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Overleaf Guide

Overleaf is an online tool used to edit and compile LaTeX (pronounced Lay-tech) projects. The LaTeX language is designed to reduce time spent formatting and managing elements such as citations, figures, tables, etc. It is easy to sign up and start working, google accounts are accepted.


The LaTeX language uses markup tags that let the compiler know how to format the given text. In the below example, a document class is created. This informs the general layout of the document (margins, line spacing, etc.). We then declare packages needed for our documents. This can vary based on the need for equations, color, hyperlinks, pseudocode, etc. Typically, these come with a template. After this, the title is defined. In programming, all the above can be thought of as the headers. After the headers, the document is declared and we can begin to input content. The best way to learn is to experiment with a template. For more functions such as figures, tables, and more, see the documentation.

Why use LaTeX/Overleaf

The main draw of LaTeX is in quickly managing, and switching between different styles of formatting. This is especially useful for publications for two reasons. First, editors usually share a LaTeX template. This means you will only need to fill in the blanks and the template will format your paper in a way approved by the editors, and there will be no need to worry about the formatting of individual components. Second, citation management is made much easier by using LaTeX paired with a reference manager such as Zotero. Zotero is recommended because it is easier to collaborate online. For example, see my public library to get started.

For instance, changing the documentclass parameter can switch from a single column to double column format in a single line. Very useful to switch formatting and resubmit a rejected paper, or adapt an extended paper to the new guidelines.

As for references, similarly, different publications can have various guidelines. For instance, one editor may ask for references to be sorted alphabetically (the default LaTeX behavior), which will look like this:

References Ordered by Names

This behavior can be changed in the package definition. The code below will maintain the numeric style, but sort by appearance. Changing references to the following in a single line.

References Ordered by Appearance

See overleaf documentation for a comprehensive list.

Building a good Bibliography

There are two phases to curating a bibliography. Before, however, you must install a references manager. Zotero is recommended.

Collecting Citations

One common mistake is to import a PDF of the paper directly in Zotero and let it scan for metadata. This will appear to work, but you will almost always be missing required information absent from the manuscript, such as the publication venue, year, page, etc. Instead, it is best to visit the publisher’s website (springer, ACM, IEEE, etc.). Prefer this over aggregators like ResearchGate or Google Scholar. They tend to have minimal bibliography information. However, they often link back to the original publication.

If available, copy the ID (such as DOI or ISBN) or copy/download the .BIB citation before importing to Zotero. All websites have different interfaces but look for a sidebar with text like “how to cite” or a double quotes icon. If different citation formats are available, choose BibTex and copy into Zotero. BibTex looks something like the below. More information on bibtex here.

	title = {Hierarchical {Dirichlet} {Processes}},
	volume = {101},
	url = {},
	doi = {10.1198/016214506000000302},
	number = {476},
	journal = {Journal of the American Statistical Association},
	author = {Teh, Yee Whye and Jordan, Michael I. and Beal, Matthew J. and Blei, David M.},
	year = {2006},
	note = {Publisher: Taylor \& Francis
	pages = {1566--1581}
Example of citation interface
Other example of citation interface

What if you cannot find the citation

Sometimes, you can only find a PDF version of the paper, or publishers do not comply with common citation format and do not offer metadata. This leaves it up to you to track down the information and create a bibliography entry from scratch if you really want to cite. If you encounter this, I recommend to look elsewhere as this usually signifies the paper may either not be actually published, or the venue is not serious.


Import all your citations in the collection/folder (a set of references) of your choice by either importing the bib file, copying it to your clipboard and importing that, or using the “magic wand” import . For the latter, given a publication’s DOI (, axViv ID (, etc., simply copy that ID to the field and Zotero will do all the importing.

Clipboard import“Magic wand” import
Zotero Bibliography Export

Once you have your bib file, simply upload to Overleaf and include in your document using the \addbibresource tag. Keep your bib file open in a text editor to easily access the publication tags.

Overleaf Upload Button (Top left of the screen)


I want to comment like in Google Docs

There are two ways to collaborate on free accounts. First, you should share the editable link to the document with your collaborator by clicking on the Share button in the top right of the Overleaf interface. Be careful with the link as this will allow them to make changes as they please. Second, by selecting text you wish to change or comment on, you will see a comment popup in the top right of your editor. If edits are minors such as comas, typos, etc., they should simply be edited directly.

The comments interface can be confusing. To open and close it, click the grey bar between your text and the separator in the middle of the page (on the > sign right above the comment form below).


This is a sample document that will hopefully dispel some apprehension surrounding headers.

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran} Indicates the document uses the IEEE style
\IEEEoverridecommandlockouts Ignore - used to identify funding if applicable

\usepackage{amsmath,amssymb,amsfonts} Math packages
\usepackage{algorithmic} Pseudocode package
\usepackage[sorting=none,style=numeric,maxcitenames=6,backend=biber,giveninits=true]{biblatex} Citation style - This tells bibtex to not sort the citations (they will therefore appear in order of appearance) and cite every author by their initials, up to 6

\addbibresource{YOURBIBLIOGRAPHY.bib} Very important - export your Zotero bibliography and upload it to your project
\renewcommand*{\bibfont}{\small} Style command for bibliography

\usepackage{graphicx} Figures package
\graphicspath{{Figures/}} Important - Templates never use it but this helps organizing. It will look in a folder called Figures to find your figures. Avoids cluttering a project with images in the root.

Miscellaneaous packages below
Looks scary but simply defines the word BibTex with special lettering
\def\BibTeX{{\rm B\kern-.05em{\sc i\kern-.025em b}\kern-.08em

\begin{document} Begin writing

\title{A Topic Modeling Framework to Identify Online Social Media Deviance Patterns} Define title

Below is author information. They can vary but there is plenty of ressources
\author{\IEEEauthorblockN{Thomas Marcoux, Esther Mead, Nitin Agarwal}
 \IEEEauthorblockA{\textit{COSMOS Research Center} \\
\textit{University of Arkansas at Little Rock}\\
Little Rock, AR, USA \\
{email: \{txmarcoux, elmead, nxagarwal\}}}

\maketitle Write title

\begin{abstract} Defines the section type
'textbf' enables bold font
\textbf{Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent vaccine related news, the information community has seen the emergence of unique misinformation narratives in a wide array of different online outlets, through social media, blogs, videos, etc.
Taking inspiration from previous COVID-19 and misinformation detection related works, we expanded our topic modeling tool. We added filtering capabilities to the tool to adapt to more chaotic social media datasets and create a chronological representation of online text content.
We curated a corpus of 543 misinformation pieces whittled down to 243 unique misinformation narratives, and collected two separate sets of 652,120 and 1,664,123 YouTube comments.
From our corpus of misinformation stories, this tool has shown to accurately represent the ground truth of COVID misinformation stories. This highlights some of the misinformation narratives unique to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a quick method to monitor and assess misinformation diffusion, enabling policy makers to identify themes to focus on for communication campaigns. To expand previous publications and further explore the potential of topic streams in understanding online misinformation, we propose a framework used as a filter to help whittle down big data corpora and identify latent misinformation within. This could be scaled and applied to very large social networks to highlight misinformation.}\\

'textit' enables italic font
\textbf{\textit{Keywords-misinformation; disinformation; topic models; topic streams; COVID-19; misinfodemic; narratives.}}

\end{abstract} End the section
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