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  • Upgrades and Simplifications: Vim & Emacs, Faster Previews, and Editor Streamlining

    Posted on May 7, 2013

    Notes for Overleaf v2: The screenshots below show the Overleaf v1 interface, which is now retired. The method for changing to Vim or Emacs keybindings described below has been changed in Overleaf (v2). For the most current instructions, visit Using the Overleaf project menu: Keybindings.

    "My favourite text editor is vim, and it would be awesome to have the power and versatility of this text editor whilst editing these files online"
    "But I use emacs !"

    This pair of quotes comes from our feedback forum, where you can post comments and suggestions on what you'd like to see at writeLaTeX.

    We're listening to all your feedback to help improve the user experience, and are pleased to announce the latest set of upgrades to writeLaTeX are now live -- and this set includes support for the Vim and Emacs editor styles mentioned above. We've also improved the speed of the preview display, and streamlined the editor menu.

    New editor schemes: Vim and Emacs

    As of today, you can now choose to use either a Vim or Emacs scheme instead of the default writeLaTeX editor. Simply go to your account settings and choose the desired editor style. You can change back at any time simply by choosing the "Default" option from the dropdown menu.

    WriteLaTeX settings screenshot

    These editor styles emulate the look and in-built commands of the Vim and Emacs editors, but are not perfect reproductions -- if you're a regular user of these editors please let us know what you think.

    Faster previews

    With our continued rapid growth in user numbers and active documents in 2013, we've been developing some upgrades to the service to improve performance. These upgrades have now been released, and have been live on the site since the weekend. They give faster previews and faster collaboration -- your edits will appear in the other person's browser more quickly.

    If you experience any unusually long preview times please let us know, and we'll check to make sure everything's ok. For those who prefer to choose when to refresh the preview, we'll shortly be enabling the option to turn off the auto-preview and run manual refreshes.

    Simpler editor menu

    Following feedback during our recent seminar presenting the Introduction to LaTeX course at Bristol University, and a number of similar comments sent via our contact form, we've streamlined the top menu bar in the editor.

    You can now find the option to download all the files associated with the current document under the files menu in the editor. This lets you download all files with a single click, and through our easy uploader you can upload multiple files at once, from Dropbox, Google Drive and more.

    To save a PDF copy of your document, simply click the PDF icon to the right of the share menu.

    WriteLaTeX editor files menu screenshot

    The option to share your PDF via figshare is now under the share menu. If you haven't yet used this service, we recommend giving it a try; it allows you to publish your work freely online, and provides a DOI so you get credit whenever anyone cites or shares your work. For more details see our earlier blog post.

    WriteLaTeX editor share menu screenshot

    Finally, the title of your document now shows up in the browser's title bar, so when you're working on multiple documents in mulitple tabs, you can more easily switch between them!

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