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                     README.TXT FOR LaTeX Launcher Ver: 1.4.1
                               by Gregory Gutt

I.   Description of LaTeX Launcher
II.  How to install and configure LaTeX Launcher
III. Tips on using LaTeX Launcher
IV.  Good complementary software available on the Internet
V.   License/Copying/Distributing
VI.  Disclaimer
VII. Revision changes

*                     I.  Description of LaTeX Launcher                  *

LaTeX Launcher is a simple configurable shell utility to integrate and 
"Launch" programs from various sources.  It is designed to work within
Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 (it has been tested with both).  Although it can
launch almost any type of program (DOS or Windows), it has few features
that are specialized for the LaTeX user.

There are a total of 18 user configurable buttons that can be customized
by editing a simple text file (lalaunch.cfg).  In addition there
are several variables that can be passed to other programs.  The variables
include things like: file names, paths, and page numbers.  The basic idea is
to give an integrated "feel" to a LaTeX session.  Use your favorite editor,
LaTeX compiler, drawing programs etc.

There are several programs like this available for DOS or OS-2.  However
I am not aware of anything quite like this for Windows.  (This may
simply be ignorance on my part).

This program is shareware (see section V).  However, I promise there are
no hidden `doomsday' clocks or nag screens in the program.  In other
words, if you don't register the program it will continue to function 
normally; although your conscience may bother you.

*                II(a).  Installing LaTeX Launcher                       *

There are a total of 4 files distributed with LaTeX Launcher.  The
first 3 are required for the program to run properly.

          1. lalaunch.exe    Main executable program
          2. lalaunch.cfg    Configuration text file
          3. vbrun300.dll    Needed for visual basic 3.0 programs
          4. readme.txt      This file (not needed to run) 

All these files should be distributed together.

*  Some FTP Sites do not allow for file 3 to be included in the package. *
*  If your zip package does not include file 3.  Then you must download  *
*  it separately.  This file is available from almost any ftp site.      *   
*  Typically the file is called:                            *

To install, create a directory for LaTeX Launcher (example: c:\lalaunch).  
Copy files 1,2 and 4 to this directory.  File 3 should go in the 
(\windows\system) directory.  There is a pretty good chance that this
file is already there.   If it is there, check the file dates and
keep the most recent release.  (If your feeling lazy, you can just 
copy file 3 to the same directory as files 1,2 and 4.)

Finally, add LaTeX Launcher to your windows environment.

Windows 3.1:
  Select an appropriate Windows group by clicking on it within 
  the program manager.  Under the "File" menu in the program manager 
  select "New".  Pick "Program Item".  Then fill in the blanks.  
  (Here, I am using my example directory, you should use the directory 
  path that you created above.)

  Description:        LaTeX Launcher
  Command Line:       c:\lalaunch\lalaunch.exe
  Working Directory:  c:\lalaunch
  If you did everything correctly you should see a new icon (looks
  like a sling shot) appear within the selected group.  Double clicking
  this icon should activate the program.

Windows 95:
  Go To the Start Button.
       select settings
       select taskbar
       select start menu programs
       select advanced

  you should see a graphical tree of your startup programs.
  leave this hanging for a minute.
  Run the windows "Explore" program (Start button -> Programs -> Explore).
  Find the directory you created above and then find the sling shot 
  icon (or lalaunch.exe).  Drag and drop the icon from explorer into the 
  tree of your startup programs.  For example drop it into the folder 
  labeled "Programs".  Then exit out of both programs (taskbar and 
  explorer).  Next check and see if it worked by going back to the start 
  button and select programs.  The new icon should be visible 
  (in the appropriate branch) of the startup/program tree.

  You may also choose to drag and drop the sling shot icon onto your
  desktop.  In this case it will be on the desktop all the time.

*                  II(b).  Configuring LaTeX Launcher                    *

Configuring LaTeX Launcher is achieved by editing lalaunch.cfg .  You 
can either use your favorite editor or you can do this from within
LaTeX Launcher by pressing the "Config LL" button (this simply Launches
the Windows notepad *if it is where I expected it to be* .  (If the 
Config LL Button doesn't work... don't panic, I am probably assuming an
incorrect path for your editor.  (Just run your editor manually and make sure
you fix up the information on Button 18).

If you change the config file while LaTeX Launcher is running, save
the file and push the reset button.  This closes down the program
and restarts it from scratch (with the revised config information).  

