If this question is out of topic, I will remove as soon as possible.

I have used neither Subversion nor GIT nor any collaboration system to write any document together with others. I am looking for the collaboration system on the web, either commercial (cheap) or free (preferred) that I can use to write a LaTeX book with others.

Is there anybody here knows the details?

  • (This comment will be deleted later): I am reading the links given in the following answers. Need time to grasp what they are talking about. :-) Aug 2, 2011 at 18:51
  • I wrote everything with subversion, my own books and the others with multiple authors, too. Easy to install, easy to maintain.
    – user2478
    Aug 2, 2011 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


It depends considerably on what you are willing to work with. Collaborating is complicated, not least because when you're editing someone else's section then you don't want to have to fight against their macros (which were, let's be honest, probably daft choices - unlike yours which, naturally, are elegant).

So I don't recommend using LaTeX directly as a collaborative system on a major project.

Here's the workflow I would recommend:

  1. Use a wiki with proper mathematical support and that can export to LaTeX. Instiki fits this.
  2. When writing a major section, write it in LaTeX and use my package for exporting LaTeX to Instiki's input syntax (blog post and package; the package is very much alpha release, but I'm using it for writing entries on the nLab so it is usable).
  3. When editing each other's stuff, use the wiki: the syntax is simple and intuitive so you're not always trying to work out what the other person meant, but nonetheless it isn't too difficult to use.
  4. When finished, export the lot back to LaTeX and produce a very nice edition of the book, with the added bonus of an online edition.
  • This sounds very complicated to me. I mean if you are colaborating I assume the idea is that you actually can agree on things. Maybe just talk about macros and stuff and agree on what to use instead of learning another syntax for editing and converting first in one direction and then back again?
    – jonalv
    Aug 2, 2011 at 20:20
  • @jonalv: Depends on the collaboration. I have the nlab in mind which could be described as a variant on the theme of collaboration, but I wouldn't dream of trying to get us to agree on a common set of macros! The discussions would be endless, and pointless. But each collaboration is different and my purpose is more to suggest possibilities than to prescribe How It Must Be Done. Aug 2, 2011 at 21:13

The wikibook has a section on software and services usable for collaborative editing of documents.

  • So I must work in HTML mode? Aug 2, 2011 at 18:22
  • 1
    @Tilo: don't you mean ”... for collaboratively editing LaTeX documents”?
    – Caramdir
    Aug 2, 2011 at 18:37

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