco; Director, Population Health Division

I exercise legal authority to protect and promote equity and health, and I direct core public health services.

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