Automatic Generation of Formatted Text

Eduard H. Hovy, Yigal Arens

Few texts longer than a paragraph are written without appropriate formatting. To ensure readability, automated text generation programs must not only plan and generate their texts but be able to format them as well. We describe how work on the automated planning of multisentence text and on the display of information in a multimedia system led to the insight that text formatting devices such as footnotes, italicized regions, enumerations, etc., can be planned automatically by a text structure planning process. This is achieved by recognizing that each formatting device fulfills a specific communicative function in a text, and that such functions can be defined in terms of the text structure relations used as plans in a text planning system. An example is presented in which a text is planned from a semantic representation to a final form that includes English sentences and LATEX formatting commands, intermingled as appropriate.

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