• Overleaf at Australian and NZ Industrial and Applied Maths (ANZIAM) 2016

    Posted on March 7, 2016

    What are your top three features of Overleaf? Edward Waters reports back on the researchers' views from ANZIAM 2016...

    Edward Waters photo

    Having been loudly singing the praises of Overleaf for years now, first as a PhD student and then as an ambassador and lecturer, I'm amazed that there are still a good proportion of LaTeX users who haven't heard of it. I was therefore eager to set up a booth at the Australian and NZ Industrial and Applied Mathematics conference, held in Australia's capital city, Canberra, from February 7-11 2016 to spread the word.

    This was especially the case since Overleaf had generously agreed to sponsor the Conference, specifically the production of the conference handbook which was compiled in Overleaf.

    Overleaf supplied a generous swag of brochures, pens and eggs containing putty, but not generous enough as it turned out! The eggs disappeared almost entirely within the first morning tea break at the Conference!

    Talking about @overleaf at #ANZIAM2016 overleaf eggs and pens almost gone after one morning tea talking about it! pic.twitter.com/46cyDxfuHQ

    — Edward Waters (@ewatersresearch) February 8, 2016

    I had a lot of conversations with people, and I would have to say that the three things that impressed them most about Overleaf were:

    1. The Rich Text editing mode.
    2. The real time collaboration that is possible.
    3. The impressive collection of templates available.

    Whilst some of us might view the trend with great dismay, LaTeX is starting to lose sway amongst some mathematicians and engineers, and it is becoming more and more vital to collaborate with people who use word processing. The Rich Text feature was seen as essential, especially for collaborating with industry. There was great interest in presenting this feature of Overleaf at future events combining mathematics and industry representatives.

    Closely linked to this, Overleaf's collaborative tools are unparalleled. The best example of this was the conference handbook. The ability to share this complex document (now published in the Overleaf Gallery) with multiple editors, incorporate multiple linked .tex files worked on by others, and produce such a nice end result in a web browser really impressed people.

    ANZIAM 2016 Conference Handbook on Overleaf

    The importance of the templates available on Overleaf, particularly to new users, spoke for itself.

    It was great to talk Overleaf, and I won a few converts and a lot of interest for spreading the word at futures Maths and Industry events. None of this could have happened without the generous support of Overleaf for the Conference and the mathematics community.

    ANZIAM 2016 Canberra logo