Overleaf is a collaborative writing and publishing environment, like Google Docs, but for projects that utilize the typesetting language LaTeX. This is powerful and incredibly helpful tool for us at LetPub, as many of our researchers take advantage of the neat, organized functions that LaTeX offers. This includes the “inline” typing of variables and equations for engineering and mathematics, pre-made templates from high impact journals, and various ways to customize the organization of a manuscript. Overleaf is a free tool that lets authors create, edit and share their scientific ideas easily online using LaTeX, a comprehensive and powerful tool for scientific writing.
Overleaf is unique in its field as it allows many collaborators on one document, with the ability to read and edit not only in LaTeX, but in rich text formats (which is “basically” how Word displays its documents). Thus, those who have used LaTeX and those who have not can access the document with ease.
On the Overleaf site users can find a LaTeX template created specifically for LetPub authors. This is a basic journal article template that includes metadata fields for multiple authors, affiliations and keywords, and can be used to prepare a draft of your manuscript for submission directly to us at LetPub. Note: It is also set up to use the lineno package for line numbers; these can be turned on by adding the 'lineno' option to the document class command.
When your draft is ready, simply click the "Submit to LetPub" option in the top bar of the Overleaf editor and follow the instructions to submit your manuscript.
What are some of the key features of this tool?
- Overleaf compiles your project for you so you can see the results right away, similar to Google docs. There's no software to install, so you can start writing and collaborating right away. The real-time preview is easy to use and you can see how your final project looks as you type, which is pretty helpful!
- If an author prefers to work offline he/she can stay in sync with Github or Dropbox on one of the upgraded Overleaf plans.
- Again, similar to Google docs, Overleaf synchronizes changes from all authors transparently, so everyone always has the latest version.
- Sharing the document is easy: Every document created using Overleaf is private by default, but there are two ways the work can be shared with other: sending an invitation or by sending the link to the specific document.
- Overleaf offers real-time commenting and integrated chat, so edits can be discussed without switching to other tools. Authors can leave comments, too. Upgraded plans allow authors to keep track of every change made and who made it.
- Similar to Microsoft Word, Overleaf highlights spelling errors in red so that authors can quickly catch them.
- There are many templates to choose from beyond those for scientific papers. Other templates include thesis templates, calendar templates, and poster/presentation templates.