I have heard rumors that you can compile documents online, and more specifically that Google has a free online compiler, but I have never been able to find any. Is there a way to compile documents online, so that I can write and compile documents even if I don't have a TeX distribution installed on my computer?

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    Note the online compiler is not affiliated with google. It simply uses google UI toolkit and google apps hosting platform. – Dima Jul 27 '10 at 3:03
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    You mean that you don't carry around a USB with the full TeXLive distribution on it and binaries for all major operating systems? – Loop Space Jul 27 '10 at 7:15
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    @Andrew Stacey lol =) I bet you even have it on your smartphone. – Dima Jul 27 '10 at 15:49
  • If you just want equations, check out Auto-LaTeX Equations for Google Docs, it does all the rendering work for you and looks great. – John Targaryen Dec 14 '17 at 3:26
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    @LoopSpace of course I do. This is 2018, after all! – thymaro Mar 15 at 7:36

20 Answers 20

up vote 277 down vote accepted

Online compiler with storage and editor features:

Meanwhile inactive:

Online compiler with basic functionality:

Tiny equation compiler:

Latex Table generator:

Document frame generator:

The other way round:

  • DeTeXify outputs the corresponding LaTeX command code after you've drawn a symbol
  • classify has the same purpose like DeTeXify

Word to LaTeX converters

  • Docx2Latex Converts Word/Google Docs file to LaTeX source code and PDF.

The Google-related solution was available here at http://docs.latexlab.org/ but has been taken offline.

Note, however, that the online compiler was never affiliated with Google. It simply used Google UI toolkit and Google Apps hosting platform. (from Dima)

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    Website available, but requires access to all your gmail contacts and apparently google documents... – anderstood Mar 24 '15 at 22:50
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    Hasn't been upgraded to OAuth2.0... unusable – chris Frisina Jun 24 '15 at 22:09
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    And now offline... – Maarten Bodewes Aug 15 '15 at 11:13

Overleaf


Features:

  • no need to register
  • collaboration possible, by means of sharing the URL
  • documents can be saved, actually everything is saved automatically
  • instant compilation on-the-fly
  • possibility to upload files (PDF, PNG, STY, TeX, Bib, etc.) up to 10 MiB
  • syntax highlighting in the included editor

Screenshot:

enter image description here

ScribTeX is another good choice. You can also checkout the Common LaTeX Service Interface (CLSI) which is one of the underlying technologies of both ScribTeX and LaTeX Lab.

The CLSI provides the underlying infrastructure for exposing a LaTeX compiler to requests from the internet and can be used to build your own custom web-based solution.

Update

ScribTeX uses git internally to store revisions to documents and the site's author is planning to open the service up to allow users to push and pull repositories as soon as he gets the logistics worked out.

Looks like there may finally be a GitHub-like service for LaTeX documents!

  • I am disappointed at the account structure of ScribTex. For holding KBs of files, allowing only three projects is quite sad. My thesis proposal, thesis and resume already used up the three projects and I am definitely not paying for more projects for such a basic service. – JoshFinnie Sep 3 '10 at 16:04

The ConTeXtGarden offers a simple ConTeXt online compiler. It currently uses

  • ConTeXt version 2012.05.30 11:26 MkIV
  • ConTeXt version 2012.05.30 11:26 MkII
  • LuaTeX version beta-0.70.1-2012052416 (rev 4277)
  • pdfTeX version 3.1415926-2.4-1.40.13 (TeX Live 2012)

Here is a screenshot:

contextlivenew

  • Down these days :/ – Kian Jun 6 '15 at 16:00

Verbosus seems to be the most convenient and appealing to me.

It worth noting that Verbosus has a good app for smartphone and tablet (with a dark theme, which someone may prefer) and, last but not least, use an updated version of TeX Live, whereas Overleaf and ShareLaTeX do not.

On the other hand, it has not the instant compilation on-the-fly, which Overleaf has.

I’ve used some of the online compilers, and they’re fine, but occasionally I want to make use of my own TeX installation on my work computer because it has custom packages and settings installed not available with the online compiler. But what to do if I’m not sitting in front of my work computer?

My solution was to set up a SSH server on my work computer, and simply use an SSH client from wherever I am to log in, fire up vim or emacs or other text only text editor to do edits if need be, and/or simply run latex/pdflatex from the commandline through the shell.

Apparently, you can do this with an iPad or similar. (I don't have one.)

