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LyX concepts about layouts, modules, classes and styles

This page explains how LyX layout files (.layout) and LyX modules (.module) relate to LaTeX class files (.cls) and LaTeX style files (.sty).

Note: Also see this mail by Angus.

LyX layout
LyX uses layout files (.layout) to control the appearance of a document inside LyX. This does not (directly) control the appearance of the printed document. The art of layout file construction is in making the on-screen appearance match the printed output at least well enough, and suggestively enough, for the WYSIWYM metaphor to work. Layout files also define which styles (i.e., paragraph layout types) are available when writing a document, and in a very general way how these are handled internally when generating printable output.
LyX module
With LyX 1.6, the concept of modules (.module) was introduced. Basically, modules are modular extensions to the chosen layout file. They add specific features to your document (such as, say, endnotes) or change the predefined appearance. In a sense, modules relate to layout files like LaTeX styles relate to LaTeX classes. You can activate modules in Document→Settings→Modules.
LaTeX class
A LaTeX class (.cls) is an overall layout description for a document. Examples of classes are 'book', 'article', 'letter', but also more specifically 'Journal of Geophysical Research article' etc. Note that while the description of the layout is general, it is also exhaustive and precise.
LaTeX style
A LaTeX style file (.sty) is a set of modifications to the definition of a document class. E.g., hangcaption.sty provides hanging captions, fancyhdr.sty provides 'fancy headers', babel.sty allows internationalization, etc.

So, a class definition plus one or more style definitions produce a complete document format description in LaTeX.

Note that while an extensive set of ready layout files is included with the LyX distribution package, it would be rash to assume that the corresponding LaTeX class and style files are also installed. You may have to do that yourself, and reconfigure both your LaTeX installation and LyX, to cause them to be found.


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Page last modified on 2010-10-10 05:22 UTC