How to use HieroTex on Mac OS X
If you’ve not yet installed HieroTex on your Mac, please read the installation guide first…
Typesetting hieroglyphs, just a matter of practice!
Congratulations! You’ve managed to install HieroTex on your Mac! Now you’ve already learned how to type some simple hieroglyphs, but of course there is more to explore! Longer texts or advanced features (column writing, shading signs, etc.) are a bit harder to typeset. Just read the HieroTex documentation carefully and you’ll be able to typeset some beautifully Ancient Egyptian texts… It is actually also a good idea to compare the .tex-file of the documentation with the pdf-file of it (both come with the installation files). The documentation itself also uses a lot of advanced typesetting so it can be very instructive to look at the Tex-code.
Unfortunately, typesetting hieroglyphs is not that easy, because you have to type specific codes for each hieroglyph (named after their phonetic value or their Gardiner Code). But you‘ll learn them soon enough after some hours of hieroglyph typesetting. Just look at the following three screenshots I made after some hours of work: screenshot 8 is the Latex-file I've typed and screenshots 9 and 10 are the two first pages of the resulting pdf. Nice, isn‘t it? (For the curious people: it‘s a document with hieroglyphic transcriptions of fragment of some hieratic texts like Papyrus Prisse (‘The Teaching of Ptahhotep’) and Papyrus Ebers (a medical text).
My hieroglyphic typesetting set-up
As you’ve probably already noticed from the above explanation, you’re not just working in one application and one window when typesetting hieroglyphs. The way I work (but here may be other and better ways of course), is the following (screenshot 11). I use 3 windows:
Indeed, you’ll make adjustments more than you would think. You will soon enough find out that you won’t be able to edit the Latex files without any errors (at least when you’re just starting to learn it). First of all, you can make an error in your hieroglyphic code (e.g. you typed ‘hpr’ instead of ‘xpr’), sesh will abort with an error message which gives you the exact error and the line where it occurred. And when Latex encounters even only one little error (e.g. you forgot to type a closing ‘}’ after a command), it won’t output a dvi-file and you won’t be able to generate the pdf-file (screenshot 12). In such cases, Sesh or Latex will always warn you that there are some errors and they’ll usually tell you exactly what is wrong (e.g. Sesh can give a message like ‘texte non reconnu: hpr, pres de hpr ligne 7’). If needed, abort the running program with ctrl+d, then look what the error was and correct it in your source file, after which you can again run the set of three commands (sesh, latex, dvipdf) to try if your document is now completely ‘bug-free’. Sometimes this can be a long and frustrating process…
Using the above method for running sesh, latex and dvipdf is not very useful: typing a couple of commands or copy and paste it every time is certainly not the fastest way to get your hieroglyphs on screen. I’ve only worked this way the first couple of weeks I used HieroTex, because I soon enough found there is a faster and easier way… Therefore, you can use the shell script htx2tex, which combines the different steps in just one command. If you haven’t installed it yet, please return to the installation instructions and install it first.
Now, forget about all those sesh and latex commands, here’s how you have to use the script and how you will be typesetting hieroglyphs from now on (this is the help-page from the script, which can be opened at any time by just typing htx2tex --help in a Terminal window):
This script processes htx-files through sesh, latex (and dvipdf). htx2tex is (c) 2004 Filip Vervloesem (email@example.com). More information about how to use this script can be found at:
This script is written and tested on Mac OS X 10.3.4 using bash. The following applications need to be installed in order to function: sesh, latex, dvipdf, perl and some common utilities such as grep, sed and awk. It may or may not function on older versions of Mac OS X, in different shells or on other UNIX-based operating systems.
Usage: htx2tex [filename] [output-format] [clean-option]
e.g. "htx2tex ct80.htx pdf clean" generates a pdf-file and removes all temporary files used by Latex (e.g. aux-, log-, and tocfiles to name a few).
Note that only the first argument is required. Without a valid filename ending in .htx, the script won't run and prompt a usage reminder. If you do not enter any of the two valid options for the second and third argument, htx2tex will use the default ones, being dvi and noclean.
e.g. "htx2tex ct80.htx" generates a dvi-file and doesn't remove any temporary files, which is the same as "htx2tex ct80.hts dvi noclean".
I hope the htx2tex script is useful for you, and will save you a lot of time compared with manually entering all the necessary commands… It took me a lot of hours to write and test it, together with a lot of time for learning shell scripting basics. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions concerning htx2tex, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I’m currently further improving htx2tex for making hieroglyphic editing even more straightforward, but the most recent version of the script is not very reliable yet so it’s not yet available for download. (It is version 1.52, the one available here is not yet numbered but it should be something like 0.9 I suppose.) Some features that might be included in the next version available here are:
If you have any other suggestions to improve htx2tex, I’d likie to hear them and I can include them too (if it’s not too difficult of course: e.g. a wysiwyg-interface for HieroTex is something I wouldn’t even know how to make…)
Where to go from here
Now, if you actually want something like the examples in screenshots 9 and 10 (i.e. more than just pages with only hieroglyphs on it), you’ll also have to learn Latex. This is not as easy as today’s word processors (like MS Word or OpenOffice Writer), but it’s definitely worth the effort! You can take a look at the Tex User Group website for some tutorials to start. As an excellent introduction to Tex’s capabilities and its basic functionality's, I can recommend you ‘The not so Short Introduction to LaTeX2e’, which can be downloaded in several languages as pdf-, PostScript- or Tex source file (download the document here). By the way, there are also packages for writing Coptic or Arabic in Latex, which can be also very useful for the Egyptologist. But that’s a whole other story…
Many thanks to…
Finally I want to thank some persons who have tried (and succeeded!) to tackle the compiling/installation problem for me: J. Sabbe, J. Leys and K. Vervloesem. The previous shell script htx2pdf is made by K. Vervloesem, which was a helpful example for me when writing the more advanced htx2tex script. A great help was also the MacAtKul-forum, which was nice place to look for some more experienced people…
©2005 F. Vervloesem.