(Updated 10 March 2018.)

Creating a critical edition is a complex process, and the software supporting it is not for the faint of heart. There are several different approaches, not mutually compatible, and you need to think carefully about the final product and its audience before deciding on a working method.

If you wish to produce an edition that may have a life both online and in print, as for the Digital Latin Library, your work will be most useful over the long term by using a version of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) guidelines. Using TEI has meant producing everything from the ground up in the past, but resources such as the TEI Critical Apparatus Toolbox are gradually making it into a viable solution.

If you are producing an edition that you only intend to appear in print, you should consult with your prospective publisher as soon as possible. The author guidelines for Oxford Medieval Texts, the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, Dallas Medieval Texts, and Corpus Christianorum all prefer Microsoft Word files. The process will essentially be that described in M.L. West’s Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique (Stuttgart, 1973). It’s laborious, but it works.

If you need to typeset an apparatus on your own, critical edition typesetting with LaTeX produces the absolute best results possible. The Reledmac package is in active development. If you are taking this approach, you might wish to encode your work using TEI, to allow for wider possibilities in publication; the conversion mechanisms from TEI to print use LaTeX. Many publishers use LaTeX behind the scenes after taking your Microsoft Word file, and are often willing to take submissions in this format on request.

Finally, Classical Text Editor (CTE) offers a graphical interface that some scholars find easier to learn. The CSEL series supports it, and Corpus Christianorum will accept CTE files with advance permission. Although it theoretically has a TEI export function, it remains underdeveloped – due to lack of demand, according to its author. Its true strength is in typesetting a critical edition for print, and in this it nearly matches the levels of quality possible with LaTeX. (LaTeX edges it out through its implementation of the Knuth–Plass line breaking algorithm, which combined with the Microtype package allows for the best automatic paragraph composition available anywhere.)

CTE is a Windows-only program, but there are two approaches to installing it on Mac or Linux systems:

  1. Run a full copy of Windows on your computer using a program such as Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox. This is the only way to produce PDFs from Classical Text Editor.
  2. Use Wine, an open-source package that duplicates the parts of Windows necessary to running its programs, as an alternative to running a full copy of the operating system. The result is not perfect, but allows for everyday modifications of Classical Text Editor documents, and is faster than running a full copy of Windows.

Classical Text Editor running under Wine

Wine does not, unfortunately, come with a polished interface. The best method for using it on the Mac is to install Wine via Homebrew, using the command line. This provides the most up-to-date software and does not involve additional licensing fees. Following these directions, CTE can be installed like any other Windows program. After finishing Part 3 in these steps, run brew install winetricks && winetricks usp10 to install Uniscribe, which enables CTE’s OpenType support. (Alternatively, download a copy of Uniscribe from the CTE website and put the file into the program’s installation folder.)

For a slightly more user-friendly installation method, CrossOver is a commercial package that guides you through the process (but does not improve the functionality of CTE itself). A previous version of this guide recommended WineBottler, a free alternative, but it is no longer actively developed.

Classical Text Editor’s built-in PDF creation mechanism will not work with Wine. It was possible in the past to produce PDFs using PDFwriter, but as of 2017 this program has become outdated and is no longer functional.