“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”
LilyPond is a text-based tool. It does not have a graphical user interface with menus and help screens. Therefore, users of GUI-centric systems like Windows need to learn a new way of working. Several resources are provided to help users learn the LilyPond way and accomplish the goal of typesetting beautiful scores.
The LilyPond crash course
The LilyPond crash course gives a brief overview of the essential elements of LilyPond, along with a vision of some of the capabilities of the program. However, the crash course alone is not enough to understand how to effectively use LilyPond, which brings us to ...
The LilyPond Learning Manual
The LilyPond Learning Manual has been written with the needs of both new LilyPond users and users experienced in previous versions of LilyPond in mind. It covers the fundamentals of LilyPond and has proven to be the most effective way for users to get up to speed with the latest version of LilyPond. If you have not yet done so, you should read the Learning Manual from cover to cover. (Because the Learning Manual from version 2.12 is greatly improved over version 2.10, all users should use the Learning Manual from version 2.12). When you're done with the learning manual, you'll know generally how to get work done in LilyPond, but from time to time you'll need more specific information, which is available in ...
The LilyPond documentation
In addition to the Learning Manual, the LilyPond Documentation for the stable release or the development release contains a Notation Reference, and Application Usage manual, and an Internals Reference manual. These manuals, which are available on the web and can be installed on your computer, explain the details of working with LilyPond.
In addition to the LilyPond documentation, you can get information from the LilyPond FAQ and the LilyPond wiki. Although not an official LilyPond site, the LilyPond wiki has information that is particularly helpful for new users.
The LilyPond Snippet Repository contains fragments of LilyPond files that have been created to solve particular problems. A search of this online database is often quite helpful in figuring out how to do something.
The lilypond-user mailing list
Once you've tried doing something on your own with the help of the resources listed above, there is a lilypond-user mailing list. You can subscribe to the list at the lilypond-user subscribe page. Before posting to the list, you should search the archives, available (with different interfaces) at lilypond-user archives, at gmane , or at Nabble. You can use whichver archive interface best suits your work style.
When it's time to ask a question on the -user list, you'll have the best success if it's a well-formulated question. Here is a good overview of how to ask good questions.
Like any software, LilyPond still contains bugs or limitations. If LilyPond produces flawed output (such as collisions between various objects), or crashes, or behaves differently than is described in the documentation, then please report this as a potential bug. Guidelines for bug reports are listed on the LilyPond website.
New users sometimes believe LilyPond is not working, when in fact it is working perfectly. Please don't report a bug until you've read the Learning Manual to be sure you know how to use LilyPond.