ShareLaTeX is a web-based editor for collaborating on LaTeX documents. You can think of it as Google Docs for LaTeX. It includes a LaTeX compiler, so it's handy even if you don't need to share your document; it also avoids the need for installing LaTeX on your laptop. It was originally developed at MIT, then was folded into a paid service, Overleaf. ShareLaTeX at Nevis is available at no cost for anyone with a research connection to Nevis Labs.

The main web link is

Getting started with ShareLaTeX

To be able to login to ShareLaTeX you'll need to be registered. Send an email to WilliamSeligman with the email address you wish to use for your account; this does not have to be a address. He'll submit your email address to ShareLaTeX and you'll receive an email with a web link that's good for one week. If you don't get around to clicking that link in time, let WilliamSeligman know and you'll get another invitation. If you're collaborating with others on a LaTeX document, you can send WilliamSeligman a list of all the email addresses involved and he'll register everyone at once.

IMPORTANT: If you don't think WilliamSeligman knows who you are (especially if you're not using a email address), please include a short description of how you're connected to research at Nevis. For example, "I work with Prof. Jane Smith on experiment E910 at SLAC."

Working with ShareLaTeX

Unless you were invited to work on a shared project, your next step will probably be to create a new project and upload an existing LaTeX project to ShareLaTeX. The upload icon is near the upper left-hand corner of the web page. You'll want to upload the .tex file along with any supporting files; e.g., figures, BibTeX files, .cls and other style files. Note that you can select or drag more than one file using the Upload dialog box. After your project is uploaded, click on the Menu icon in the upper left corner of the web page and select your main .tex file from the pop-up menu. Click anywhere else on the web page to exit the menu, then click on the Recompile button in the right-most panel of the web page.

To collaborate with others, click on the Share button near the upper-right corner of the web page. Type in the email addresses of your collaborators. They'll receive an email inviting them to join in the project. Note that they must have accepted WilliamSeligman's ShareLaTeX invitation before you can share a project with them.

In general, the work flow is: Make a change in a text file (e.g., .tex, .bib) by selecting it in the left-most panel, then edit it in the middle panel. When you've made your changes and you want to see the result, click on the Recompile button at the top of the right-most panel.

When the project is complete and you're ready (for example) to submit it for publication, use the Menu and click on the Source icon in the Download section.

There's help available if you can't figure things out on your own. Note that this documentation is for the commercial Overleaf product; the open-source ShareLaTeX might not have all these features.

Technical details

The ShareLaTeX installation at Nevis includes the entire TeXLive 2017 distribution.

The most notable ShareLaTeX quirk is that it can choke on uploading files over 150MB. In particular, though its panel suggest you can upload a .zip file containing all the files of your project, unless that file is small you'll probably have to upload your files individually.

ShareLaTeX was an open-source project maintained at MIT before it was discontinued due to lack of developer support. It's still available for download and installation, but only as a set of docker containers which:

  • are resistant to modification (though it's not impossible);
  • store no significant log or error messages;
  • are no longer being maintained by their creators.

The practical consequence of the above is that if you discover a problem with ShareLaTeX or wish some modification (e.g., the addition of a particular LaTeX package) there's not much that I can do.

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Topic revision: r3 - 2019-09-03 - WilliamSeligman
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