Sara Gonzalez
February 27, 2023 --

Write More Productively in Overleaf using Papers

write more productively

You probably already know how easily Papers integrates into Word and Google Docs but did you know that you can also use Papers to manage your publications when you write using Overleaf?  

Overleaf is a collaborative, web-based platform for writing documents using the LaTeX publishing system. LaTeX gives you complete control over how a document appears and, if you need to include mathematical or chemical formulas in your writing, this is the absolute best way to create beautifully formatted formulas.  (example: Figure 1)

Figure 1

The process is straightforward. You can take advantage of all the discovery, PDF annotation, and organizational capabilities of Papers and then simply export references as a .bib file to upload into Overleaf.

What About Citekeys?

Want to customize the citekey so that a paper is easily recognizable? No problem. That is simple to do in the desktop version of Papers. Click on the Papers menu and choose Papers Settings.

Then choose Citations and turn on Enable Citekey Management. Now you can select the fields to use in the cite key.  

Walkthrough of ‘Enable Citekey Management’

Change your mind about the citekey format? It happens! Click on the “-” to remove a field or drag the fields around to change their order. I personally prefer to create mine using Last Author + Year but you may wish to have a longer, more detailed citekey.

What about adding new items?

Be sure to turn on Generate Citekeys Automatically for New Items so that any new records have a citekey added. I prefer to overwrite citekeys so that all of my references have the same style but you also have the option to keep imported citekeys if preferred.

Finally, choose Regenerate all Citekeys or Generate Missing Citekeys.  I typically choose ‘regenerate all’ because I like a uniform set of citekeys but, if you want to keep the ones you just imported, choose to generate just the missing ones. Citekeys can even be used with other writing tools, such as Libreoffice and Scrivener.  Once your database connects with your Papers account online, everything will be synced across all platforms. Additionally, any software that exports a .docx file, can be formatted into a journal citation style when you use SmartCite for Citekeys (located in your desktop menu under Tools).  

And finally, you now have citekeys for all of your references. As you move forward in your publication, you can have uniform citations, beautifully formatted formulas, and complete control over your final product with ease.