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Complaints about LyX

Sure you didn't want to give praise? Oh, well..

Add your complaints below the line. Please include your LyX version and the date of your complaint.

You can also send an e-mail to the developers list or add an entry to the LyX bug tracker! The developers list or the bug tracker might also be a better place to report specific problems, where you can get instant feedback and provide additional details if required. For specific feature requests please use FeaturePoll, the above list or the bug tracker (or all of them if the fancy takes you).


I'd never used LyX in my life before today, and I hope I never have to use it again. I've been perfectly happy with my setup of straight-up gedit and pdflatex on the command line.

I'm on Ubuntu 13.10 running version 2.0.6 and it's bugging out on these figures in the same section where there are 2 different refs but they have the same figure number (Output: 'Consider figure 5.1 vs. figure 5.1.' Doh!). It's bugging out on tabs not being spaces in verbatim. It's bugging out on \leftquotebl, and it's bugging out on an undefined control sequence 'babel'. It's probably mostly problems with me downloading tex files from Github, but that doesn't make me feel any better.

LyX is a pretty terrible in-between that neither teaches proper syntax like a text editor and command line nor allows stupid-easy editing like Word.

Sorry, nothing personal, and coming from someone very ignorant, but I thought it was nice that you guys at least gave us a place to vent.


Hello, first of all, I like LyX very much and I have switched from WYSIWYG editors for every bigger piece I need to write.

However, there is a lot of things to improve, which I didn't find in a road map...

1. "template" feature is useless (whatever it is, I guess it changes a layout somehow) - there should be a "preview" box like in the most of modern applications.

2. GUI: As somebody wrote, LyX requires user to use menu bars way too often. No shortcuts, no customizable toolbar. Every. single feature should have an icon, a shortcut and a possibility to add it to a toolbar via drag&drop. No exceptions. "Insert Symbol" is a dialog box, it should be a topmost toolbox. No dialog boxes for 99% of features. That 1% are highly exceptional customizations.

3. Status Bar. Highlighting any menu item should display a dumb explanation in a status bar. Especially in an "Insert" menu items. Some of commands are quite cryptic, like "reconfigure" or "compressed" (?). Also, the therms like "float", "label", etc. should have a description. If I wasn't a LateX user, I would've no idea what is it.

4. Graphics. Automatic label generation. Support for changing size with immediate preview. Currently I have to enter at least SIX dialog boxes: 1) insert float, 2) insert graphics 3) open file dialog, 4) insert label, 5) set paragraph layout to centering. Then: 6+) compile, preview, set size of graphics, compile, preview, correct, compile, preview, correct, compile, preview... There should be just one dialog box -- file choose. The rest is done with toolbar or resizing with a mouse.

PS. I like Lyx. I am a post-LaTeX user and a software developer, so I know how things work... I would love to have a tool which doesn't force me to waste time with formatting, like in LaTeX, in which I couldn't concentrate on content because of a command overhead, which took most of my time. I think that developers of LyX concentrate too much on adding features, instead of improving GUI which is the weakest point of LyX currently. Cheers!


the "configuring lyx" step of the install on a windows machine takes way too long. maybe this should be done somewhere else, e.g. only the most important work on install and the rest in the background after the first start?

 Andreas? 2011-10-11 10:55 CEST

15th Sept. 2011

I'm fairly experienced with multiple word processors, but a complete noob with Lyx. (version 1.6.5 on Ubuntu Lucid) Opened File>New from Template, and got a window with a menu of templates. No clue what any of them are meant to do. No fly-out titles, no quick definitions, no off-side-button context menu help, nothin'. I may know nothing about LateX, but I do know that this is crap UI design. No template links on this site, and no help on "Lyx templates defined" or similar web searches. Does anyone really need a program that requires them to _memorize_ the meaning of helpful filenames like: SVjour3.lyx or ijmpd.lyx? This is totally Masonic, and I don't know the secret handshakes. Sorry guys, I've seen what your program is capable of outputting, and it can be very impressive, but I have work to finish, and not nearly enough time to learn to use Lyx. A non-starter for this rookie. If you really do intend for your program to catch on, you need to lose the mystic references to expert-level assumed knowledge, and strip jargon down to the bare minimum. Nobody likes feeling ignorant, and anyone who is out of diapers understands that one common purpose of jargon is to exclude. Hope any of this helps. Good luck.

