Classical Text Editor – useful?

I was wondering about how to turn the .doc files for the Eusebius and Origen books into something printable, with properly kerned text, etc.  An email suggested that I might like to look at the Classical Text Editor.  So I pulled down the demo and had a play.

Unfortunately all you are presented with on start-up is a blank screen.  This is not very helpful.  I tried importing a word document, and it did import.  But it wasn’t at all clear what the benefit was, once I had done so.  Possibly the output to print is better — but in the demo version this is disfigured every inch with a logo indicating that this is an unregistered copy, so I couldn’t be sure.

In short, I found it baffling.  The help suggested using templates; but none seemed to be supplied as default.  Like most people I edit in Word.  What does this tool give me?

Probably it is a good tool.  But without a guide, it’s useless.  I would imagine that most people using this have been shown how to use it by someone else.  That must limit the take-up.  I couldn’t find anything useful online.


17 thoughts on “Classical Text Editor – useful?

  1. CTE does have a samples directory with 3 or 4 good looks at what it can do. The documentation is weak and the attitude of the author is a bit distant, With the proper unicode fonts the program is elegant

  2. I tried it out a bit, but soon gave up. These things have to hand-hold you, when you use them. Few people have the time to fight with them.

  3. I don’t think it is too easy to figure out by yourself. I’ve just learned how to use it but with the help of someone who already knew it. The big advantage to it, in my opinion, is the ease with which you can note variants. You type in your base text from one ms, and then read through another and when you have a variant, you click on the annotation button and you type it in. The variant is anchored to the word or words in the main text that you had highlighted, and when you print it, you get a nice set of annotations that are automatically produced. If you want, you can even have a couple of sets of annotations and notes. Doing this work on a regular word processor would be almost impossible. I don’t know what your text is, but if you have everything done and your problem is typesetting and how things will look on the printed page, then I don’t think CTE will help you very much. If you’re producing a critical edition from several manuscripts with a large number of variants and notes, then it will help you a ton.

  4. I’m a french student working on Virgil’s commentaries and I’m interesting in CTE for an Philargyrius edition.
    I try CTE but it does nothing. I would need to create paralell columns and some different notes but the guideline doesn’t help me. Do you know some french users? or could you help me…
    thanks and sorry for my english..

  5. Hello Cecile,
    I use CTE a lot but I always use the same formatting. I might be able to help though. Also, I know people who know it backwards and forwards if there is anything that I don’t know.
    Anyways, to make columns, left click and choose “section.” Then there’s an entry window for numbers of columns. To make a note, put the cursor on the word that you want the note to be attached to and then click on the “N” that is up at the top right of the screen. One thing to remember with CTE is that while you are typing, it doesn’t look like how it will look when it is printed, so don’t get worried that it looks wrong at first.
    I hope that helps. If it still isn’t clear or if you’re having problems with more formatting send me an email to and I’ll try to help.

  6. Hi!
    I’m trying the demo version of the CTE. Do you have an idea of the prices? I wrote Mr. Hagel but he’s out of office. I guess is too expensive for a student…but it looks very useful if you are working with manuscripts. Anyway, I found it difficult to use, I can’t understand the Guidelines.

    I will try LaTex as well.


  7. Classical Text Editor is very useful if you’re working with editing manuscripts. It is not very hard to use once you know a few basics. Unfortunately, there are no easy guides to it anywhere and the help menu is not very understandable to somebody new. If you do want to use it, I could give you a 10 minute intro that would get you started on an edition. I believe it costs around 300 euros, which is pretty expensive, but if you’re planning on doing an edition for a dissertation or if you are going to be editing texts as part of your career, I would recommend buying it. Again, reply if you really want to learn it and I’ll post my email or a set of directions to get started.

  8. Also, the trial version does pretty much everything the full version does except it cannot be printed or saved as a pdf, so you can try it out and try to learn how to use it before deciding to buy the full version.

  9. Sorry, I wasn’t clear, Roger. If Viola or anyone else wants an intro to CTE, I could help. To get this off poor Roger’s blog, if you stumble across this thread while vainly searching the internet for any beginner’s guide to Classical Text Editor, shoot me an email at hanktzepeda (*at) hotmail (*dot) com.

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