# Re: Engineering student considering LyX for Thesis

I have written my 300 pages thesis completely in LyX, with many
tables, equations and figures. It is not really a problem if you can
work on one of the standard classes, like Memoir. If you have to adapt
to a particular format/layout it can be a hell at the beginning, but
afterwards it will become as natural as if you are using a standard
class.

Use master/child documents, create the preamble in a separate file and
include it in every document and you will be capable of making a huge
document with no appreciable lost of performance.

Good luck.
-------------------------------------------------
Julio Rojas
jcredbe...@gmail.com

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM, Helge Hafting <helge.haft...@hist.no> wrote:
> On 17. okt. 2011 18:49, Johnston81 wrote:
> [...]
>>
>> My current situation is this: I am working on my Master Thesis and
>> currently
>> doing my research and such. As it is now, I am uncertain how large my
>> final
>> project will be - I imagine that the final document will probably exceed
>> 100
>> pages, but where I am uncertain of size I am certain that the document
>> will
>> contain considerable amounts of graphs and tables - rather more than I am
>> comfortable working with in Word 2010.
>>
> LyX has no problem with size.
>
> Some things may get slower with a really big document, but it is still
> perfectly stable. Big does not cause crashes, big does not cause faults.
>
> I have written a 284 page book - no problem. Writing your thesis may be
> a lot of work - but the work will be on the thesis, not on LyX issues with a
> large document full of graphs.
>
> You will have to learn LyX of course. Simply writing, and adding tables,
> formulas and figures is easy. If there are very specific formatting
> requirements, then that may be tricky. In such cases, look at the user guide
> first, and ask here if the guide is not enough.
>
> As for size - I have created "torture test" documents of 1600 and 40000
> pages. The 40000 page document is slow to navigate, but it works. Still no
> crashes.
>
> The LyX User guide is over 160 pages. And it uses most LyX features.
> Experiment with that, if you worry about size issues. :-)
>
> Reformatting a big document is usually no problem. You can change
> the margins or paper size for a 100-page document and expect no problems.
> (Well, a figure/table too big for the new paper size will need
> some attention.)
>
>> My questions are fairly simple to ask, I am not certain that everybody
>> will
>> agree on the answers but rough estimates are all I am looking for anyway.
>> So
>> here goes:
>>
>> 1. Considering LyX over Word, how much time would I approximately need to
>> learn LyX to the extent that I can actually produce text, including
>> graphics
>> and formulas(!), from a template?
>
> All that is easy stuff. Writing plain text in LyX is as easy as in word.
> When you need a heading, you select a heading from a drop-down list.
> Similiar for bullet points and such. (There are also keyboard
> shortcuts to speed things up, but that can wait.)
>
> Including graphichs can be as simple as menu "Insert->Graphics", then type
> the file name (or select it) in a dialog. you can also set the
> size of your graphic in the same dialog.
>
> Usually, one put a figure in something called a "float". This allow better
> page breaking, and cross references. (I.e. you can have LyX
> produce references like "figure 17 on page 62", and the numbers will always
> be right. Even if you write some more pages at the beginning...)
>
> Formulas is an area where LyX is better than word. You can put together any
> formula you can imagine, using menus and toolbars. Using toolbars is the
> easy (but somewhat slow) way. If you write lots of math, learn some of the
> speed shortcuts. Like typing "\alpha" instead of picking the alpha symbol
> from the toolbar everytime.
>
> How much time you will need is hard to say. But you are an engineering
> student, so learning the easier sides of LyX will likely be quick.
>
> You should be able to write text with formulas and figures the first day.
> Becoming good at LyX takes longer, of course.
>
>> 2. What can I reasonably expect my learning curve to be after having
>> learned
>> the bare basics; what I mean is, is it simple to teach LyX to oneself and
>> how easy is it to solve problems when encountered?
>
> LyX comes with documentation full of examples. You can look at the samples
> for stuff you want, or even cut&paste from them.
>
>> 3. And finally, being a skilled user of Word would I - ultimately - save
>> or
>> spend time if I did try my luck on LyX?
>>
> For something as big as a thesis, I believe the time needed to learn LyX
> will be saved. You say you don't want to do a big document in word - and
> that says it all really. You will need some learning, but size won't be the
> problem. And the printout will likely look better than anything made in word
> anyway. Well, adding some decorations in word *is* easier, but word fall
> apart on more basic stuff like line breaking. (There is a reason word
> defaults to ragged right margins, straight margins is simply hard to do
> well. But LyX does it.)
>
>
>> I have many more similar questions, but for now this will have to do - I
>> shouldn't take to much of your time! But if you have any other advice or
>> experiences that relate to my post, that you feel could help me or others
>> that are doing the same kind of contemplations, please do not hesitate and
>> do share!
>
> Some differences:
> 1. The menu system is obviously different. And there is no ruler.
> 2. You do everything with styles.
>   You hardly ever select fonts or point sizes.
>   This is good, because then the font will never be wrong.
> 3. Your document will *not* be broken into pages in the editor. So you
>   can't see "where on the page" something is in the editor. Use a
>   pdf preview if you need that. You normally don't need to know though,
>   although that takes some getting used to!
> 4. If you somehow manage to crash lyx (hitting a bug, not a size
>   problem) then LyX normally succeed with its emergency save
>   feature.
>
> Scrolling around in a huge document takes time. People who write big
> documents usually divide it up, for example one file per chapter.
> And a master file that include the chapters, as well as dealing with front
> pages, TOC, indexes and such.
>
> I recommend learning the easier stuff first. So start by writing some
> chapters. Detailed formatting of the front page (or a demand for a special
> heading font) is tricker, so such things can wait a bit.
>
> Helge Hafting
>