21st Feb 2011

LyX is a wonderful piece of software. I've been using it on and off for about 10 years (wrote my PhD thesis with it), and it's been getting better and better each release! I have just started to use "wrapfig", and I like its functionality, but I was wondering if a toggle between a wrapfig float and a regular figure float could be implemented? Right now, if I want to see how either looks, I have to copy (or cut) and paste the material from one type of float into the other. This is a bit of a pain, because you have to do that for both the figure and the caption. And I want to do that several times per day and for several figures. Thanks! Greg, Raleigh, NC

19th of August 2010

LyX ist great! Thank you. I use it on GNU/Linux Debian & Mac OS X. Could you implement git support for version control? That would be fantastic!

5 May 2010

LyX is wonderful, but I'd love if the "Insert citation" dialog was a bit cleaner (took me some time to realise that the left dialog was keys in my bibtex files, and the right was those I wanted to cite)... It'd be good to be able to search incrementally, and also sort by bibtex file. Perhaps take some ideas off the way the Zotero dialog looks in OpenOffice/Word; however, the LyX dialog is a lot clearer about how the final citation will look (where you select between name(year), (name year), etc.). Perhaps it'd be an idea to even show some live preview of how that looks with the prefix and suffix text added too, there.

23 Dec 2009

I love LyX....I wrote my PhD dissertation (I think it was version <1) using it and many research papers.

Mine are not complains but a wishlist item:

I would love to have TeX inset to behave more like a text editor with indentation and syntax color. Maybe possible....

ah, wait....spell-checking while you type.....I think it is coming!

21 Nov 2009

Lyx is fairly useful. However, it does have a learning curve. It is a little strange not to see what you're working on as it happens, and that's the nature of the beast. I've read through the tutorials, looked at the manuals, etc. I am not really sure where to start. Perhaps include examples besides the help files? How in the %^)(%^*% does it interact with TexLive if it's installed? How can I get it to play nice? It's frustrating. (I know, you're thinking...man that guy is stupid....Well, I am just a Chemical Engineer....)

I, too, like LyX...to a point. I would like to see better User documentation that not only does not talk down to the user as mentioned in another post, but also is more user-friendly and does not assume the user is a power-Linux user or computer programmer. I have searched for days trying to find out how to install new packages in LyX, but all I come up with is a bunch of techie gobbledygook. Coming from 20+ yrs in a Windows environment (and still in it, daily, until I can figure out Linux), much of what is said makes little sense. The documentation claims LyX is so easy, you don't have to worry about formatting, etc. but then, as a Windows user of Word and OpenOffice, I go to do the simplest things - like include a header - and all of a sudden it's doing wacky stuff I can't control. I need LyX for novel formatting, so I do not want headers that proclaim the title in ALL CAPS SLANTED ACROSS THE TOP WITH A LINE UNDERNEATH. Go find any novel (or most nonfiction books, for that matter) that look like that. The simple tasks of suppressing page numbers on the first page of a chapter, or putting "Published in the United States" in the right place at the bottom of the copyright page are difficult if not impossible to figure out, after a week and a half of hard studying.

Driving a car is simple, once you know how; to the newbie, it's an overwhelm of things to remember and learn. Saying that LyX is super-easy is a subjective opinion, obviously from the viewpoint of someone well-experienced in using it. I can make OpenOffice Writer jump through hoops to give me the layout I want; I thought LyX would make it easier. Having to learn LaTeX code to accomplish the simplest tasks (\frontmatter \mainmatter \myheadings markboth etc.) seems to me going back to the pre-Windows days of DOS programming to accomplish Save and Print. Isn't that what buttons are for, to eliminate having to type in commands?

