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Overleaf (formerly sharelatex) is an installation of the typesetting system LaTeX on servers, useable through a modern browser without the need to install software locally. This follows the examples of services like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365.
The GWDG offers Overleaf for all users at https://sharelatex.gwdg.de.
Preconditions For Use
A valid GWDG full account, a current web browser and basic LaTeX knowledge are required to use the Overleaf service.
Collaboration with a user without a GWDG account is possible with the "Link-Sharing" function.
Alternatively, the activation of a registered account can be requested. The external user must register an account at https://www.gwdg.de/registration. Afterwards the owner of the GWDG account sends an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and requests the activation for the registered account.
Please note that because of licensing reasons we can only grant access to users who have a direct or indirect connection to the University of Göttingen or the Max Planck Society.
sharelatex.gwdg.de does not use banner ads. Nevertheless, it may happen that ad-blockers installed in the browser cause difficulties, e.g. the “Share” button disappears.
In rare cases, compiling larger Tex files results in an Internal Server Error. In this case, use the options: Compile-Mode: Fast [draft] and Syntax Checks: Do not check syntax
What is LaTeX?
LaTeX is a typesetting system for creating texts with high quality output and is the favorite when complex rendering such as formulas and structures is required as it is often the case in natural sciences.
A typesetting system differs from common word processors like Microsoft Word in that the text is written alongside markup commands that make text in the output document bold, italic or define lists and headings. Additionally the author does not see a representation of the rendered text in real time but works with the source text directly.
In the end this source text is then rendered into an output file which has the content and rendered text features. Typically this is a PDF.
What is Overleaf ?
With Overleaf the case is made easier. The whole suite of tools (based on TeX Live) is installed on GWDG servers and is made available through a website. The website also serves as the editor for the source text and generates the output files as downloadable PDFs through the author's browser.
Additionally the website allows simultaneous, collaborative editing of a document by several users. Files and documents are organized in so called projects to which other users can be invited.
Additional resources to ShareLaTeX?
Overleaf has a good introduction to LaTeX and how to use ShareLaTeX.
There is also a large selection of templates available at overleaf.com which can be downloaded as a ZIP file and uploaded into our service with the Upload Project function to start a new project based on this template.
What is Overleaf not? Does GWDG consult on LaTeX?
In many ways Overleaf is easier to use than a standard LaTeX installation on a PC. Nevertheless Overleaf is not a WYSIWYG editor like LyX and some basic knowledge of LaTeX is required to work with Overleaf. The tutorial at overleaf.com however is a great help and can be used directly with our service as well.
GWDG currently does not consult with regard to using LaTeX or offers training. Errors or problems when using Overleaf can of course be reported to our user support.