Lyx 2.0

May 12, 2011 at 4:41 am 4 comments

| Gabriel |

Lyx 2.0 is now in official release. I’ve been using it in beta for about six months and I find that it’s a big improvement. The thing that initially attracted me to it is the better spell checker integration in OS X. (In 1.6 it was so bad I’d run a Ubuntu VM just to get the spell checker to work). After a few months of regular usage, I can say that the biggest advantage to me is the document navigation sidebar (activated by the toolbar’s speedometer icon or “Navigate/ List of Figures/ Open Navigator”) , which lets you jump by TOC headings, figure, equation, footnote, or citations. This is of great advantage in a long complex document, like a book.

I highly recommend Lyx 2.0 to people who already use Lyx 1.6 or who are interested in LaTeX but are put-off by having to learn a new markup language. However Lyx/LaTeX has a lot of network externalities associated with it so think twice if you belong to a discipline (like sociology) where editors/collaborators expect MS Word files and it’s hard to find “.cls” and “.bst” files for your journals’ house style.

[Update: I forgot to mention that the new version has a new version of “diff” that in practice behaves like the Word “track changes” feature. It’s pretty elegant and should work well for collaborations.]

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4 Comments

  • 1. Emil Begtrup-Bright  |  May 12, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I really want to learn LaTeX, but I study sociology, and if I can’t collaborate with any other, and can’t even get my latex-docs published, I might think twice about that time-investment. But I’ll probably do it anyway, just for fun of it.

    • 2. Eric Booth  |  May 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      I used to use Lyx and the import/export functions to get documents from/to Word (via RTF or HTML versions). Now that I’ve moved over to using Latex (texshop), I usually use this freeware (simpletex4ht – http://www.simpletex4ht.free.fr/LaTeXtoWord.php) to convert to Word when its necessary.
      Neither the Lyx method nor the simpleTex4ht method is perfect – I still have to spend time cleaning up the document after conversion, but simpletex4ht always seemed to work better than importing a .tex document to lyx and then exporting it from lyx to Word. However, I tried it again with lyx 2.0 and it seems to work a bit better now. (Though I still find Lyx to be slow at times).

  • 3. Scott Golder  |  May 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I didn’t know 2.0 was out; I’ve been using 1.6 for awhile. Like you said at the end of the post, style files for references are a persistent problem. I’ve tried out the natbib package and plain.bst, but that doesn’t solve the reference formatting problem.

    • 4. gabrielrossman  |  May 12, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      Kieran Healy creates gorgeous documents and has posted all of his style files. Unfortunately it’s for raw Latex, not Lyx (nor could it be readily ported to Lyx w/o extensive use of ERT as it relies on BibLatex). One of these days I’ll write a Perl script that converts standard Lyx citations to Kieran’s Biblatex cites in ERT.


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