Setting Up LyX with Hebrew Support

This post is a few years old now, so some details (or my opinions) might be out of date.
I would still love to hear your feedback in the comments below. Enjoy!

Introduction

So you want to use Hebrew with LyX under Windows. Pfffh! A lot of articles, tutorials, support groups and suicide letters are out there on the web for the sole purpose - writing Hebrew in LyX just right. And not only that, but using English when needed as well, without completely screwing up your paper. After having gone through most of them, more or less (including a few months in anger management) I found all of them to be defective in one way or another (or at least, they did not work for me), I spent a few hours playing with the setting and it worked. I can now safely retire.

When you’re finished following the steps in the instruction, LyX should operate like this: by default, it’ll let you type in Hebrew. You’ll be able to switch to English and back by pressing F10. When you want to insert pretty math, you’ll just have to click Ctrl+M - no annoying Alt-Shift to switch to English when it’s obvious that that’s what you want to do. It will automatically return to Hebrew when you exit math mode as well, of course.

Note: When you use LyX under these setting, Windows should always be in English mode, even when you want to type in Hebrew in LyX. Try to overcome the urge to Alt-Shift, or you’ll encounter problems inserting some letters, punctuation marks, equations, etc.

The Actual Instructions

  1. Download and install the latest version of LyX for Windows. During the installation, the installer will download MikTeX. When asked Install missing packages on-the-fly?, choose Yes.

  2. Download and install the latest version of culmus.

  3. Open LyX and create a new document. Go to Documents → Settings and under Document Class choose Hebrew (article). On the left side, choose Language and again under Language, choose Hebrew.

  4. I recommend hitting Save as Document Defaults after changing the settings, so you won’t have to apply it to every document you create (although, if you mainly write stuff in English, you problably shouldn’t). Hit Apply.

  5. Go to Tools → Preferences. On the left, choose Keyboard/Mouse. Check Use Keyboard Map. In the First box, enter null and in the Second box, enter hebrew.

  6. On the left side, choose Language. Under Default Language choose Hebrew. Again on the left, choose Shortcuts. Hit on New. On the windows just opened, under function, type language english (percisely!). Hit on the box next to shortcut and press F10. Hit OK and then Save.

  7. Make sure it works: restart LyX and try typing in Hebrew. Hit F10 this should transition you into English mode (there will be a blue line under the text. You can cancel it under Tools → Preferences → Language → Mark Foreign Language). Another click will bring you back to Hebrew mode. Make sure clicking Ctrl+M automatically changes the language to English.

Have fun with LyX!

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