Notes on Editing #2

Hi, and welcome to the second issue of Notes on Editing, my newsletter covering editing tools and tips.

It’s been about a month since I sent out the first issue. If you missed that one, you can read it here. I gave an early update on my planned course, LaTeX for Academic Editors and covered how I use PerfectIt for LaTeX manuscripts.

Today, I’ll provide an update on my course, and I’ll talk about how I to resize text in the Overleaf editor.

Course Update

I’m making good progress on building the LaTeX for Academic Editors course. I mentioned in the last issue that I was aiming for a launch in the 2nd half. I’m now planning on doing a rolling launch: I’ll open the course up after the core modules — the first six or seven — are ready, and then I’ll continue to add modules until the course is complete.

The current high-level module list looks like this:

A table showing the planned course modules: 1. Preliminaries 2. Overleaf Overview 3. Basic Formatting 4. Document Organization 5. Lists 6. Bibliographies 7. Math 8. Theorems, Lemmas, Definitions, etc. 9. Defining Commands 10. Advanced Formatting 11. Tables 12. Figures 13. Float Positioning 14. Troubleshooting 15. Tips 16. Under the Hood

The first module is done, and modules 2 and 3 are in progress. The rolling launch will start after module 6 (Bibliographies) or 7 (Math). I hope to have a target launch date by next month’s issue.

Resizing Text in Overleaf’s Editor

After last month’s article on using PerfectIt for LaTeX manuscripts, a reader asked about resizing text in Overleaf, as all they could find was on changing the text size to 12 point.

That pointed to a bit of a difference in how editing works between Overleaf and Word. In Word, if we want to change the text size in the document, we have two options: we can increase the font size in the document, but that’s a bit problematic if it’s a complicated document with a bunch of styles. Or, we can just use the zoom controls. That’s usually what I do, and I often work with Word’s zoom at 250% or more.

In Overleaf, there are four things we can do to increase the text size, but really only three are practical. First, we can change the font size of the compiled document — I think that’s what this reader’s question was based on — but, by default, the supported base font sizes are 10 point, 11 point, and 12 point. There are commands to raise and lower that selectively in the text, but with some exceptions, the document font size is largely handled under the hood in the document-class files. (I will talk about adjusting the font size for the compiled PDF in my course.)

For editing in LaTeX though, the font size of the compiled document really isn’t all that relevant. It’s more likely that what we need to change is the font size in the editor window.

With the editor pane open, click the Menu button at the top left and scroll down to near the bottom of the options. There, you can raise the font size in the editor pane up to 24 point and change the font, line height, and color scheme. These options are available in the free and paid plans.

An arrow pointing to the menu button at the top left of Overleaf's editor view

An arrow pointing to the Font Size option in Overleaf's editor menu

We can also adjust the size of the displayed text in the generated PDF. There are size controls in the top left of the PDF pane. They’re hidden by default, but will show up when you mouse over that area.

A cursor pointing to Overleaf's PDF size controls at the top left of the PDF pane

Unfortunately, neither of these options affects the size of text in the change tracking pane, which has the before and after markup and the comment boxes. For that, we have to use the browser’s zoom. I usually have my the zoom in Chrome for Overleaf set at 100% on my notebook and 150% on my desktop, but even so, I still use a magnifying glass for the markup text sometimes.

An arrow pointing to the browser's zoom controls

One final trick: if you have two monitors, you can separate the editor and PDF panes into their own tabs and drag one to another screen. I often do this on my last read through so I can focus on the PDF and only look at the editor when I need to make a change. The extra space also lets me increase the text size in the PDF a lot higher than when it shares a screen with the editor pane. This is very similar to how I work in Google Docs, with one window in suggest mode and the other in preview mode.

Arrows pointing to the option at the top right of Overleaf's editor window where you can open the PDF in a separate tab

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps. If you have any questions about the text size, or anything else with Overleaf and LaTeX, please feel free to send me a note. I’m happy to help if I can.

If this note was forwarded to you, you can sign up for future issues. If you’re interested in booking my editing services, you can reach me at or fill out the form here to let me know what you need.

Have a great week!


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