Help! Please.


I like Lyx but I second what has been said about not being able to copy paste text written in other applications. Also, writing equations is still annoying. These two things would improve productivity and make it easier for more people to transit from Word or other editors to Lyx.


The freshmeat entry is not being updated. Also, a RSS feed for the news section of the homepage would be nice. bart9h 3 Mar 2008

To be more useful for books, especially on technology, Lyx needs admonitions like SGML has. Heck, Latex needs an extension. If I'm typing Latex, I just program my own, and can do the same in Lyx, but it seems a waste not to have the functionality in the program. I should just be able to pull down and choose Warning or Info. Daniel 25 Jan 2008

I miss something like an 'extending-deadline-plugin'. A must have! Sean Lahler (LyX1.4.3) 5/3/7

It would be nice if there were a way to turn on automatic numbering of equations.

Have you asked on the user's list about this? I think it is possible, and if not, please submit a feature request to Bugzilla. Christian.

I love the concept of LyX and Scientific Workplace. That's why I will be evil and do a comparison ... which will hopefully NOT alienate the developers from both programs. Check out Lyx versus Scientific Workplace?! Don't be angry, LyX is nearly there ...

LyX is great and will rule the world someday. Still, before that happens, it'll need:

  1. Better UI productivity: The UI *has* to be geared towards fast document preparation - I shouldn't have to goto a menu very often. All menus should tell me what the equivalent shortcut keys are. Another idea: to facilitate leaning the UI, when I hit a modifier key, a list of possible next keys should show up in the bottom frame-widget (something like inkscape). Also, I dislike sub windows that steal focus all the time - couldn't all the sub-windows be dock-able instead? Dockable/undockable tool-windows gives people options to set things up the way they like.
  2. Document exchange: when writing collaboratively people exchange tex files. Somehow, when I get an updated tex file, I need a way to import the changes back into lyx... lack of this feature will always prevent people from using LyX.
  3. Live, synchronized, viewer updates: a lot of people would appreciate it. For instance, checkout Whizzy-tex. Again, the update window should be dockable inside the main LyX window so it does not steal focus. Also, I don't understand why people can't get LyX to do their laundry.

(LyX 1.4.4 - 12/3/07)

I like lyx, and I appreciate some of the improvements of version 1.4.0, but it behaves strangely when writing something in the german letter class. If I change the language to dutch, it complains about english, and it refuses to produce output. Exporting to .tex and running pdflatex shows some error at the opening statement. I don't have the time now to figure it out, so I post this as a complaint. And, I also wasn't able to let it do my laundry. It also refuses export my ideas as C-code. -- Jos

I am using LyX 1.4.0.(It is very good) but it does not allow word completion feature like in vi(Ctrl-p).It would be great if such a feature is incorporated. shekhar

The UI for nesting is pretty clumsy. Also at some point the bug which prevents you from placing two theorem enviroments in a row should get worked out:) other than that great job! 1.3 may 25 2004

Would you mind expanding a bit on why you think the UI is clumsy? Maybe you could send an e-mail to the user's list -- chr

Not a complaint this really, just that I cant find a suggestion/request box!

Send your suggestion below to the user's list -- chr

Anyway.. Creating tables is mostly straight out of the box. However, the finer tweaking of tables is a bit of a trial at the moment. It's just taken two of us(wife and I) plus the mailing list regulars (thanks to all) the best part of four hours to figure out how to place nice bullet lists (using itemize*) within a minipage within a table cell within a table, with some text centered, top alignied and with nice equal looking cell padding. The finished product is "almost" as my wife wants it!!!

So my request/wish would be for a better table handling gizmo-thingy and how about an instant preview of tables as per the Math instant preview. If I can help/test - I'm willing. Rob S

(Preview for tables is bug 1234 - JohnLevon)

LyX falls to its knees the moment you do something that isn't exactly what LyX likes, like putting a second title on the coverpage, near the bottom.

