Macquarie University Library has recently subscribed to a collaborative writing and publishing tool: Overleaf. Using this tool, you can create, edit and share your research online. As part of this subscription all current Macquarie University students and staff are able to create a 20GB Pro+ account.
Overleaf is designed to make the process of writing, editing and producing research papers and project reports much quicker for both you and your collaborators. One of the main features of Overleaf is the Templates. These give you the ease of building documents in specific formats, such as a bibliography, thesis, or academic journal, and includes templates from over 216 leading publications.
“Overleaf aims to make science and research faster, more open and more transparent by bringing the whole scientific writing process into one place in the cloud – from idea, to writing, to review, to publication.” (Wiley Press Release)
You can either edit documents using a RichText editor or a LaTeX* editor. For those who aren’t familiar with it, LaTeX is a typesetting system which includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation.
Overleaf can also be linked to other services such as Mendeley**, Git*** and Plot.ly**** to best fit into your workflow. LaTeX mark-up means that documents with mathematical content, formulae or strict formatting requirements are easy to create.
- Write your paper anywhere, anytime – Overleaf gives you the ability to work offline and upload later, and is tablet and mobile friendly
- Share and invite colleagues and co-authors to write and annotate an article
- Collaboratively view and edit documents in either Rich Text or LaTeX, with a real-time preview
- Version control – prevents errors and having to deal with multiple versions of one document
- Templates – from institutions, journals and other users, to help you format your document for any purpose (e.g. journal articles, theses, CVs, assignments, presentations etc.)
- Multiple reference tool linking options – saves you time with formatting references and citations
Overleaf for Learning and Teaching
A helpful feature of the institutional version is the Teaching Toolkit. This functionality allows teachers to:
- Create teams, and add students via email
- Publish and distribute assignments via link, which you can share in iLearn
- Have students complete and submit a copy of the assignment
- See and download submissions for marking
Check out the Teaching Toolkit page for a step-by-step guide and instructional video.
The Overleaf website offers extensive help and support, including FAQs, video tutorials, an interactive Introduction to LaTeX course, and a quick guide to LaTeX functions. So it’s easy to get started right away, even if you aren’t familiar with LaTeX yet.
We welcome any comments or feedback, and your Research Librarian can help with any questions or guidance.
*LaTeX, pronounced “Lay-tech”, is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. It is most often used for medium-to-large technical or scientific documents but it can be used for almost any form of publishing.
**Mendeley is a Bibliographic Referencing software supported by the Library, which stores and manages citations and allows you to import them into documents, formatted in the correct referencing style. Overleaf offers direct integration with Mendeley, so instead of exporting and importing your references separately, you can simply click through using the Overleaf interface.
***Git is a version control software, which gives you a lot of control over changes to a document (which is especially helpful when you are collaborating). It saves every version of a document and lets you restore earlier versions if need be.
****Plot.ly integration allows you to import tables and charts you have created using the Plot.ly data visualisation service directly into your Overleaf document, without having to manually export and import.