Overleaf: First six months at the University

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Projects, Research networking and collaboration | 0 comments

In July 2020, Overleaf Professional was launched for all staff, researchers and PGRs at the University.  

Overleaf is an online collaborative academic writing and publishing tool. It is designed to make the process of writing, editing, and producing papers and documents much faster and easier for authors.   

Here’s a quick look at Overleaf’s first six months at the University: 

  • More than 1,600 new sign ups since the launch of Overleaf Professional accounts
  • Over 2,900 Overleaf users at the University
  • 4,700 active projects  
  • 3 webinars held with almost 500 bookings  

Overleaf has been widely welcomed by the research community at the University as it will allow better collaboration in teams and across disciplines.   

Dr Alex Casson, Reader (Associate Professor) in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering explains: 

“I get free access to Overleaf Pro via my Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) membership, but previously no-one else in my team would get the Pro features. Instead, I would always set up the project and then share. It worked, but was quite a pain. We do find we need the Pro features, we typically hit the compilation time limit on free accounts (typically for big documents like theses). 

It’s also good to know IT at the University have been over it in terms of export controls, GDPR and so on. It’s an approved tool. 

Before Overleaf, we hosted a git repository on a shared server and committed to this when editing a document collaboratively. This was hard work, and you can’t see others changes in real time, so have to handle merges and similar. 

What sets Overleaf apart (and all good online tools in my opinion) is that it works seamlessly offline. Everything is easily linked to your Dropbox so you have a local copy and you can edit with your preferred text editor.” 

You can sign up for your Overleaf Professional account at The University of Manchester resource portal using your University of Manchester email address. 

The RLP team will soon be producing an evaluation of Overleaf and would love to hear from Overleaf users at the University. In the meantime, we want to understand what’s working well, what could be improved and if there is any additional support you need (eg templates, training etc.).  

You can share your feedback, suggestions for improvement and good news stories by emailing us at rlp@manchester.ac.uk

Find out more about Overleaf 


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