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    You can forward X11 over ssh pretty easily so no need to confine yourself to command line editors if you don't wish to, at least on GNU/Linux and Mac OS X. One big advantage of this is security. I've yet to find an online compiler I would trust my work to simply for reasons of privacy. People should think more carefully about the implications of this stuff, especially in light of recent events. – cfr Jan 5 '14 at 3:28

A recent addition to online compilers by Troy Henderson, presented at TUGboat 33:1, 2012 is the LaTeX previewer:

enter image description here

One more solution, not mentioned above: papeeria.com It's currently in active development. Free plan includes one private project and unlimited public ones.

SimpleLaTeX: A simple online editor for very minimal documents; manages and previews LaTeX notes:

SimpleLaTeX is an online tool where you can preview and share short notes in LaTeX. It may be useful if you are writing a complicated equation, table, or TikZ image that requires iterative trial-and-error. Current features include:

  • A trimmed image is generated and displayed in scalable SVG;

  • Images in PDF and PNG formats are also available for download;

  • You can save your note being sketched to your browser's cache, which will be loaded next time you visit;

  • You can publish your compilable note and share it with others.

The site requires HTML5 support so it may not work in older browsers.

SimpleLaTeX is not designed to handle full LaTeX documents such as Overleaf does. The goal is to be light-weight and in spirit more like jsfiddle.

enter image description here

Amusingly, many of the online previewers given in other answers are vulnerable to maliciously crafted input. I can only think of one fairly-far fetched way this could be a problem for users, but the people running the preview services should think long and hard about what it is they're doing.

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    They really should. I considered hosting one for my own personal use, then realised what a wretched, massive security hole it would be and decided against it. – EricR Sep 12 '10 at 0:20
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    @EricR: could you perhaps elaborate on how to make it safe? or what the problems are? if \write18 is disabled, is it any better? without actually giving malicious code, could you provide some pointers as to what some problematics commands could be? – Yossi Farjoun Nov 29 '10 at 10:31
  • @Yossi: Sure. Joseph's blog mentions a paper that describes this in some detail. – TH. Nov 30 '10 at 3:48

Here's another one I found:

http://tools.jcisio.com/tex/eq.html

I've blogged about using CLSI (in particular ScribTeX) to compile LaTeX remotely. I wrote a little client in F#, but it's pretty easy to code a CLSI client in any language.

I also show conceptually in that article how to integrate this with a source control repository and a build server.

Another solution not mentioned here is Authorea which lets you collaboratively write LaTeX (and Markdown), and render it to HTML or PDF (most journal styles supported). Also- it is built on Git for version control.

enter image description here

I think that my minimalistic service, latex-online, might come handy to someone.

Unique feature:

  • Create a live link which, when pressed, fetches content from url/git repo and returns freshly compiled pdf. Github example

This helps a lot if you store TeX files in a public repository and want a "See Latest" link in the README.md (example: my diploma).

Other than that, main features are:

  • Compile given URL/gitrepo/text.
  • Compile local files (with the help of command-line utility
  • Open Source!
  • Easy docker deployment

I find this useful - but once again, beware: I'm the developer of the thing and might be biased.

  • Internal Server Error 500 here on 2016-Nov-12. – Jim Hefferon Nov 12 '16 at 22:39
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    @JimHefferon thanks for the heads-up, it got fixed some time ago. Should be working fine now – Andrey Lushnikov Nov 17 '16 at 18:13

Additionally, Verbosus not only allows using LaTeX in the browser. The developers also provide an Android app called VerbTeX and an iPad/iPhone app called iVerbTeX. I guess this is definitely a nice addition to browser-based LaTeX editing.

The following is the only LaTeX online editor that I found both to be 100% free and to support collaborative editing. It was also designed for sharing bibliography, but I have not looked into that feature.

www.publications.li/

All you have to do is register and you are ready to start a document. To share the document with an "unconstrained" number of collaborators, just send them the document's URL. I think it is worth the try.

Auto-Latex Equations add-on for Google Docs

For just equations, the Auto-Latex Equations add-on for Google Docs is free and works brilliantly. Additionally, it replaces all your equations with images of the high-quality equation, making it mobile-viewable and fully compatible with Google Docs image tools.

All you have to do is type an equation within delimiters, like $$55 + \sqrt{5}$$ and it can be rendered in super high quality at whatever time you like by rendering all the equations in your document. If you mess up, you can always undo one or all the equations. It supports collaborative editing, but not the full LaTeX document syntax.

You can get it for free at the Google Docs add-ons store.

Texpad developers here. I should add that remote/cloud typesetting has become increasingly unnecessary as on iOS we have our universal (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) app called Texpad that has the most complete local LaTeX typesetter with advanced fonts, Beamer and tikz.

Hope it helps to the OP.

For the MetaPost users, besides Troy Henderson's LaTeX previewer already presented above there is also its MetaPost previewer:

enter image description here

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