Bad copy/paste support with other applications. Great app tho...Thanx!

In response: On Mac OS X, at least, any mouse button other than left and right will paste external text.

(refers to LyX 1.3.7, in Feb- and March-06)

Great tool! Got me back in touch with LaTeX quality without having me diving back into the actual LaTeX code. A few comments:

- Had a problem installing LyX on my comptuer (Dell Inspiron running WinXP): some fonts "not available" when creating the dvi for the User's Guide after first install. Had to re-install, then update MikTeX (using update Wizard) to get it to run properly.

- Would be great to have the possibility to Copy/Paste tables from external sources (e.g. from Excel) with a "good enough" formatting by default

Note: support for inputting Gnumeric, OpenOffice and Excel files as 'external material' has been implemented in 2.0.0 post-beta2 SVN. See the ML archives.

- In nested environments (e.g. Emunerate, Itemize), it would be great to have the ALT-(up or down arrow) keyboard shortcut to change the order of the items, similarly as to the ALT+(right or left arrow) changes the "depth" of the nesting.

Note: That's an interesting idea, why don't you bring it up on the user's or the developers' list? chr
Note: Implemented at least in 1.6.x.

- I am still confused on how to modify some parameters in the document classes (e.g. get the name of current Chapter / Section in Header; create an environment of my own)


Lyx is a great tool, behind the UI. However, there are still a lot of points where you can gear up productivity with little effort:

The key bindings really suck - you often have to press a gazillion keystrokes for something that's very very common and just two quick strokes with your pencil. Also, very often you can't even access those that are predefined. Just try entering infinity (m-m 8) on a French keyboard (the numbers require shift).

So, definitely, somebody dearly needs to collect a corpus of lyx files, run statistics of which functions are used most often, and assign 2/3-button keystrokes to them. And yes, modifiers count as a keypresses, especially if they are as crazily located as on an ibook keyboard.

Every year or so, I have been searching the web for math.bind files of fellow users who don't want to be retyping "mathbb{N}" or "Rightarrow" or "m-x layout S-Proof <Enter>" all day long. So far, I haven't found anything elucidating.

So please:

  • create an easy-to-find, central place for keyboard modifications and populate it with your very own math.bind diff's to help it take off
  • dump all the historically grown lack-of/multi-key assignments and Huffman code them
  • think of end user productivity and typical tasks if redesigning something. (the only thing MS word gets right)

I'll gladly email you my own stuff (still need French-ify and Mac-ify it). Tilman Johannes Rothe ( $FirstName . $LastName@web.de)

[PS: I'll second the need to paste external tables, and would also like to convert tables<>text to make editing easy.]

update: Lack of keybindings is much more annoying than too long ones - after all, I can change them. A lot of symbols can be accessed with c-k and c-e in math mode, but by no means all and this is NOT DOCUMENTED. Neither is documented why is is not possible to overwrite some keybindings, like (ugrave). But the most important point is: Lyx should work out-of-the-box without fiddling with the keyboard for hours each time you change your OS, keyboards or language.

The only feature that is really (and badly) missing in LyX (1.3.6) is the ability to insert citations and references by a keystroke (like the one used to call the TeX box) and then manually typing the label tag. It is very, very annoying to always have to choose from the list with a mouse while you are typing. The keystrokes for menu items do help, but it would be very helpful if the developers give it a thought...

Also, in the citation list, the items are sorted alphabetically. An option to sort them exactly as they appear in the bibliography would be really nice.

No copy paste between multiple LyX (1.4.3-4) instances. When copy/pasting it is really useful to have the two windows open!

I wish there was a way to collapse some sections of the document and to split the window in halves so that one could see two different parts of the document at the same time. That would make working with long and complex documents much easier.

