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  • Major feature news: Add and edit tables without writing code

    Posted on September 27, 2023

    Update (Jan 18, 2024): The latest enhancement to Overleaf's table editing capabilities introduces an intuitive feature in the Visual Editor mode that allows users to effortlessly specify column widths and enable text wrapping within their LaTeX tables, mitigating the challenges of manually coding complex table structures.

    The blog post below has been updated to reflect these changes.

    That’s right Overleafers, we’re so excited to let you know about our latest feature releases designed to help you speed up your writing process. First up, we’ve launched an easier way to create and edit tables. And that’s not all—you can also copy and paste tables and formatted text directly into Visual Editor, without losing the formatting.

    These new features follow hot on the heels of upgrades we’ve made to our Visual Editor and the shiny new toolbar in our Code Editor, as well as a new way of adding figures to your projects.

    Add a table from the toolbar, edit in Visual Editor

    If you’ve ever wished it was quicker and simpler to add a table to your Overleaf project, this is what you’ve been waiting for. Just click the  Insert table button in the toolbar, select the number of rows and columns you want, and your brand new table will appear.

    In Code Editor you’ll see the table code generated, but the real magic happens when you switch to Visual Editor, where you can see your table in all its glory—and edit it too.

    In Visual Editor, you can edit the table contents, add or remove columns and rows, add or remove borders, and merge or unmerge cells within a row. There’s a detailed rundown of all the features in our documentation.

    We’re super happy with how this feature is shaping up, but it’s worth bearing in mind it’s still a work in progress—we’ve got plenty more planned for it. You can add and edit simple tables in both editors, as well as use Visual Editor to preview simple tables you’ve written in Code Editor. However, if you want a complex or customized table, writing the LaTeX code will still be your best bet (we’ve got lots of guidance on creating LaTeX tables).

    New as of January 18, 2024: Now you can effortlessly define precise column widths and text-wrapping options (including text alignment) in the Visual Editor. Whether you prefer relative dimensions (specified in percentages) or absolute measurements (such as inches, millimeters, centimeters, pixels, or points), this intuitive interface simplifies the process of customizing polished and professional-looking tables in no time.

    Paste formatted tables and text into your project

    We’re hoping this will be another big timesaver for you. If you have content saved in other formats like Microsoft Office or Google Docs, you can now copy and paste it straight into Visual Editor without losing all your formatting.

    Our help documentation has full details on everything you can do with pasting formatted content into Visual Editor.

    What else is new in Visual Editor?

    Lots! Visual Editor has had several upgrades over the last year to make it easier for people new to LaTeX to get familiar with Overleaf.

    To give you a quick overview, you can now use Visual Editor to do all of the following without writing LaTeX code:

    • Write, format, and style your text
    • Insert and edit figures
    • Insert and edit tables
    • Paste formatted content into Overleaf
    • Add links, citations, and references
    • Insert math and symbols

    You also get all of the same versioning, track changes, and collaborator comments features that you can access in Code Editor (depending on which Overleaf plan you have).

    Not only that but if you’re an old hand at working in Code Editor, toggling to Visual Editor will give you a quick view of how your document is shaping up.

    Tell us what you think

    As always, we really want your feedback on these new features and how we can keep making your Overleaf experience even better. Fill out this survey to let us know what you think.

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