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Introdução ao LyX (histórico)

Nota: Esta é uma página antiga de introdução do LyX, disponível por motivos históricos no seu original em inglês.

What's so special about LyX?

LyX is a free program that provides a more modern approach to writing documents with a computer, an approach that breaks with the obsolete tradition of the "typewriter concept."

It is designed for authors who want professional output quickly with a minimum of effort without becoming specialists in typesetting. Compared to common word processors, LyX will increase productivity a lot, since the job of typesetting is done mostly by the computer, not the author. With LyX, the author can concentrate on the contents of her writing, since the computer takes care of the look.

Technically this is done by combining the comfortable interface of a word processor with the high quality of a real typesetting system. LyX uses the most popular and, in our opinion, best typesetting system available: LaTeX. LaTeX is used for a wide range of documents, especially in science. For example, it's difficult to find a mathematics or computer science book that is not done with LaTeX. So, some people claim that its main purpose is mathematical typesetting. This isn't true. LaTeX is equally good for writing letters, articles, books, or any other kind of document, and does so much better than common word processors. What prevents some people from using this powerful, free typesetting system, one that is available for almost every computer system, is its difficult usage. With plain LaTeX, you need to enter a series of typesetting commands into the text in order to produce your document. As a result, you get no visual feedback until you feed your document to the LaTeX program. It's also difficult to read these documents before they have been printed. So, online editing isn't very easy. This is where LyX enters the game.

What you see is what you mean

LyX provides an "almost-WYSIWYG" view of the document. "Almost" means that the line- and page-breaks are not displayed exactly as they will appear in the printed document. However, that's not really necessary, since LyX uses a separate typesetter program [here, LaTeX] to perform the final formatting of your text. While LyX contains everything it needs to be a comfortable user interface, the typesetting program contains everything necessary to format text, and do so very, very well. There's no need to reinvent the wheel, after all. Besides, computers are best at following a set of rules, and doing so repeatedly and consistently. Why should you do extra work remembering which subsubsection in which section in which chapter you're in, what numbering scheme your using, how big the different headings are, what font you used for the different types of headings, and so on, and so on, and so on, ..., when a computer can do all of that for you?

The answer is simple: you shouldn't, and with LyX, you don't have to. So, line- and page-breaks aren't your problem anymore. Remembering which number to use for the next subsection isn't your problem anymore. Recalling what font you used for all of your section headings isn't your problem anymore. With LyX, you simply choose a so-called "paragraph environment."

That's it. You're done.

This gives you far more power than you may think. No longer do you need to scroll through a 75 page document, changing all of the section numbers because you deleted an old section. You could even pick a section, heading and all, up out of one document and drop it in a new one. LyX does the renumbering for you, adds the section to the Table of Contents, and more! Because you tell LyX [and LaTeX] what kind default of document you're editing and what type of paragraph this-or-that text is, the computer can typeset it accordingly. Cut some paragraphs from an old document [say, an article] and paste them in a completely different one, [say, a letter] and LyX does the rest. Of course you can also still do some low-level formatting for fine-tuning. However, the proper way with LyX is to tell the computer what the text is, not what it should look like. So, we like to say that LyX gives you WYSIWYM editing [What You See Is What You Mean].

The sum of it all

LyX isn't just another word processor that claims to be a Desktop Publishing program. It's a more modern way to create documents that look much nicer in the final result, but without wasting time with layout-fiddling. For that reason you might need little time to get used to the differences. If you are looking for a free Desktop Publishing program for Unix, you will be disappointed. Please check out WordPerfect (also available as native Linux application from Caldera) or StarOffice's's StarWriter in that case and do the switch to Unix anyway.

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Page last modified on July 05, 2011, at 11:19 PM