LyX v1.0.0 releasedFeb 02, 1999, 14:11 (3 Talkback[s])
From: Martin Vermeer
What is LyxLyX is an advanced open source document processor running on many Unix platforms. It is called a "document processor", because unlike standard word processors, LyX encourages an approach to writing based on the structure of your documents, not their appearance. LyX lets you concentrate on writing, leaving details of visual layout to the software. LyX automates formatting according to predefined rule sets, yielding consistency throughout even the most complex documents. LyX produces high quality, professional output -- using LaTeX, an open source, industrial strength typesetting engine, in the background.
With LyX, short notes or letters are a snap. LyX really shines, though, when composing complex documents like technical documentation, doctoral theses and conference proceedings.
LyX has undergone a quantum leap in functionality over the past 18 months. This release offers extensive control over fonts, margins, headers/footers, spacing/indents, justification, bullet types in multilevel lists, a sophisticated table editor, a version control interface for collaborative projects -- the list goes on and on. LyX 1.0 includes many standard formats and templates such as for letters, articles, books, overheads, even Hollywood scripts. Work continues on a growing library of "plug-in" formats and templates, in the best open-source tradition.
LyX presents the user with the familiar face of a WYSIWYG word processor. However, users familiar with Microsoft Word or WordPerfect may be perplexed by certain basic LyX behavior. For example, repeatedly hitting the space bar has no effect! This is by design: LyX puts in the proper spacing for you, intelligently. Welcome to the LyX paradigm!
You set the "ground rules" and place the elements of your document into proper categories. Let's say, you tell LyX that a certain line is a Section title. LaTeX adds the Section to your table of contents, places the Section name into your page header, gives it a special "bold" appearance on the page, assigns it a number or label, and tells other parts of your document what page it's on, for references and citations. Many of the headaches of traditional word processing just vanish.
LaTeX easily processes hundreds of chapter and section labels, thousands of footnotes and inserted graphics, intricate cross-references, complex multi-level outlines, formatted tables of contents and lists of illustrations, and exhaustive indices or bibliographies, and is rightly famous for the superb quality of its output. Users already acquainted with "raw" LaTeX will find that LyX offers full LaTeX transparency and import/export of LaTeX documents.
LyX contains a fully integrated formula editor which is easily best-of-breed, adding WYSIWYG point-and-click convenience to LaTeX's legendary math typesetting capabilities. If you're into scientific authoring, this is the jewel in the crown. TRY IT!
Think of LyX as the first WYSIWYM word processor: What You See Is What You MEAN. All the common formatting intelligence of LaTeX is presented to the user through visual controls, like a table-of-contents window acting as an outline browser, "live" reference links (to figure and table captions, sections, pages and literature citations), automatic multilevel section and list numbering, and more. You tell LyX how to treat particular words and lines in your document: e.g., this is standard text, this is a Section title, this is a footnote, this is a caption beneath an inserted graphic. As you click your selections, the WYSIWYM interface gives you clean, straightforward "visual cues" (actually, very WYSIWYG-like).
The approach has ergonomic advantages. You can enlarge the screen fonts to suit your tastes but still have all the text on the screen -- without affecting the margins and other formatting of your final output. Thus, you can work comfortably on small displays (or if your eyes are tired or your eyesight is not so good) and get the final output right with just a couple of page previews using xdvi or ghostview.
LyX includes excellent and copious on-line help: a beginner's tutorial, user's guide, and additional manuals describing advanced features. LyX's menu system exists in a dozen different (Latin character set) languages, selectable at run time.
LyX conspicuously lacks a filter for importing MS Word documents. The LyX Team considers this not worth the effort, as word processors in general are moving away from proprietary formats to the open XML standard. So, as long as you need continued access to legacy documents, you should retain a traditional word processor, e.g., Corel's WordPerfect for Linux.
LyX runs on standard Unix platforms, including Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, IRIX, HP-UX, AIX, ... even OS/2 and Cygnus/Win32 (somewhat experimentally), and provides native support for PostScript(tm) fonts and figures.
More about LyX, including screen shots and the LyX Graphic Tour, at:
What's new compared to LyX version 0.12.0?
Most importantly, import of existing LaTeX documents using the new reLyX perl script. Better support for SGML/LinuxDoc, tables, and indexing/bibliographies, etc. Summing up, it's better looking, better working, better documented, and lots of bugs have been fixed.
How stable is LyX?
This release is considered stable, but as with any software, you should take appropriate back-up steps in a production environment.
What about KLyX?
KLyX is a port of LyX version 0.12.0 to KDE, done primarily by Matthias Ettrich and Kalle Dalheimer. It was made as a proof-of-principle, to demo how good looking LyX could be made on this desktop environment, and implement some advanced features which KDE, and its Qt toolkit, facilitate. There is an intention to re-integrate KLyX into the LyX code base; by version 1.2, LyX should be GUI toolkit/desktop agnostic.
LyX is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which means specifically that you can use it for free. See http://www.gnu.org.
The main LyX site is
with mirrors at
The source code package is available at:
and at the mirrors listed above.
You need XForms version 0.81, 0.86 or 0.88 to compile your own version. Version 0.88 is highly recommended. Of course you also need LaTeX; the teTeX distribution is recommended.
Precompiled binaries for various platforms are available at:
Binaries for i386-Linux are also available at your local metalab (previously known as sunsite) mirror:
Undoubtedly binaries packaged for various distributions (rpm, deb) will appear soon on metalab.
Information and binaries for Cygnus/WinNT can be found at:
The LyX Graphic Tour can be found at:
It is possible to run LyX in a temporary directory before you install it.
About the LyX Team
The LyX Team is a world wide consortium of volunteer contributors. Many, many people have helped make the 1.0 release possible, including:
Lars Gullik Bjoennes, Alejandro Aguilar Sierra, Asger Alstrup, Jean-Marc Lasgouttes, Juergen Vigna, John P. Weiss, Bernhard Iselborn, Andre Spiegel, Allan Rae, Henner Zeller, Robert van der Kamp, David L. Johnson, Amir Karger, Joacim Persson, Peter Suetterlin, SMiyata, Alkis Polyzotis, ...
Special thanks should go to Matthias Ettrich who started it all.
Please direct any comments or questions to the appropriate mailing list as described on the LyX homepage (http://www.lyx.org).
The LyX Team