In the last posts, we have been discussing about Latex (see here and here), the most popular editing system oriented to the creation of scientific books and papers (and presentations) on the world. In both cases, we explain that we could download and install Latex in our computers with MS Windows, MAC OS X and Linux. However, many people have started to work with online standard text editors to write their reports in order to collaborate with their colleagues. An example is Google Docs, which is a functional and convenient way to share and collaboratively edit documents across platforms, time zones, and even continents. But, Google Docs doesn’t work with Latex. For this reason, in the last years, new online collaborative editors have appeared. Today, we are going to talk about one of them: Overfeaf (former WriteLatex).

Overleaf is an online system that allows for easy collaboration on scientific documents using LaTeX. The online element that you need to start to work with Overleaf is a browser and internet. Moreover, Overleaf provides some tutorials to help get you started, so don’t worry for the learning curve. To start, the first step we have to take is to decide the template to use. There are hundreds of different templates (for books, thesis, reports, articles, presentations, etc.), moreover we can modify them and adapt them to our own necessities.

Overleaf has three editing modes: emacs, vim, and default. On the other hand, the main screen is divided into three panels. On the left one, we see the files linked to our project (tex files, pictures, etc.). On the center, we find one of the possible Latex editors that we can use. Finally, on the right panel, there is a LaTeX preview, which updates immediately as soon as we edit anything. Of course, we can set up the main window and decide if we want to work with just one panel, with two or with all of them.

overleaf

Overleaf also works on tablets (iOS and Android), without any app – it works on the same browser. Moreover, we can find an extension for Google Chrome. Overleaf operates on a freemium model, so we can use a free account, create documents and collaborate with others (zero cost). The free account has 1 GB storage, unlimited projects & collaborators, private documents, and 60 files per project. If you need more, there are several very interesting plans. Some important Universities are using this tools, such as Caltech, Warwick, Harvard, Oxford, Imperial, Stanford, Cambridge, MIT and Cornell.

Here you have the link to Overleaf