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Writing a SIGIR (sig-alternate) paper on Lyx

Lyx is wonderful… when it works :)

Here is what I had to do to write my SIGIR paper on Lyx 1.6.1 (I recommend updating to this before continuing…).

First, get the class file that you need (in my case for SIGIR was and put it somewhere your latex can find it. (For windows see below, for unix you can
instructions here

For Windows using MikeTex this means putting the file somewhere under C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7\tex\latex and running MikeTex/Settings/Refresh FNDB and MikeTex/Settings/Update Formats.

Now get Lyx to use this class. For this you can follow instructions in the Lyx Customization manual or many web pages on the topic (e.g., here).

Great, almost there. You can start your paper and all works fine… except citations. I got the following error when adding citations:

Use of  \@citex doesn’t match its definition

… then you must always put `1′ after `\a’, since control sequence names are

made up of letters only. The macro here has not been

followed by the required stuff, so I’m ignoring it

Not so useful :( The problem seems to be that citation in sig-alternate clashes with the babel package. You need to turn babel off in your Lyx. You can do this as follows:

  1. In Tools/Preferences/LanguageSettings  you need to untick “Use babel” and “Global”.
  2. You need to clear the “Command start” field (this should not be necessary, probably a Lyx bug?). (You can find the command start later by searching for “babel” in the User Guide.)

This is enough to make it work on a new document. However, if you are half way thru writing your document, some of the language options stick to it, I got the message:

Package babel Error: You haven’t loaded the option english yet.

\select@language{english} You may proceed …

To fix this you need to create a new document and cut and paste the contents of your old document into this new one. This worked for me!


4 responses to “Writing a SIGIR (sig-alternate) paper on Lyx

  1. Barla Cambazoglu January 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    For the second problem, there is no need to create a new file. Just edit the paper.lyx file and remove the following line.


    Then, reopen your lyx file and it will compile fine.

  2. nigel dodd February 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    when you find you need to cut and paste the contents of your old document into this new one it means the .aux file has an error that is confusing latex. Just delete the .aux file.

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