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!
We’ve got some exciting news – ShareLaTeX is joining forces with Overleaf, and we will be bringing our teams and services together as we continue to build the best tools for collaborative writing.
Over the past 4 years, both ShareLaTeX and Overleaf have gone from strength to strength – seeing rapid, sustained growth in usage – and have emerged as the two most popular online LaTeX editors. Our combined community comprises over two million authors at thousands of institutions and enterprises around the world. Naturally, we’ve always been compared and provided each other with some friendly competition, but behind the scenes, we’ve often been trying to figure out a way to work together.
Going forwards, our aim is to bring the best of both Overleaf and ShareLaTeX together in a way that benefits everyone. At ShareLaTeX, we’ve put a lot of effort into building a truly real-time collaborative LaTeX editing environment, including a great new tracked changes feature, intelligent help for common LaTeX errors, and amazing resources for learning LaTeX. The Overleaf team has at the same time been busy working on its WYSIWYG editing tools for users new to LaTeX and its partnerships with journals, publishers and publisher back-end systems that enable direct submission and streamlined editorial workflows for over 10,000 journals. By working together, we can finally avoid duplicating our efforts when we’re both trying to achieve the same goals.
What does this mean for you as an Overleaf or ShareLaTeX user? No worries! You won’t see any big change in the near future. Both services you know and love will continue to serve you as you have come to expect and be supported by the combined Overleaf and ShareLaTeX team. Over the coming months, we will be working on merging Overleaf and ShareLaTeX together into a single service. We aim to make the transition as smooth as possible. As we develop the combined service, we are actively seeking your feedback and input, starting with this survey. Ideally the only differences you will notice are the improvements to the editor you are currently using.
In the meantime, we’d like to take a moment to say thanks to all of our users, advisers, librarians, publishing partners and friends in the LaTeX community who have helped Overleaf and ShareLaTeX get to where we are today. We first met when Overleaf’s John Lees-Miller reached out to ShareLaTeX founders James and Henry way back in 2012, and we’ve since discovered that we’re all linked by several surprising small world coincidences: for example, James and John Hammersley (the other Overleaf founder) both did their PhD’s at the same university in the same department! We are excited to finally be working together to continue building great tools to make scientific and scholarly writing easier, more efficient and more open.
Henry & James on behalf of the entire ShareLaTeX and Overleaf Team
ShareLaTeX will continue to accept new users, customers, and continue to service existing users while we work on combining the best features of both ShareLaTeX and Overleaf. The ShareLaTeX editor will be at the core of the new platform, on top of the Overleaf ecosystem.
You’ll be able to continue to use your Overleaf account and projects exactly as you do now, while we work toward the launch of a single combined service with the best features of both, running at overleaf.com. New and existing partnerships, customers and users will continue as normal, and we will make sure that the transition to the new service will be smooth for everyone, without disrupting your workflows.
Behind the scenes, Overleaf have fully acquired ShareLaTeX (Scribtex Limited). Practically, Henry, James and the entire ShareLaTeX team will be very much involved in Overleaf going forwards, and will be central to the product development of the new combined editor.
Yes, the Overleaf and ShareLaTeX teams will be joining forces, and everyone from both sides will remain actively involved.
We want to take the time to get this right, with a lot of feedback from you, our users. Both editors are quite complex with many similar features, and working out the best strategy to merge this technology will take some time. We will give regular updates on our plans and progress, and you’re welcome to contact us for an update at any time.
If there’s a specific concern that you have about a feature in ShareLaTeX or Overleaf, or a concern about how this will affect your workflow, please let us know in this survey. Our top priority with these improvements is making sure that your workflow is not interrupted, and that any transition is smooth for you.
Yes. Your data will never be deleted, locked behind a paywall, or hidden from you. Both Overleaf and ShareLaTeX have always put users and their data first, and will continue to do so.
Yes. That’s not a problem — eventually we will merge accounts from Overleaf and ShareLaTeX so that there is a unified platform for your LaTeX documents.
All subscriptions will remain the same until the platforms are merged. At that time, we assure you that your premium account will have the equivalent or better features than what you have today. You will not need to make any changes to your account - we will provide you with information if any premium account changes occur.
Yes. Your account will continue to run exactly as it does now – you don’t need to do anything different as a result of this announcement. We will be in touch with you in the coming days to offer the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have, and you’ll be consulted for feedback and input as we develop the combined service. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, or to ask for an update.
Yes. Both Overleaf and ShareLaTeX are committed to ensuring that all of the open ShareLaTeX code base will remain open source and will continue to be actively developed.
Yes. Server Pro will continue to be a core product, with all of the best features of both platforms going forwards.
ShareLaTeX is an online LaTeX editor that allows real-time collaboration in your browser