Writing Tools

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You’re ready to start writing; the next big question is “with what”?

Editing and typesetting large (long) documents can quickly become unwieldy using a simple word processor like MS Word. This is where LaTeX (pronounced "LAH-tekh"), a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting becomes useful. Not everyone is comfortable with writng LaTeX directly, which can seem like writing source code.

We’ll take this opportunity to briefly introduce some tools for academic (or other) writing which work with LaTeX (disclaimer: we are not affiliated with any of them). These platforms have various cost models: some have a free trial period; some have a free basic version. The introductions below might help you decide which is best suited to your needs.


Authorea is a collaborative writing and publishing tool that allows researchers to write documents together in real time and attach references, figures, data, and source code. Authorea is a web-native platform and supports writing in in LaTeX Format as well as Markdown and HTML and includes a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor.


Overleaf is a LaTeX and Rich Text online collaborative writing, editing and publishing tool that also allows researchers to write documents together and attach references, figures, data, and source code. It has a WYSIWYG manuscript editor, with real-time collaboration and structured, fully typeset output.


ShareLaTeX is an online LaTeX editor that allows real-time collaboration, writing, editing and publishing. It also allows researchers to insert images, bibliographies, equations, etc. In comparison to other LaTeX editors, ShareLaTeX is a server-based application, which is accessed through a web browser.


Scrivener is a word-processing program and outliner. Scrivener provides a management system for documents, notes and metadata. This allows the user to organize notes, concepts, research and whole documents for easy access and reference (documents including rich text, images, PDF, audio, video, web pages, etc.). Texts can be exported for final formatting to a standard word processor, screenwriting software, desktop publishing software, or TeX.

Please note: as of 20th June 2017, ShareLaTeX is joining Overleaf, please see here for more information.

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