UMalayaThesis updated to v1.2 for Guidelines (2015)

Sigh, so I finally realised and managed to find the 2015 version of the UM thesis guidelines!!!

So I’ve updated the .cls and .tex (changes to existing v1.1.2), which includes the following updates:

  • Added a \faculty field
  • \makecoverandtitlepage now takes an option to output the
    relevant statement on the title page
  • Chapter headings are now single line, with less spacing after
    the chapter title.
  • Bibliography entries are now explicitly 0.5 inch indented and
    with really wide double spacing between entries.
  • Re-ordered elements in thesis.tex to match the updated guide.

You can download umalaythesis v1.2 from here, or from Bitbucket and Github, or open it as a an online project on Overleaf.

USMThesis Updated (Again)

Following the most recent feedback from the Main Campus, USMThesis has been updated to v1.6.3 today. The changes this time are in usmthesis.tex, where the List of Publications is moved after the appendices (so now Main Campus and Engineering Campus are on the same page now!) Pun unintended.

Looking at the ChangeLog, usmthesis v0.1 was Nov 2005 — so it’s been 10 years!! In fact if anyone wants to host a meetup/talk or something, ping me.

USMThesis Updated

USMThesis has been updated to v1.6.2, following feedback from IPS that the page numbering of appendices should be turned off in the table of contents.

If you already have the template (v1.6.1) from September 2015 and don’t want to re-download the template again now, just add these lines before \appendix in your thesis.tex:

\addtocontents{toc}{\protect\cftpagenumbersoff{part}}
\addtocontents{toc}{\protect\cftpagenumbersoff{chapter}}

Also, from recent feedback, it looks like Main Campus-IPS requires the List of Publications before the abstracts; while the Engineering Campus IPS requires the List of Publications after the appendices. So do check with IPS of your respective campuses before you print your entire thesis!

Another thing — when printing out the PDF, do remember to set paper size to A4, and Scaling to 100% or None in the Print dialog. Many PDF viewer applications would set it to 92% or Fit on page by default, and then the font sizes would come out too small and the page margins too wide!

UPNMThesis — LaTeX document class for Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia Theses

I’ve created a LaTeX document class and template, upnmthesis, for Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), as commissioned by the university’s Centre for Graduate Studies.

It’s also available on Bitbucket, as well as on Overleaf.

The user guide/manual is also my first attempt at using the tufte-book class, as well as minted for the code listings. I must say I like the look!

Malaysian University Thesis Templates on Overleaf

There, I’ve gone and published my thesis document classes and templates on Overleaf (previously writeLaTeX).

At some point I’ll probably get round to uploading the university-themed beamer templates, too. 🙂

(A little more information about Overleaf after the divider and disclaimer)


(Disclaimer: I provide LaTeX-related community support for Overleaf — so you probably won’t want to just take my word for the following; go try it out yourself! 🙂

Overleaf provides an online collaborative environment for authoring and publishing research using LaTeX. One nice thing about Overleaf is the rich text mode — which hides most LaTeX stuff from collaborators who are not familiar with it.

Another nice thing is the commenting facility.

So if you’d like to use LaTeX to write your thesis but your supervisor balks at it, try introducing them to Overleaf’s rich text mode and commenting feature. They just might be convinced!

LaTex & Thesis: FOUR good reasons.

During my degree in 2002, most of my assignments and the final year project report is done in Microsoft Word 97, a WYSIWYG type word processor. For a person first time using a computer (for official reason, other than Daytona USA, minesweeper and the dial-up type internet surfing :)), this what-you-see-is-what-you-get word processor is actually impressive for me on the things it can do, BUT I notice something, some patterns,

  • chances of my computer getting crashed is directly proportional to the importance of the document, for example –  the chances of my computer getting crashed when I’m writing my report for the final year project is HIGHER compared to when I’m a writing a letter to ask permission for motorcycle sticker.
  • chances of my computer getting crashed is inversely proportional to the time left for my deadline, for example – the chances of my computer getting crashed when I’m writing my report for the final year project when the deadline is tomorrow is HIGHER than the deadline 1 week ago.
Well this theory is not proven, this is my ‘syok sendiri teori’. I noticed one thing in common in the patterns above is the size of the documents. My computer actually crashed (this is in 2002, currently in 2014 – it does not crash but it will run in slow motion :)) because it cannot handle the size of my file getting into. A computer crash commonly occurs when a hardware exception occurs that cannot be handled.

This waste my effort and time.

FOUR good reason I found to start using LaTex for my thesis.

ONE. Scalability – As I mentioned earlier – the size of your document. Word (or even Open Office) can get slower when editing large documents with equations and figures. In LaTex, I break my thesis into smaller chunks (like one chapter per file) and then let LaTex combine them altogether. This also lead to more organizable and manageable documents.

An interesting graph from Marko Pinteric showing the relation between document size and effort / time required.

TWO. Support – Excellent support from the web community, one such example is the Malaysian LaTex User Group blog. I can ‘google’ any matter related to LaTex and come up with a solution.

Also local university thesis template is available in LaTex, thanks to good people that created and shared it for free. You can get it from here Malaysian University Thesis LaTex Template.
THREE. Interoperability – LaTex is OS independent. An actual LaTex file is merely a text file, which is just about the most portable format in computing. So I found no problem writing my Chapter 1 in a Fedora system and then shared it with my supervisor in a Windows system.
FOUR. Quality – This is my personal belief and maybe few others, I feel that documents produced using LaTex looks better and more professional compared to Word, especially if it involved mathematical equations and algorithms. I will let you to try and decide upon by yourself.

You should NOT use LaTex if,

  1. You don’t have time to learn it. – You’ re reaching a deadline, you better stick with what you know first.
  2. Your document is already written – You had written your thesis in Word and need to submit in two days. Well my friend, I found no good reason to convert to LaTex and submit it.
Excellent write-up from external links.
Just google ‘advantage and disadvantage of LaTex’, you can find so many sources available out there.
  • http://nitens.org/taraborelli/latex
  • http://www.zinktypografie.nl/latex.php?lang=en
  • http://openwetware.org/wiki/Word_vs._LaTeX
  • and many more …
As a conclusion, there is no winner whether its LaTex or Word (or other type of WYSIWYG editor). 
If you need to write a short letter, you are best writing in Word. For simple documents, you can save time by writing in Word or Open Office.
If you are writing a long document like a Master or PhD thesis, I think it is better with LaTex. It will be slower at the beginning (the extra time required to learn LaTex), but at the end it will save a lot of your time and effort.