LaTeX is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is one of the most sophisticated tools to produce professional and perfected documents.
LaTeX is not a word processor! Instead, LaTeX encourages authors not to worry too much about the appearance of their documents but to concentrate on getting the right content. LaTeX is based on the idea that it is better to leave document design to document designers, and to let authors get on with writing documents.
LaTeX is widely used in academia, for the communication and publication of scientific documents in many fields, including mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, philosophy, etc.
In simple words...
LaTeX is to a book what a set of blueprints is to a building.
What can you do with LaTeX?
Below is a set of examples of what you can do with LaTeX:
And more fancy examples:
To see more examples, visit this post on TEX Stack Exchange.
But there is one difficulty: to use LaTeX, you should learn it first. It is not a regular word processor application with a user interface that allows you to write, change font and color, etc.
For example, to produce this simple document in LaTeX:
you will use the following LaTeX code:
This is a simple example, and it is not hard. If you want to do more than the examples shown above, you need to learn more. You can find good resources for beginners in this post on TEX Stack Exchange. After that you can find intermediate-level resources here.
Here comes Lyx
LyX is open source document processor based on the LaTeX typesetting system. Unlike most word processors, which follow the "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) paradigm, LyX has a "what you see is what you mean" (WYSIWYM) approach.
LyX combines the power and flexibility of TeX/LaTeX with the ease of use of a graphical interface. LyX started in 1995, so it has been there for a long time.
LyX interface looks like this:
and the output of what is shown looks like this:
LyX has a lot of options; it allows you to insert LaTeX code if you want. LyX comes with a set of helpful files that can help you start using it efficiently. There are Introduction, Tutorial, and User's Guide files that you can access from the Help menu.
LyX works on Linux, Mac, and Windows. You can download LyX and read installation instruction from here.
LyX will help you produce documents that are beautiful, professional, and neat. Try it and I think you will never regret that.