This is a serious one. I wrote some tales some time ago with Lyx 1.3, now I have Lyx 1.4.2 and Lyx refuses to load them (with no error message). Comparing their sources with 1.4.2 "native" ones I see there are quite a bit differences in format... not that hard to manually fix them, but... a little backwards compatibility wouldn't harm either ;). Or, at least, a format converter every time .lyx file format changes. Please?

LyX is great, but lacking in two areas:

  • Integration with other software - copy/paste, import from Word files.
  • UI - The UI is archaic. No inline spell-checking, no context menues, no simple keyboard bindings.

How come sometimes, for no good reason at all, Lyx doesn't recognise any input from the keyboard?! SO ANNOYING! I end up having to exit the programe and restart everything. Is there a keystroke I'm accidentally activating that's causing the programme NOT to accept keyboard input??!

The forced removal of whitespaces and inability to scroll further then the last content on a page is damn anoying if you want the equation or table you are working on, to be at the center of the screen/application.

You should be able to modify the LaTeX source in the program. And fix the buggy handling of equations, there's not much point of having a WYSIWYG editor if you have to forcibly insert LaTeX code into the document half the time.

The attitude in the documentation is sometimes inappropriate. Don't talk down to users, please. The first assumption should always be that a user wants to know about a feature because he/she needs to use it for a legitimate reason. After that, advice on how to use things most efficiently can be given. But there's no reason for things like "Well, technically you could do X, but you really shouldn't" about an innocuous practice that harms no one and is simply inefficient or non-standard. Or "Using feature X is often symptomatic of bad writing; you shouldn't need to use it." A user guide isn't meant to tell a user what they "shouldn't" do unless it's dangerous or will make things work incorrectly. If one of those is true, that should be explained and left at that. If advice on being a more efficient writer is being offered, avoid the second person and "should" -- instead of "X feature is grudgingly available, but you shouldn't use it", how about, "Feature X is available for these reasons... Generally, a better practice is Y because..."

Most users who go to a user guide are trying to learn how to do something. It will only frustrate them if they are told that their favorite feature is dumb or they really shouldn't use it, particularly when (as is sometimes true) the documentation doesn't explain why something is bad in any detail. (I agree with most of the advice, by the way, but it could be presented in a more neutral, professional way.) LyX 1.5.5. 8/1/2009

I happen to HATE icons! There are very few standards and everybody's versions look different. Most offer no clue as to the action represented. (Why is a floppy disk used for saving a file? Who even has a floppy disk?) Please give me the option of using plain text labels on buttons.

I don't know if it is possible, but LyX would be more useful if it were able to edit TeX files directly instead of import/export, so that the minor edits do not disrupt the file structure.

15th May 2012

I love LyX and am recommending it to more and more people! Thank you for your great work. One feature that would make it absolutely amazing would be the possibility to collapse section or chapters of a document. Working on longer, more complicated documents more easy. Similarly it would be great if one could name comments. So that you collapse a comment and you see something like a headline for that comment so I could remember what was in there. Thank you!


LyX is nice but I have 2 issues:

-What in the world is that "Undefined Sequence" error that keeps annoying me when I want to print a LyX document! I hate it, and because of that, I can't use LyX at all!

-Could you change the icons to text?


Lyx is awesome! I use it for almost all my word processing. My complaint however is that the control over where my output goes is rather arcane. In particular when I use export file I have no control over the output directory.

An export-as option for selecting the output directory would be nice. Right now my pdflatex never generates any pdf files in the directory that the .lyx file is in. In fact I have no idea how to generate pdf in that very directory, which you would expect. The pdf files are actually all generated in a temp directory and I believe the export command generates it there as well. Perhaps it's a bug?

[response to the above message: there is an export-as under development. As far as the export option, it should export to the same directory as your .lyx file as far as I know. Please update to LyX 2.0.4. If that does not help, send an email to lyx-users@lists.lyx.org stating your operating system, LyX version, and describe this issue with as much detail as possible.]

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