  The "*" at the beginning of a line implies a comment. The rest of the
    line is ignored.
  The "|" Symbol must be used at the end of any valid entry.  It means
    end of line.  Anything after this symbol is ignored.
  Blank lines are ignored.
  The "+" Symbol is removed at run time.  It simply helps you format
    your commands more nicely.  So, A+B looks like AB at run time.
  Do not insert stray blank spaces in your entries, this will mess up
    the parsing.  Use blanks where they are required, but nowhere else.
  Variables names are case sensitive. (Tpath does not equal TPath).
Within lalaunch.cfg there are a number of parameters which are
set in the following manner: parameter=setting|  As an example:


List of configurable parameters:

unset              Name of a program that executes on exit from LaTeX
                     Launcher.  Typically a simple batch file.
bibtexdir          Directory to start looking for .bib files.
msdos              Executes when the MS DOS button is pushed.  Typically
                      \windows\dosprmpt.pif (windows baseline DOS prompt)
work               Directory to start looking for .tex files
junkx (x=0-9)      Ten wild cards that get deleted when the Del Junk button
                      is pressed.  Example: junk0=*.bak|
                      Be careful here.  Anything with these wild cards
                      that is in the selected .tex path (see TPath below)
                      is deleted.
pos                Location of the top left corner of the LaTeX Launcher 
                      window.  %(from left), %(from top).  Valid numbers 
                      are between 0-100 (decimal point is ok).  
                      Example: pos=9.5,3|

Variable that can be used within parameter settings:

TPath              Path selected at run time for the current (.tex) file
TFile              Selected at run time.  TFile just has the base 8 char
                        name, no extension.
TExtn              Extension for the above file (for those that don't
                        use the standard .tex convention)
BPath              Path for selected .bib file
BFile              Selected .bib file (no extension)
BExtn              Extension for above (for those that don't use the
                        standard .bib convention)
PStart             Starting page number (from main screen)
PStop              Stopping page number (from main screen)
SPath              Path the LaTeX Launcher was started from
LLvarX             User defined variables (X=0-9)

Configuring Buttons:

There are 18 configurable buttons.  All are configured using the
same method.


but1=Edit TeX|          Text displayed on the button at run time.  
                           Typically about 10 characters can be displayed.
                           Longer names will just be cut off.
dir1=\junk|             Changes to this directory before execution
                           this can be blank (no dir change: dir1=| )
                        The following configures button 1 to edit
                           the selected .tex file using the Windows 
                           notepad.exe editor.

cmd1=c:\windows\notepad.exe TPath+\+TFile+.tex|

Note the added "\" character between TPath and TFile.

If you want to leave a button open, just leave the parameters blank.

but2=|   Empty
To execute complicated or multiple commands, the best thing to do is write 
your own small batch file and run the batch using LaTeX Launcher.  
Example (Run the EmTeX version of the LaTeX compiler):

cmd3=c:\emtex\lalatex.bat TFile|

The file lalatex.bat might look like this:

    echo off
    call \emtex\set-tex.bat
    c:\emtex\compiler\tex386.exe -mt8000 -s &latex2e %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6

Thus we have written a batch file that runs another batch file first
(set-tex.bat) then compiles TFile.

*                        III.  Tips and Tricks                           *

Question- I want to use the "+" or "|" characters within a command, but
          this messes up the parsing of LaTeX Launcher.

Answer-   Write a batch file.  Put these characters in the batch file.
          Run the batch file from LaTeX Launcher.

Question- How do I hook up a windows help file to a button?

Answer-   cmd1=c:\windows\winhelp.exe c:\hlpfile.hlp|

Question- I don't have the original TEX file, but I want to view a DVI
          file without an error message.

Answer-   Use the TeX File dialog box.  Change the extension to DVI and
          select your DVI file.  Now, TFile has the correct name of your
          DVI file, and the rest should be easy. Obviously don't try to 
          run the latex compiler.

Question- I am using EmTeX.  Each time I Launch a new DOS application
          it forgets all the EmTeX Environment variables.

Answer-   Look at the example above (section II).  Call set-tex.bat
          to reset the environment before you run your other commands.
          Or you can configure your environment in the autoexec.bat
          at startup.

Question- What is a good thing to do with the unset parameter?

Answer-   Some programs, such as set-tex.bat actually reconfigure
          your DOS environment.  In general this is no big deal, since
          Windows will forget any changes to the DOS environment as soon
          as the DOS window is closed.  However there are a few
          exceptions.  The subst command can reconfigure your drive
          lettering scheme permanently.  A good use for unset is a 
          batch file that undoes the "mess" from set-tex.bat.

          Example: unset.bat
          subst r: /d
          subst s: /d

          This batch file deletes the two substituted drives r: and s: 

Question- I am using Windows 3.1 and I want more control over the DOS
          Window when I run DOS programs. 

Answer-   Don't run the program directly.  Instead use the Windows PIF 
          editor and configure a PIF file to your needs.  Have the .pif 
          file call your program.  The PIF file allows you to configure
          a few key parameters such as: window size, memory allocation,
          background execution, and close on exit.

          In general these are good defaults:
                 Run in windowed mode
                 Close on exit
                 Allow background operation
                 Leave the memory stuff as is (Windows defaults)

          A Quick and dirty way to implement this involves editing 
                 the PIF default file (\windows\_default.pif).
                 However, this is not desirable unless you are happy
                 with the new settings for all your Windows calls to DOS.

