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Document 540

Understanding document shells

Version: 3.x, 4.x, 5.x - Scientific WorkPlace & Scientific Word

Every SWP and SW document is created from a template called a document shell. Each shell carries several sets of specifications that determine its fundamental structure and appearance. Those specifications, and the structure and appearance they define, extend to each new document you create with a given shell.

The Shells directory of your program installation contains over 200 document shells that you can use to create books, exams, articles, reports, letters, theses, faxes, and other documents. The shells have the extension .shl.

Although many are similar, no two shells are exactly alike. Some shells create documents with a structure and components common to books; other shells create documents with a structure and components common to theses, reports, or articles. Certain shells provide for front matter that includes only a short title section, other shells provide a title page, table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, acknowledgments, and preface. Some shells create double-spaced, single-column pages; others create single-spaced, double-column pages. Many but not all shells provide item tags for theorem environments—such as theorems, lemmas, corollaries, propositions, and conjectures.

Each document shell is associated with several sets of specifications. One set, the typesetting specifications, determines the document class and fundamental structure of the shell and any documents created with the shell. Typesetting specifications govern type face; type size; margins; page size; line spacing; location and appearance of headers, footers, and section headings; paragraph layout; indention; page breaks; automatic generation of cross-references, table of contents, and other document elements; and many other typographic details. Most of the specifications are contained in LaTeX formatting files with extensions of .cls, .clo, and .sty, although others may be contained in your document. Regardless of whether you create a DVI file or, in Version 5.5, a PDF file when you typeset, this collection of specifications governs the typeset appearance of your document.

When you open a new document, you select a document shell. The program opens a new document and copies the shell into it, along with the shell's typesetting specifications, style, page setup, and print options. Until you change it in some way, the new document is identical to the shell. It has the same class and structure, uses the same LaTeX packages, and produces the same appearance in print. You can tailor the shell to your needs and save the shell for subsequent use.

See also

Last revised 05/31/06

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