When we typeset documents for publishing, be it articles, journals or books, there is another important aspect to it, apart from the content: the layout. The hyphenation should be sensible, it should use ligatures properly, and the fonts shouldn't change throughout the document. It is this last quality that can be rather tricky to maintain if you are importing figures into your document.

In Computer Science there's a fairly prevalent need to create illustrations of graphs-no, not the ones plotting x- and y-values on a grid, rather the one with vertices and edges-and we can use software solutions such as GraphViz to draw our graphs based on fairly concise specifications. However, as always, there's a catch: GraphViz presumes that we're doing everything using TimesRoman at point size 12. This invariably leads to a problem if we are using Garamond at point size 11, namely that the fonts differ between your document text and your illustrations and you have lost some of the quality of the layout, much like you would have lost some of the quality of your content if you consequently forgot to place commas everywhere.

Solving this is incidentally part of my latest paper, Workflow optimisation for graph illustrations (PDF), where I look at synchronising the fonts between GraphViz and documents that are typeset in LaTeX. The paper will also be linked from the research section sometime in the near future when the need to update the different pages of my site strikes me. For those of you who are interested in learning more about what LaTeX may do for you, I will look at the possibility of running a series of posts on packages in LaTeX you can use to alleviate a lot of your problems, for tweaking your layout, and to create stunning output, but don't hold your breath waiting for these posts. They keep me busy at the university.