A few important things to consider, while on the topic of LyX.
Perhaps the most compelling feature of writing with LyX is the ability to write without being pestered by the interface. In this respect, Word comes out dead at the bottom. It's interface does everything it possibly can to get in your way. I know people who, not being as computer savvy as others, still have the little dancing OfficeHelpers because they do not know how to get rid of them.
Beyond the issue of interface, LyX is designed on the same principle that LaTeX is designed on: Write without worrying about formatting. Too many word processors push the user towards formatting while typing, this slows down the brain and leads to getting writer's block much quicker.
With LyX much of the formatting is done intelligently, and without your intervention in the slightest. The most you have to do is tell LyX what type of text you are typing (Chapter title, text block, quote, ect). Since these are an easy to remember keystroke away, it takes a very minimal amount of brain effort to worry about them.
Not only that, it will construct a table of contents intelligently, bibliography, footnotes, and more by doing nothing more than what I just described above. Need to insert a section between two that are already written? No problem! Move right above the lower section, enter Section mode, type your title and you are off. Everything reformats and adjusts to what you just did.
I know that some word processors do offer these features, but I have not found them to be nearly as simple and easy to use, or as brainless. Remember, brainless is an important facet of writing when it comes to these types of things. You need your mind to be on the text not the bibliography.
Then there is the portability aspect. Since LyX uses the venerable LaTeX macro language which sits on top of the even more venerable TeX typesetting engine, you can't go wrong there. Your document is going to look identical no matter where you insert the floppy disk. Take it to a printer, and it will look the same. (But now with spiffy covers and that wonderful new book smell)
Another VERY nice feature that you don't think of until after the catastrophy is crash protection. If LyX crashes for some reason, fear not, you document is safe. How many times have you gotten into the flow of writing with Word, only to have it crash and lose the last two hours of work? AutoSave helps, but it slows your writing down every 15 minutes(or whatever you set it to).
So, what are the Cons of LyX? The number one disadvantage right now is its state of development. It isn't full featured yet. Don't let that scare you off. There are plenty enough features to keep most writers going for a Long time. Right now, I can't think of any that I desperately need.
Since LyX is a type without thinking of formatting program, it needs good templates to let you pull that off. Templates exist for most needs, but if you are writing something that does not fall into a nice template category you'll find yourself deep in LaTeX territory quickly. Again, I have yet to hit a project that did not fall into a template category, so it isn't of much concern to 90% of the people.
That's about it. I suggest you give it an open-minded try. It feels a little bit weird at first because we are used to typing into a word processor that isn't doing anything for us, once you get the hang of it though, you will find that your writing endurance will increase dramatically.
Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
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