How Mellel has failed me

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mathefff
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How Mellel has failed me

Post by mathefff » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:04 am

Dear All,

I would like to tell you a story.
I wrote a scientific article in the combination of Mellel and Bookends with some issues but overall it was a pleasant experience. Until exporting. First of all, Mellel does not support .docx export. From the supported file types, I could only choose .rtf or .doc. I tried both.

My article in .mellel format is approximately 17 MB. It has equations, pdf graphs and one tiff figure. Upon exporting it to either .rtf or .doc the file size increased to 156 MB! My settings included the convertion of vector graphics at 300 dpi which is a standard quality for scientific journals.

I have tried to downgrade the dpi of vector graphics to 100 dpi. The file size got down to something 77 MB, but... When I opened it in Microsoft Word to correct the misalignments and saved the changes, the file size bumped up to 198 MB... Besides, the equations, which were imported vector graphics (because Mellel does not have equation support even if they boldly show equations in a scientific document in one of their examples which you can see during the trial!), are basically not readable.

I have tried not to open the file in Microsoft Word and smuggle the misalignments to the journal. Nope, when you export the document and have numbered equations, the number shoot somewhere way off. In my case, into the middle of other paragraphs with Mellel trying to nicely wrap the text around "(1)" and so forth. That is not acceptable.

So I tried grouping the numbering and the equations. Guess what? You cannot select two obects like equation (vector image) and text (numbering in the (1) format) which means Mellel does not support grouping! Or it is somewhere in a convoluted place and I was already sick and tired of that software to look for it thouroughly...

All this happened on the they of submission.
Phew, now I feel better: (i) I have unloaded my frustration with the software, (ii) I warned other scientists trying to write their paper in Mellel.

Some more issues I have mentioned in the beginning:
1. I used Bookends extensively to build my bibliography with Live Bibliography function of Mellel. At some point, I had to change the style of bibliography due to the change of the journal. When I wanted to unscan the document via the icons in the inspector, they were greyed out! Not clickable. After some search, I have found a duplicate function for unscanning under EDIT > BIBLIOGRAPHY. Guess what? That worked! The icon does not work but the menu does! I asked in the support and they say the icons do not work when Live Bibliography is switched on. But the meny item does work with it on. Where is the logic?

2. Trying to do the numbering of equations was a nightmare... Basically, you do not have any option except for adding a new text box which you cannot easily align (no guides), will most likely cut the text if you do not manually expand, and 100% it will jump in some strange place when you try to export to any type of file except PDF. Okay, that does happen in other programs as well. But there, you can group such equation and the number and they stick together. At least, if they moved upon exporting or changes, you can easily adjust just one item.

---
If any of the issues are easily solved in Mellel, I will be more than glad to hear about the solutions. I do not claim 100% it is impossible. It is, though, 100% not obvious to find.

Kind regards,
Mateusz

ealvarez
Knows everything, can prove it
Posts: 123
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Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by ealvarez » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:10 pm

Exporting to .docx is a long awaited feature. Should solve many headaches.

macsailor
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Location: Linköping, Sweden

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by macsailor » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:16 am

mathefff wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:04 am

1. I used Bookends extensively to build my bibliography with Live Bibliography function of Mellel. At some point, I had to change the style of bibliography due to the change of the journal. When I wanted to unscan the document via the icons in the inspector, they were greyed out! Not clickable. After some search, I have found a duplicate function for unscanning under EDIT > BIBLIOGRAPHY. Guess what? That worked! The icon does not work but the menu does! I asked in the support and they say the icons do not work when Live Bibliography is switched on. But the meny item does work with it on. Where is the logic?
If you use Bookends and Mellel with the feature »Live Bibliography» turned on, the icons will be greyed out. Unselect the »Live Bibliography» and you will be able to unscan the document.

I have no idea why it was possible to unscan using the EDIT > BIBLIOGRAPHY.
Peter Edwardsson
..............................
Truth is not always popular, but it is always right.

mathefff
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Joined: Sat May 05, 2018 5:55 am

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by mathefff » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:22 am

Yes, this is why I put the sentence "I asked in the support and they say the icons do not work when Live Bibliography is switched on."

macsailor
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Posts: 361
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Location: Linköping, Sweden

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by macsailor » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:51 am

mathefff wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:22 am
Yes, this is why I put the sentence "I asked in the support and they say the icons do not work when Live Bibliography is switched on."
Sorry, I must have missed that sentence. :oops:
Peter Edwardsson
..............................
Truth is not always popular, but it is always right.

yinglam
Got the auto-title mojo working
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:38 am

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by yinglam » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:06 am

Even if Mellel has produced a capacity of exporting to docx, would the limitation of RTL language in MS Word limit the quality of the exported docx? I am currently 'suffering' from a long thesis in which many of my Hebrew writings have been distorted. As far as I know, the export function of Acrobat pro also suffers from RTL limitation, which makes it become a failed detour in its export from Mellel to docx.

ealvarez wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:10 pm
Exporting to .docx is a long awaited feature. Should solve many headaches.

redlers
Site Admin
Posts: 196
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Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by redlers » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:22 am

Dear Mateusz,

(this is Ori Redler from Mellel)

First, I'm sorry that you've had such an experience with Mellel.

Second, regarding what you've written: I'll assume that most of the "inflating" of your .doc or .rtf exported files is due to images (mainly .tiff images). There are two options to handle those: you can either compress them (as Mellel does on-the-fly when you use the compressed (as opposed to package) format, and as Microsoft Word, Pages, etc. do) - or not. Either way, at some point along the way, the file will ALWAYS inflate to about the file size you've mentioned, unless the images come in a more concise format (like png or a vector based format).

