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Using GoogleDocs as Team editor for Latex-files

Dennis Guse

We wrote our last project paper using Latex which creates very nice looking documents, but is absolutely painful to work in teams. Even using a code management system like SVN/GIT won't make it really comfortable as you don't have comments and see changes of other editors live. So, we put our Latex document in GoogleDocs (simply copied the content into a New GDocs Text Document) and shared it with our team. We also formatted the document by applying GDocs styles to our Latex headings, so the text looks structured and easier to work with. At first we simply copied the GDocs content to a local file and compiled it. In fact, the copy-and-paste task is really annoying and so we developed a small bash script that automatically downloads the latest GDocs version and compiles it locally. So, in any case you need to setup your latex tools correctly, but don't waste your time in the compilation step. You only need to enable sharing by URL and from this URL copy the document id, which you need to download the file. Here is the script:

get -O soups-article.download "https://docs.google.com/document/export?format=txt&id=PLACEYOURID_HERE" && \ iconv -c --from-code=UTF-8 --to-code=ISO-8859-1 soups-article.download | sed 's/end{document}*/end{document}/' > myFile.tex && \ pdflatex myFile && \ evince soups-article.pdf