          In Windows 95 configuring the DOS PIF is much more transparent.
          Each time you run a DOS program for the first time.  You can
          configure the PIF parameters and Windows will remember your

Question: Can you make EmTeX work as a real Windows program instead of
          running from a DOS window?

Answer:   Yes, you need a program called RSXWIN.EXE (available on the
          internet).  The LaTeX Launcher command looks like this-

            * cmd2=c:\emtex\rsxwin.exe -X 
            * c:\emtex\compiler\tex386.exe -mt8000 -s &latex2e TFile|
          The two lines with the * should be on one line.  Your
          directory structure may very.  Also RSXWIN takes some setup
          of its own.
Question: I am using program x and it can't find file y when I call it
          from your program.

Answer:   Many LaTeX programs require very very careful placement
          of files in specific directories.  Additionally, DOS Environment 
          variables need to be set correctly (see example above with

          If you want to set your environment permanently (and have it
          available from DOS and Windows) consider adding all the 
          relevant "set" commands to your autoexec.bat file.

*                    IV.  Good Software on the Net                       *

Here are a few excellent programs on the Internet that can be downloaded 
via FTP.  They all are great additions to any Windows/LaTeX system. 

** I am not affiliated with any of these people or there software.  Use ** 
** this software under the conditions that are specified within each    **
** respective package!  Use at your own risk!                           **

Available through: tex-archive\systems\msdos\4alltex
Emtex               LaTeX package created in Germany,  A must!
RSXWIN              Allows EmTeX to work as a true windows program
                      instead of running under a DOS Window (runs faster
                      and uses less memory)
DVIPS               Converts DVI files to Post Script (good for including
                      Pictures). **Windows Version Available**
PSFIG               Good way to include PS figures in your documents
Ghost Script        Allows you to view and print PS files to non PS devices
                      like your screen or an HP LaserJet Series II printer.
                      ** Windows Version Available **
Am-Spell            LaTeX compatible spelling program.  Won't get hung up 
                      on all your LaTeX commands.
DVIWIN              Excellent DVI previewer for Windows.

Available through:

PFE                 A great editor for Windows
GS26WGUI            A user friendly interface for Windows Ghost Script
PageDraw            Good drawing program that works with PS files
LaTeX2e.hlp         Windows Help file for Latex, complete with examples.
                      This is great!  Easy to hook into LaTeX Launcher 

*                    V.  License/Copying/Distributing                    *

LaTeX Launcher is shareware.  If you continue to use this program for
more than 30 days you are legally obligated to register.

Registration, send $20 to:

                            Gregory Gutt
                            2250 Monreoe St. #311
                            Santa Clara, CA 95050

U.S. Currency please.  Make checks payable to Gregory Gutt.

When you register please include:

                            A check for $20
                            Your name (and company name if appropriate) 
                            e-mail address

I will send a confirmation that you are a registered user. Registered 
users will be automatically notified (via e-mail) of updates and bugs.
By registering for any version of LaTeX Launcher you will automatically 
be registered (free of charge) for any future versions.

e-mail comments and questions to:


You may copy and distribute this program all you like.  In fact, PLEASE
copy and distribute.  All ORIGINAL versions of the files below MUST 
be distributed together:

                          * vbrun300.dll

If your distribution did not come with vbrun300.dll, it is ok to 
leave this out.  However, since it is needed for the program to run,
I prefer that this file be included whenever possible.
*                            VI.  Disclaimer                             *

I really tried to make this program bug free.  However, one can never
be sure.  If this program destroys your files, hard disk, computer,
or your mind, I am not responsible.  The program comes as is with
no expressed or implied warranty.  If you do not except this disclaimer 
than do not use the software.

*                            Revisions                                   *

Ver 1.0-1.1     No releases to the public.
Ver 1.2         First public release.
Ver 1.3         Added exit button.  Allows for double click to select
Ver 1.3.1       Fixed problem with changing paths when path was on a
                drive other than that of LaTeX Launcher (ie. TPath).
                Also program no longer quits when a drive is not ready.
Ver 1.4         Fixed minor bug with the reset button.
                Added pos command which allows for user selectable window
                  placement on the screen.
                Allowed for user selectable extensions in the file 
                  dialog box (TExtn, BExtn).
                Made buttons work more logically when selected with
                  keyboard rather than with the mouse.
		Allowed for user variables in the config file.
Ver 1.4.1       Fixed bug with file selection involving files with
                  less than 3 characters in their extension.

*                             Thanks!                                    *

Thank You, for registering and distributing LaTeX Launcher!  I hope this
program is useful for you.

Gregory Gutt 


Name Size Date Notes
lalaunch.cfg 5259 1996-01-03 01:00:00
lalaunch.exe 568906 1996-01-03 01:00:00
readme.txt 20864 1996-01-03 01:00:00
vbrun300.dll 398416 1996-01-03 01:00:00
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