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Quick Start Guide

loislambeth edited this page May 27, 2021 · 24 revisions
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! Announcing the Overleaf Toolkit !

The Overleaf Toolkit is the new way to deploy and manage Overleaf Community Edition and Server Pro.

We encourage new Overleaf users to get started with the Toolkit Quick Start Guide, instead of using this guide. The instructions on this wiki will remain in place for existing docker-compose based deployments.

Make sure you have read this guide before running Overleaf with any important data

Overleaf is installed run via Docker, the following command will pull down the latest version:

$ docker pull sharelatex/sharelatex

If you are using Overleaf Server Pro the image name will be slightly different.

Using a compose file

It is recommended to use our docker-compose.yml file to get up and running. In addition to installing and starting Overleaf it also setup redis and mongodb, with an option of HTTPS via nginx proxy. The docker compose file also allows for a nice interface for passing environment variables to Overleaf.

Operating systems

We recommend a debian based operating system such as Ubuntu for Overleaf, this is what the software has been developed using and most people use when running Overleaf.

Storing Data & Backups

The directory you mount at /var/lib/sharelatex is where Overleaf will store data such as images, this is what you will need to backup, in addition to mongodb & redis. The example mounts it from ~/sharelatex_datat but it can be anywhere accessible from the docker image.

LaTeX environment

To save bandwidth, the Overleaf image only comes with a minimal install of TeXLive. To upgrade to a complete TeXLive installation, run the installation script in the Overleaf container with the following command:

$ docker exec sharelatex tlmgr install scheme-full

Alternatively you can install packages manually as you need by replacing scheme-full with the package name.

Note that these changes made inside the sharelatex container with docker exec are ephemeral --- they will be lost if Compose recreates the container. To make them persistent, you can use docker commit:

docker commit sharelatex sharelatex/sharelatex:with-texlive-full

Then edit your docker-compose.yml to use that image:

# ...
        image: sharelatex/sharelatex:with-texlive-full
# ...

Note that you will need to remove this committed container and repeat these steps when you upgrade.

Server Pro users have the option of using Sandbox Compiles, which will automatically pull down a full TexLive image.

Creating and Managing users

Once the Overleaf instance is running, visit the /launchpad page to set up your first admin user.

Altenatively, use the following command to create your first user and make them an admin:

$ docker exec sharelatex /bin/bash -c "cd /var/www/sharelatex; grunt user:create-admin"

This will create a user with the given email address if they don't already exist, and make them an admin user. You will be given a URL to visit where you can set the password for this user and log in for the first time.

NOTE: the command above will always yield a URL pointing to http://localhost/ if you've updated your port forwarding to something like ports: - 8080:80, you should use the correct port to visit the password confirmation page: http://localhost:8080/user/password/set?passwordResetToken=<token>. Another option is to set SHARELATEX_SITE_URL environment variable to http://localhost:8080 or

Creating normal users

Once you are logged in as an admin user, you can visit /admin/register on your Overleaf instance and create new users. If you have an email backend configured the new users will be sent an email with a URL to set their password. If not, you will have to distribute the password reset URLs manually. These are shown when you create a user.


Our Support Policy explains how we support Overleaf Server Pro.

Server Pro administrators can contact us at