You may be able to test this if: Open Mellel's preferences and under the Open and Save check Save Format: Save documents as packages. Then, open and re-save the document. Now, in the finder, you'll be able to Ctr-click the file and from the context menu open the "package" - and there view the images. You may be able to locate the offending image and change it to a non-lossy image format such as png. Don't forget to uncheck Save format in the preferences when done.

Regarding the locationing of equations and numbering (which I assume are the figure captions: I think those will benefit from doing them using auto-titles. To be honest, images and text boxes should be used with caution and as inline entities if the target is to export to MS Word - the later handles those differently (and badly, in my opinion, but that's another matter).

Ori

mathefff
New to all this
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Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by mathefff » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:59 am

Dear Ori,

thank you for the response.

Here are my answers:
redlers wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:22 am
Second, regarding what you've written: I'll assume that most of the "inflating" of your .doc or .rtf exported files is due to images (mainly .tiff images). There are two options to handle those: you can either compress them (as Mellel does on-the-fly when you use the compressed (as opposed to package) format, and as Microsoft Word, Pages, etc. do) - or not. Either way, at some point along the way, the file will ALWAYS inflate to about the file size you've mentioned, unless the images come in a more concise format (like png or a vector based format).
As I have mentioned already in my first post, all (nine) of my images were PDFs except for one tiff file. EDIT: The .tiff file is 8.7 MB.
redlers wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:22 am

You may be able to test this if: Open Mellel's preferences and under the Open and Save check Save Format: Save documents as packages. Then, open and re-save the document. Now, in the finder, you'll be able to Ctr-click the file and from the context menu open the "package" - and there view the images. You may be able to locate the offending image and change it to a non-lossy image format such as png. Don't forget to uncheck Save format in the preferences when done.
Currently, Mellel is uninstalled from my machine. Nisus Writer Pro takes its position. I encourage you to test it though.
redlers wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:22 am

Regarding the locationing of equations and numbering (which I assume are the figure captions: I think those will benefit from doing them using auto-titles. To be honest, images and text boxes should be used with caution and as inline entities if the target is to export to MS Word - the later handles those differently (and badly, in my opinion, but that's another matter).
They are not figure captions. If you can tell me how to get the numbering you have in your ACME template with figure captions in Mellel 4, I am all ears. I believe you have made some invisible table there?

Kind regards,
Mateusz

ealvarez
Knows everything, can prove it
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:44 pm

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by ealvarez » Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:35 pm

Currently, Mellel is uninstalled from my machine. Nisus Writer Pro takes its position. I encourage you to test it though.
:roll:

Three posts. Three angry posts. Tssss.

laup
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Location: Topanga, California

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by laup » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:29 pm

I do not have solutions to all the problems mentioned, but some things I have done may resolve SOME of them:

Be sure that all images (including equations) are (1) entered as .pngs, (2) in the format of in-line, and (3) with the wrap button clicked. This is not the default.

The PNG files are much smaller and are not manipulated. Entering such things as in-line with wrap solved a lot of problems for me.

In puzzling about equation numbering, it occurred to me that an option might be using tables (so long as the numbers don't change).
Paul

mlemaire
Got the styles thing figured out
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:58 pm

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by mlemaire » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:30 am

Just a few thoughts that may be useful.

In my experience, inserting images in a text handled by any regular text editor is asking for trouble. This is particularly true for the Microsoft Word. I am sure you know this, but you can export as .doc, open it in Word and then save it as .docx if you wish to deal with this dreaded file format. As far as I know, the formatting is pretty much unaffected, but file size is dramatically reduced (~50% or more).

Since the vast majority of academic journals will gladly accept documents submitted as pdf, my solution is to write with Mellel + Bookends, but generate the final output with Adobe InDesign. You can use the function "place" to keep the overall file size very small because InDesign will insert low res version of your figures inline. When you are ready to export the final document, it will pull the original images and seamlessly insert them in the right place. You can also use "place" with text files although it is not as easy as with images (InDesign will notify you when an image -- but not text -- has been changed). There is a bit of a learning curve but it is definitely worth it, especially if you are already familiar with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. I did my entire Ph.D. dissertation using this approach. Really useful for grant proposals too.

I have been checking out the recently released Nisus Writer Pro 3. Some neat features, but so far the experience with Bookends is definitely not the same.

BTW, I have had no problems using equations generated in MathType and pasted into Mellel. If equations are central to your work, you should strongly consider investing in a software like that. Too bad they decided to switch to a subscription model a few months back...

devananda
Got the styles thing figured out
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:00 pm

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by devananda » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm

Why not just use MS Word? If this is the format you need at the end of the day, then why not just use MS Word?

macsailor
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Location: Linköping, Sweden

Re: How Mellel has failed me

Post by macsailor » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:13 pm

devananda wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:13 pm
Why not just use MS Word? If this is the format you need at the end of the day, then why not just use MS Word?
It's just not my cup of tea. I have to use MS Word sometimes, but if I can avoid it, I rather not use it. Has nothing to do with that MS Word is from Microsoft, more than MS word is not my kind of tool. I write and work better with both Mellel and Nisus Writer Pro. I even use Pages and Google Documents sometimes, but neither MS Word nor Pages or Google Docs is doing what I want to do when I'm writing.

I know very well that most people today use MS Word or Google Docs, and that both Mellel and NWP is quite odd birds in the garden. But I prefer these writing tools, even if it sometimes can be problems when I have to send documents to people that are using other writing tools. If they just need to read the paper, I send it as pdf. If they need to work with the text or the paper, I send it as rtf.
Peter Edwardsson
..............................
Truth is not always popular, but it is always right.

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