Since our announcement earlier this summer that ShareLaTeX has joined forces with Overleaf, we’ve been actively working to harmonize features and functionality across the two platforms in preparation for migrating everyone to a unified service which delivers the best of both worlds—and much more besides!
An important aspect of the integration work is to keep our user communities fully updated with our progress. Following on from the addition of auto-compilation to ShareLaTeX last month, we are delighted to share some further developments: a new Link Sharing feature for ShareLaTeX.
As with auto-compilation, the ability to share a project by a secure URL was a key feature of Overleaf that was highlighted in the user survey as one that we should definitely keep and improve when bringing the two platforms together. When looking at how to implement this on ShareLaTeX and on the combined platform, we took the opportunity to review the feedback we’d collected on the Overleaf version of this feature. One such piece of feedback was that some users weren’t always aware that, on Overleaf, the ability to share by URL was turned on by default, and that they’d expected to have to explicitly choose to enable it. For the implementation on ShareLaTeX, this feature is thus turned off by default (but can be easily turned-on, by following the steps outlined below).
For existing ShareLaTeX users, the new Link Sharing feature replaces the original “public projects” feature, meaning that ShareLaTeX users can now also share projects privately via a secure URL, rather than needing to invite all collaborators personally.
Using Link Sharing on ShareLaTeX is easy. From within the project you wish to share with others:
After enabling link sharing the following screen appears to provide you with various options for sharing your project:
With reference to the screenshot:
To disable link sharing:
If you decide to Turn off link sharing, any links you have shared (e.g., directly by e-mail outside of ShareLaTeX) will no longer work and only the collaborators that you have invited from within ShareLaTeX will continue to have access to your project.
We hope that users who like to use both platforms will benefit from having consistent methods and options for sharing links to their projects, and inviting collaborators.
Years of friendly competition in the same product space have made Overleaf and ShareLaTeX overlap quite a lot, feature-wise. Still, both services have unique strengths and some of these are actually product-defining—almost signature features. This was evident in the survey we conducted just after we announced our merger, and made clear which features we should definitely keep (and improve)!
One such feature from Overleaf is automatic compiling: as soon as you finish typing a significant portion of text, we trigger a recompilation of the document in the background. The main idea is to be as close as possible to a real-time preview of your document, allowing you to focus more on your writing and less on the tool. It also helps prevent LaTeX errors building up in the background, preventing the situation whereby, after writing for a while, you end up with a lot of errors to debug.
We are aware that many of our users really value this feature—we know how annoying it can be to have to stop the train of thought while writing—and “real time compilation” and “real-time compiling” were among the most common expressions in the feedback we’ve received so far.
With this in mind, we knew that automatic compiling should definitely be one of the first integration-related tasks. As a result, we are now able—and very happy—to announce that automatic compiling is coming to ShareLaTeX! And perhaps you’ve already seen it: if you’re on the ShareLaTeX beta program, auto-compiling landed for you four weeks ago; if not, then perhaps you’re one of the 30% of users that got the feature by now—we’re gradually deploying the auto-compiling feature to everybody.
Of course, we know automatic compiling might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Personal preference or even different projects might make auto compiling a less than ideal match for your workflow. We also really don’t want to be too intrusive, so we’ve opted to have the feature “off” by default for ShareLaTeX users. Do try it out, though—and, please, be assured that you can always turn it off.
This is just one of the many steps until we reach an integrated and improved service, the best of both Overleaf and ShareLaTeX (and even better, we hope). We believe that, as is, this is already a great improvement for ShareLaTeX users, but we really want to hear your opinion: if you’re a regular ShareLaTeX user, what do you think about this feature? Have you tried it? And if you’re an Overleaf user, how’s your experience with automatic compiling been? Any suggestions on how we could improve it? Please, fill in our very quick survey and help us shape the new, integrated service.
Following our exciting announcement in the second half of July, we wanted to give everyone a quick update on where things stand with the ShareLaTeX and Overleaf integration. Rather than duplicating content, we’ve put an update on the Overleaf blog here. We’ll keep this blog updated too, but integration related posts will be over on the Overleaf side. We’ll make sure to keep you informed here when they come out though!
P.S. We’ve put together a quick survey to help us guide the first steps of the integration, and it would be really helpful if you could fill it in to help us understand your workflow. Thanks!
ShareLaTeX is an online LaTeX editor that allows real-time collaboration in your browser