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Writing LaTeX online

In this post, we are going to cover the basics of LaTeX, its benefits, online LaTeX writing and different options available. If you are aware of LaTeX then you can skip the beginning and scroll down to the bottom

What is LaTeX?

In simple words, LaTeX can be described as a document preparation system that does not use the Internet and in which plain text is used as opposed to the formatted text found in WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) word processors like MS Word, LibreOffice Writers, and Apple Pages.

Several mark-up tagging conventions are used to define the general structure of the document, to style the document and to add references in it. These days online LaTeX writing is popular in academic institutions for the communication and publication of scientific documents in the fields like mathematics, politics, science,etc.

It is intended to provide a high-level language that accesses the power of TeX in an easier way for writers. It is the standard for communication and publication of documents in the scientific community and is widely used by mathematicians, scientists, engineers, linguists, and researchers.

The system makes it easy to merge complex mathematical formulas, equations, bibliographies, and indexes into a document.

Brief about History and Evolution

LaTeX was created in 1983 by Leslie Lamport. He needed to write TeX macros for personal use and thought that with a little extra effort he could make a general package usable by others.

Peter Gordon, an editor at Addison-Wesley, convinced him to write a LaTeX user's manual for publication that came out in 1986 and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. Lamport released versions of his LaTeX macros in 1984 and 1985; and in 1994 released LaTeX 2e, the current standard version, and continued working on LaTeX3. After the beginning of the internet era, various options were available for writing LaTeX online.

Why you should work with LaTeX?

Separation of content and style: The user concentrates on the content itself and introduces structure explicitly by mentioning when a new section begins.

Portability : The file is merely a text file that can be transferred to any device. The system processes the text file and produces the finished document that can be implemented in any platform.

Control : It positions your images and tables with a lot of sense. The image would appear in a position of your choice having to make no amendments as it makes decent typesetting decisions for the user.

Quality: LaTeX has a large set of metrics that it evaluates against when generating your document. It experiments with various permutations of parameters and determines the one which gives the "best" output.

Stability: It is mature and developed by extremely clever programmers - bugs are negligible. And even if there were any bugs to be found, the user never loses the original source code.

Cost : completely free.

In the era of the internet, Online LaTeX writing is comparatively easy and helps save the time of installation (it is a little bit cumbersome).

How to write it online?

Reliable options

Overleaf : It is a trusted name in the LaTeX community and one of the best online LaTeX editor. It provides real-time collaboration, easy sharing, and rich text mode, find mistakes quickly and also protects the projects.

ShareLaTeX : It is another online LaTeX writing and collaboration editor which is now acquired by Overleaf.

Authorea : It is an online tool for writing LaTeX code that helps researchers write, collaborate, and publish their works. It provides formatting and citations, rich content and import and export.

Docx2LaTeX : They have a new, user-friendly way of writing LaTeX. Use google docs to prepare document as usual and use our Google Docs Add-on to get the source code and compiled pdf in one click which is pretty accurate.

This is rich text + LaTeX fusion online.

What you can do with the google docs add-on apart from one click conversion?

  • One click citation in google docs

  • Cross-referencing – You can add table and figure caption, refer them in the document

  • Add bibliography manually or you can search the local library or google as well and cite it with one click.

  • Insert LaTeX code block in google docs document and you can render or derender it to see the result, especially effective for writing mathematical equations and algorithms in LaTeX.

  • Syntax highlighting

  • Advance option for font, font size, page margin, numbering, document classes as well with a variety of language support

  • Easy to use Templates available

  • Most important - It is free.

This addon has played a vital role in saving LaTeX coding time and has been proven very helpful for someone who doesn’t know LaTeX. This is a new way of writing LaTeX online.

Apart from above mentioned, there are some other online websites where you will have LaTeX Editor. You can check them out as well.

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