ShareLaTeX is an online LaTeX editor with real time collaboration
This is a short introductory post for an in-depth walkthrough about effectively collaborating with people online and offline using LaTeX. Give me (James Allen) your email address and get the rest of it totally free. (This advice comes from my years spent in academia and my experiences using LaTeX daily with other people.)

Hello

My name is James and I’m a bit of a LaTeX addict. I’ve been using LaTeX regularly for around 7 years now and in that time I’ve learned a lot of useful tips and tricks. I’d like to share these things with you.

In this course I’m going to focus on how to collaborate well with your coauthors when you’re writing a document together using LaTeX. Much of the work that is published in academia and industry these days is created and written by more than one author. If you haven’t already, there’s a very good chance that you will be part of such a team at some point in your career. If you don’t have a good method of working together you’ll quickly find yourself getting bogged down worrying about who has changed what and who has the latest version of the document. Even just keeping two authors in sync can be frustrating. None of this is good for your work flow and productivity, but fear not, I will help to guide you through this quagmire and show you how to work well together.

If you mostly find yourself working on documents as a single author then this course probably isn’t for you. It might still be worth your time though as there is advice in the course that will be useful to improving your workflow whether you are working with others or not.

Sharing your documents

If you’re like the average LaTeX user, you probably send your files to your coauthors as email attachments. This works to an extent, but these days email is a completely inadequate solution. You end up with lots of files of different versions of your document and you need to rely on your collaborators getting back to you with their changes before you can proceed. You can do so much better than email.

In the first email you’ll receive I’ll talk about how you can put your document somewhere central. Your coauthors can all access and edit the latest version of the document and you can be sure that everyone is kept up to date. This might sound like a lot of work, but there are so many great tools out there these days that you can easily be set up in less than 10 minutes.

Tracking Changes

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to see who changed which lines in your document and when? Did you coauthor change this section in the last edit or are you just imagining it? What are the differences between these two versions of a 50 page manuscript?

These are questions that can be difficult to answer if you aren’t keeping a systematic log of the changes made. Fortunately there are some phenomenally powerful tools out there that let you automatically track the changes that have been made to your document. These are known as version control systems and in my second email I’ll show you how to get up an running with one of the most popular ones, git. I’ll give you the knowledge you need to track all the changes made by yourself and by your collaborators to your LaTeX documents. In my experience, once you start using version control you’ll never go back, just like with LaTeX.

Generally these tools are not designed to work with LaTeX documents out of the box, but there are some configuration options you can tweak to get the most of out of them. I’ll explain what these do and show you how to be as productive as possible with these tools.

Annotating Documents

There are a whole host of useful LaTeX packages that let you add in notes and annotations to your manuscript. These are very useful in communicating with your collaborators to let them know what you are thinking and to get their feedback. In my third email I’ll give a review of two or three of the best packages and show you how to make the most effective use of them.

Get the full course for free

To get the course simply give me your email address and part one will land your inbox almost immediately.

Why do I want your email address? Rather than putting this content on a blog or online somewhere, I’d like to use it as an opportunity to engage with my readers. On a blog it’s difficult to track who is reading what I’ve written and whether it was enjoyed or not. With email, I encourage you to write back to me and let me know what you think of each post. It lets us engage in a conversation which is beneficial to us both.

I will never spam you or sell your email address to anyone else. You can unsubscribe from this mailing list at anytime.

Get the full course and advice from James

Want clear introductions to tools and techniques that make working together on LaTeX documents much easier?

Give me your email address and I'll send you 4 interesting and useful emails, beginning with an essay on how to keep your LaTeX documents in sync between all of your collaborators.

I'll never spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time with a single click.