Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 21st May 2006 15:08 UTC, submitted by da_Chicken
Features, Office "In the hubbub over the ODF and competing 'what you see is what you get' word processors, a long-standing alternative model of word processing systems has been mostly overlooked. The author of LyX, Matthias Ettrich, calls this approach 'what you see is what you mean'. However, it's a philosophy that you will find in many 'native' free software text-processing systems everywhere, from online 'content management systems' to book publishing. You write what you mean, then you use some type of formatter to create presentation layouts. LyX, with its integrated graphical environment, may be the friendliest place to learn it."
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LyX = awesome!
by patrix on Sun 21st May 2006 15:33 UTC
Member since:

I've been using LyX for YEARS to write all my school reports and other important documents that I want to look GOOD.

Seriously. One time, 4 ppl (including me) were doing a project, and we each had our part of the final document to write. Try to bring that together from MS Word to MS Word and combine it... It was pain for 2 hours till I told em "let's save it all in text, I'm gonna put it together in LyX in 30 minutes flat".

Took me 29 minutes, including spellchecking, and they were all impressed at how professional the end result looked. Ever since, other word processors have always been inferior, for me, except for some tasks where they are simply faster/easier.

Reply Score: 4

RE: LyX = awesome!
by korpenkraxar on Sun 21st May 2006 16:17 in reply to "LyX = awesome!"
korpenkraxar Member since:

I agree. LyX is very nice for document processing; the result can look stunning. For most manuscripts, reports and books, LyX is IMHO the quickest way to get a beautifully and consistently formatted document. And the within-document automatic reference system is superb.

But I have encountered some *small* problems with image positioning, page numbering and weird text management (e.g. a long web adress can run out from the paragraph and off the page instead of being splitted into two parts). Also, producing big tables can be a bit of a pain, and of course there is no spreadsheet mathematics functionality in those tables. Finally, the built-in pdf export function of the versions I've tried generates fairly low-res pdfs with the text letters being a bit "wobbly", so I have instead been using the tex2pdf perl script developed by Steffen Evers over at (is that domain dead?), which generates great pdf's with indeces and clickable internal and external references. A great companion script for LyX.

Two questions:

But does anyone know where you can find and download more styles? I looked around some year ago to find more scientific article style templates but couldn't really find much...

Does anyone know of a good reference manager that integrates with LyX? I mean something like JabRef or, though very much not GPL, EndNote.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: LyX = awesome!
by polytropos on Sun 21st May 2006 17:38 in reply to "RE: LyX = awesome!"
polytropos Member since:

Actually JabRef works well with LyX, you just have to set the Lyx-pipe in your preferences.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: LyX = awesome!
by macintroll on Sun 21st May 2006 19:12 in reply to "LyX = awesome!"
macintroll Member since:

Not to take anything away from latex or LyX, but this sounds like a case of not knowing how to use Word effectively. Merging heterogeneous documents into a common style is not any harder with Word than with LyX. The approach is the same: strip out all the formatting and then apply styles consistently.

I am constantly surprised to meet people who have been using Word daily for many years and still don't have the slightest idea how to use styles.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: LyX = awesome!
by chuck on Sun 21st May 2006 20:13 in reply to "RE: LyX = awesome!"
chuck Member since:

Merging heterogeneous documents into a common style is not any harder with Word than with LyX.

Could be, I don't really know. Tex/Latex was invented for mathematical typesetting and it excels at that. The formula facilities of MsWord, while greatly improved over the original lack thereof, aren't as versatile nor do they produce as good looking output.

The other part of the argument, that Latex tags indicate formating intent and leave the details up to the software, is a valid point. There is no good reason except design history and the typewriter heritage to embed indentation amounts, tab settings, typesizes, and other such nonsense into the document; it involves the writer too much in the formatting details. The absence of such embedded information is what is meant by "what you mean" as opposed to "what you see". You just tell the software that you want a subheading and it takes care of capitalization, size, face, and style when it is time to produce output. In this it somewhat resembles HTML.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: LyX = awesome!
by ma_d on Sun 21st May 2006 20:14 in reply to "RE: LyX = awesome!"
ma_d Member since:

You have no clue. Word works fine for largely text documents. Even ones that are well divided and don't interwork.

But the second you start doing things like continuing numbers and a lot of large images you end up with crap... Word does not handle this well, and it's a royal PITA to merge a large document.

But the biggest disadvantage to Word is that it doesn't work with source control, for me. Obviously most people don't care about this. But some do, and this is one place where plaintext based tools are wonderful.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: LyX = awesome!
by rayiner on Sun 21st May 2006 22:00 in reply to "RE: LyX = awesome!"
rayiner Member since:

The two biggest problems with Word is that its opaque, and its buggy. It's very hard to get a feeling for exactly why Word does what it does, especially when tables or graphics are involved. I use Word sometimes when writing reports that involve data from Excel (path of least resistance), and sometimes it'll just randomly start spacing some captions differently than other capations. I have know idea why, and after months I've never been able to figure out. When it happens, I always just start a new document, and copy-and-paste everything over, and that fixes it.

Reply Parent Score: 1