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LinuxPlanet: The StartX Files: Learning the Ways of LyX

Oct 30, 2001, 14:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

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"If you approach LyX from the standpoint of including it in with all of the other word processors, you would be a bit mistaken. It is more of a document processor--less focused on the words than the structure of the document itself.. Applications within this family include the old Arbortext Publisher of my misbegotten youth, Docbook, and Interleaf, to name a very few.

For those of you who are not clear what a document processor is, I'll try to give you the nickel tour. When you put a document together in a word processor, like KOffice or OpenOffice, you will typically type in the text and then go back and add attributes to that text as you need them, like making emphasized words italic or first-level headings 18-pt Helvetica in blue. When all is said and done, the document will look very close to how it will look on the printed page.

When you put a document together in LyX, then you will typically type in the text and then go back and assign styles to that text as you need them, like giving emphasized words an Emphasis style or first-level headings a Heading 1 style. The Emphasis style could be italic and the Heading 1 style 18-pt blue Helvetica and when all is said and done, the document will look very close to how it will look on the printed page.

So, you may ask, what's the difference?

The difference is this: in word processor documents, there is no meaning attached to the attributes that are assigned. Meaning is inferred by the human reader. In document processor documents, meaning is directly assigned to text by style elements, not matter what the physical attributes of those styles may be."

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