Overleaf as an alternative for Microsoft Word
As a student, our university recommends using LaTeX for our scientific works. After a time I learned to value LaTeX and nearly adopted from Microsoft products like Word.
After a while, I found that there is a great tool available - Overleaf. Since LaTeX could be a bit tricky to install Overleaf is a great alternative to use LaTeX efficiently.
What is Overleaf?
Overleaf is a web-based LaTeX version. It is comparable with the far known Google Docs.
In Overleaf you have the full ability of LaTex, like if it runs on your local machine.
Why use Overleaf?
There are several reasons to use Overleaf.
The first one is the mentioned installation process. You can start working right after signing up to Overleaf.
Also, you have the advantages of a cloud. So where ever you are, and whatever machine is available to you, you can easily sign in and go on working - naturally if a working internet connection is available.
With this fact, there is additionally no need to block memory on your local machine to save projects.
Furthermore, it is possible to work with other contributors together, like one is used to in Google Docs.
Lastly, Latex is not a “What you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG)-program. This makes the starting process a bit harder comparing it with Word. But when you can handle it, it improves your working process. LaTeX is a bit like programming the paper. Thus, it does exactly what one told it to do. Another keyword on this is automation and the advantage of using templates.
What to use Overleaf for?
You can use Overleaf for a bunch of tasks. E.g. for:
- Letters, and
Disadvantages of Overleaf
Whenever looking positive at a product, some negative aspects should be considered also.
For Overleaf a negative aspect is that a premium account could also be bought. Thus, the free account does not provide every available feature. As an example, the possibility of collaboration is limited to two persons at the same time. But by getting friends onboard to Overleaf one can get extra features for free. If you are thinking about signing up you would do me a huge favor to use this link.
Another negative aspect is the fact, that the Overleaf servers are placed in the United States of America (USA). Taking legal relations into account, information that is stored in the USA are may not be touched as your private ownerships anymore. So if you are writing strongly secret works, I would recommend you to even talk to your supervisor about it. Personally, for me, there is no problem with that, because my paradigm is open access to knowledge wherever it is possible.
If you are interested to step back from Microsoft products Overleaf could be a great alternative for you. So simply check it out.
Also, I attached templates and documentation for Overleaf and LaTeX to get warm with it quickly. Just scroll down to “Sources”.