I'm completely new to LaTeX and I was toying with the idea of using it for my University assignments. However I'm afraid that, since those things are already time consuming per se, having to also struggle with a programming language I'm unfamiliar with would turn typing a document into a nightmare.

Maybe a WYSIWYG editor like Lyx would help me make the jump; am I correct in assuming that? Is there, in Lyx, the possibility of seeing how my document would translate in LaTeX's source code, in real time?

  • 1
    Welcome! I don't think LyX does this, but I've never used it. You can output equivalent source code, but I guess that's not 'real time'. Why not use one of the online services such as OverLeaf which feature both a rich-text type view and a source view. They don't hide as much from you as LyX, but they do provide some support for transitioning from a word processor. That said, I would say: concentrate on your assignments and play with LaTeX when you have some spare time for something non-critical. The appearance of your assignments isn't critical, beyond minimal requirements, but doing them is.
    – cfr
    Feb 4, 2016 at 23:09
  • If you just need documents, there's not much 'programming' involved. This is can be done with any editor, there's no need to use LyX or any of those sophisticated editors.
    – user31729
    Feb 4, 2016 at 23:15

2 Answers 2


First, to answer the specific question you ask, yes you can view the corresponding LaTeX code in LyX in real time. Just go to View > Source Pain and it will pop up at the bottom. Click the checkbox "Automatic update" for the real time view.

As for your plan, I have mixed opinions. I definitely do not think that the best way to learn LaTeX is through LyX. However, since your primary goal is your assignments, then I think it is a reasonable approach, as long as you make the promise to yourself that you will learn LaTeX correctly in the summer when you have more time. Consider buying a LaTeX book now so that when you do have time in the summer, you can immediately start diving into it.

I took the opposite approach. I learned LaTeX first about 10 years ago and have been using LyX for the past 5 years or so. I think this is better, but it does involve more time (but not that much more. It's not like learning C, for example). I think that LyX is great once you have a good understanding of LaTeX and once you know exactly what you are delegating to LyX. I now almost exclusively use LyX, but I'm glad that I used LaTeX directly before.

In the end, it is a personal decision. Consider trying pure LaTeX. You might surprise yourself and get up and running in a day. Or if you try LyX and it just feels right, go ahead and stick with it for a while and pay attention to the LaTeX code in the source window.

In summary, my only advice is that you do learn LaTeX eventually. You should not view LyX as a way to avoid learning LaTeX (and from your description, I do not think you are doing this so that's good). You should view LyX as a specific way (that is not for everyone) of using the power of LaTeX.


From experience I can report that LyX use can lead to LaTeX. It did act like training wheels though, in that at some point you just need to take them off and really ride that bike.

Eventually LyX use became frustrating because there is so much more that can be done in LaTeX.

Once you are already writing in LaTeX, there just doesn't seem to be much point to using LyX any more.

So yes, LyX can be a gateway drug to LaTeX.

However, if you want to use a WYSIWYG word processor that actually outputs real TeX files, then there is nothing better than Bakoma TeX.

With Bakoma you can alternate between writing in WYSIWYG mode and text TeX mode as you please.

The problem with LyX is that it is not really 100% compatible with any flavor of LaTeX or (and I'm not sure of this) to my knowledge, any flavor of TeX. Bakoma however produces real LaTeX.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .