This program is a well-done adaptation of classic DOS TexCAD to the Windows platform.
TeXCAD for Windows is a drawing program that provides a visual way to produce pictures in LaTeX picture environments. It virtually eliminates the need to remember the way LaTeX encodes pictures as most types of pictures can be generated quickly with TeXCAD.
TeXCAD for Windows is freely available for download.
Drawing pictures using LaTeX picture environments.
Target Student Population:
Anyone using LaTeX who wants to include figures in a presentation.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Familiarity with LaTeX.
Type of Material:
Computer aided drawing of simple figures to be included in Tex documents.
Evaluation and Observation
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Grid-based drawing program with a default grid in millimeters. Step length for the mouse can be adjusted under Options (Zoom Factor). A zoom factor of 10 provides steps of length 1/10 mm.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Supports all functions that are available through the LaTeX picture environment. Function is selected via self-explanatory pull-down menus
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Except for some text, TeXCAD for WINDOWS shows a picture that is what LaTeX will produce.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Graphical editing features such as mirror copy and rotated copies.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? For Bezier curves the two tangent lines that determine the curve are displayed.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Circles of any size can be drawn with TeXCAD (this feature of TeXCAD32 was not accessible in recent Windows versions because TeXCAD32 would not run)
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? A feature that allows to connect objects so that when one is dragged, then the others adjust would be nice. This may strongly clash with the limited number of slopes of lines that LaTeX allows though,
so it is understandably not available.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? For fine tuning, it would be nice if one could move the cursor one step at a time with the cursor keys. (This was helpful in the original TeXCAD.)
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Generation of LaTeX picture environments, which are sufficient for many mathematical graphics and very compact.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Several functions (lines with any slope, bezier vectors) are geared towards eradicating some of the LaTeX picture environment?s limitations.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? TeXCAD for WINDOWS interfaces with MiKTeX to allow preview of the actual LaTeX picture for a very efficient edit-view-edit cycle.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? The tips of bezier vectors sometimes do completely cover the end of the Bezier curve and a little stub sticks out of the triangle that is the tip of the arrow. This occurs only for high curvature near the tip of the vector and going into the code for the picture environment can fix this problem easily.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Simple, matter-of-fact documentation included in English (dvi format).
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? Once it is started the interface is highly intuitive. Mouse movements plus the left button (select) and the right button (escape/cancel) are all that is needed to run the whole application.
style='mso-list:Ignore'>? TeXCAD is an executable that can be started through Windows Explorer, My Computer or on the command line. Shortcuts can be created.
Other Issues and Comments:
The original TeXCAD is a program back from the days when DOS was the operating system on PCs. TeXCAD was firmly ahead of its time. The limitations of TeXCAD are mostly the limitations of the LaTeX picture environment, so they cannot be held against this program. The new WINDOWS version eradicates just about all problems that the reviewers saw in the original program.
The author is planning to further improve the program and add some of the features mentioned in this review.