I'm working in Overleaf. Often I have a project with more than one LaTeX file: for example, I have main.tex and also a file section.tex which I'm working on separately for the moment and which will be incorporated into the main file later.

Often I'm working on section.tex, and I want to, say, take a look at something in the main document.

To view main.pdf, I first switch to main.tex. At this point I have main.tex on the left and section.pdf on the right. Now in order to view main.pdf, it seems that I need to recompile main.tex. This recompilation seems to be necessary even if nothing in main.tex has changed since the last compilation. For a big project, this unnecessary recompilation can take quite some time. Is there a way to say "show me the most recent version of main.pdf without recompiling"? Of course, I could avoid this by downloading main.pdf every time it changes, and then looking at it locally, but I'd rather not have to do that....

  • 1
    A decent work-around is to have two copies of Overleaf open in different tabs (or windows) of the browser. Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


(Tom from Overleaf Support here.)

We keep only the very last output PDF, so your assumption is correct, you'll have to Recompile each time you switch if the two are completely separate.

However, it's not necessary to keep them completely separate, you can use multiple files and \input them at the right spots. But that's a separate issue.

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    Many thanks for the answer Tom! That's a shame, it would be nice if the system could keep a pdf for each file (at least, up to some limit higher than 1 anyway!). Understood about \input; one reason for keeping them temporarily separate is that the whole project can be enormous, and one doesn't want to have to recompile the whole thing just to look at a local change in a small section. Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 10:20

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