WriteLatex vs. ShareLatex

Short answer: Use ShareLatex

1) ShareLatex is much faster to compile. I have a 30 page journal article draft with numerous figures, and WriteLatex seems to take on the order of a minute to compile while ShareLatex was substantially less.

2) ShareLatex has far better error/warning feedback and a much better IDE overall. WriteLatex error/warnings keep disappearing and the line number with error is not clearly indicated.

3) ShareLatex is open-source. WriteLatex is NOT open source.

post graph of .tex document progess to HTML server

This program extracts the word count and equation count.
Also available from TeXcount are several other counts such as floating element count.

This program is setup to use passwords, not encrypted keys. Maybe you’ll fix it to work with public keys.

sudo apt-get install texcount git python-pip
sudo pip install paramiko

Download program:
git clone https://github.com/scienceopen/progress-post.git


Just show a plot:
python texwcpost.py mydissertation.tex

Upload to your SFTP server (for HTTP access, normally)
python phdwc.py mydissertation.tex serverAddress username serverDirectory

pdflatex error: epstopdf Output filename not allowed in restricted mode.

you may get this error if you include .eps files that are not in the same directory or a subdirectory of your .tex file. E.g. a file that is in a directory above or adjacent to your current level.

The “fix” is to include the
option in your pdflatex command.


pdflatex -shell-escape myfile.tex

For example, in TexMaker, click Options>Configure and add -shell-escape right after pdflatex in the PdfLaTeX command box.

Example of problem situation:
I have files:

will trigger this error until -shell-escape is used.

Setting up GCX (Linux astrometry program)

The first step is sudo apt-get install gcx

you will need the GSC ACT catalog, downloaded using wget. There are a lot of directories with lots of ~50KB files, so it will take a while even with a very fast internet connection. Maybe there is a better way to use wget to download a huge amount of small files

mkdir ~/gsc-act && cd ~/gsc-act
wget -r -nH --cut-dirs=5 ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/I/255/GSC_ACT/

set File>File and Device Options/GSC to /home/username/gsc-act
where username is your linux login
You will need the Tycho2 star catalog, downloaded using wget.

mkdir ~/tycho2 && cd ~/tycho2
wget -r -nH --cut-dirs=5 ftp://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/pub/cats/I/259/

Once you see that they’ve downloaded correctly, do:

zcat tyc2.dat.??.gz >tycho2.dat

set File>File and Device Options/Tycho2 to /home/username/tycho2
where username is your linux login

Converting RIS citations to Bibtex / Biblatex citations

the handy utilities at:


will convert RIS to Bibtex (Biblatex) format. You must compile from the source code (no problem).

Here’s how:

  1. Download most recent copy from: http://sourceforge.net/projects/bibutils/files/
  2. Extract to /tmp directory
  3. type cd /tmp/bibutils*
  4. type ./configure && make && sudo make install

Now, to convert from RIS to BIBTEX, imagine i have cit02.ris, type:
ris2xml cit02.ris | xml2bib > cit02.bib