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This could be a problem to many newcomers to LyX (and LaTeX in general), who are migrating from word processors; the story is that first I try to insert a special character, an arrow for example, so I choose Insert -> Special Character -> Symbols... from the menu, and choose the Arrows category. That works fine for some fonts such as the Latin Modern Roman but not for others such as Palatino.

The next thing I would try is to use symbols from the Dingbats category. And again, it doesn't always work with errors such as l.31 \textrightarrow{}\FiveStarConvex {} I wasn't able to read the size data for this font, so I will ignore the font specification.

The third thing I would do is to change the encoding to unicode by putting \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} in the preamble (can also be done through the Document -> Settings dialog). This has the effect of adding many other dingbats to the dingbats symbol category. But again, this seems to be useless (at least from a beginner's point of view).

My problem in summary is that I'm not able to insert special symbols from the Insert -> Special Character -> Symbols... dialog the way I can in Open Office Writer for example. Is it possible to make symbol insertion more usable, probably through some configuration?

Or may be using XeTeX helps in this situation? I tried XeTeX actually but it ignored the symbols I inserted, obviously because they are not supported in the font I was using.

So any clue, or tutorial on this?

I found that some fonts include representation for Dingbats, such as FreeSerif. Other fonts such as Times New Roman don't. I also found that the Character Map tool of Gnome doesn't show that some characters are not provided by some fonts. So may be I just need to use XeTeX, and find an alternative to the Gnome Character Map tool to know which fonts provide which symbols.

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closed as not a real question by Joseph Wright Mar 3 '12 at 21:33

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I installed the fontmatrix program and strangely enough, I found that FreeSerif doesn't have glyphs for Dingbats, though I could include Dingbats in a sample XeTeX document using FreeSerif! –  John Kirollos May 27 '11 at 22:41
    
This is essentially a feature request for Lyx, and therefore not actually a question we can answer. –  Joseph Wright Mar 3 '12 at 21:33

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