Do you know about some tools which can be used for online chat about mathematics? In particular, I am interested in software which would be able to render LaTeX formulas. (Since LaTeX is probably the fastest possibility to type mathematics.)

Have you tried some of them? What are their advantages and drawbacks?

NOTE 1: In this question I am asking only about solutions how to type mathematics in chat, not about possibility to use video and sound. (For the purposes of this question, assume that only keyboard, mouse and display are plugged to your computer.)

NOTE 2: I will post some possibilities I am aware of in the answers. But I would be grateful if someone who tried these applications could expand these answers a little more.

14 Answers 14

LaTeX plugin in Pidgin:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pidgin-latex/

Screenshot 1

This screenshot is taken from http://sourceforge.net/projects/pidgin-latex/screenshots/124729

Screenshot 2

  • Probably it is better to be called jabber/xmpp + any client that has LaTeX plugin. In addition to pidgin, gajim also have it. Miranda might have one, but not sure. – Yrogirg Sep 30 '17 at 3:00

Mathim - online chat with the possibility to use of LaTeX syntax (the first result that google returned for latex online chat or latex online chat math)

http://mathim.com

Screenshot from my short experiment with this tool:

mathim

Mathim was also discussed here:
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=193510
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=196699

It is possible to copy the text of session (simply by selecting it) and put it into a TeX file.

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    If some of you have worked with mathim and has some practical experience, I would be glad to know: Is there a possibility to save the text from the session in some way? – Martin Sleziak Nov 12 '11 at 15:37
  • The problem with copying the text of session is solved now. (Before, when I tried to copy the text, the dollars where missing.) physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=3860528 – Martin Sleziak Apr 11 '12 at 17:36
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    I've noticed that MathIM has some problems with range in which fonts are valid. E.g. if you write $(2\mathbb N+1)\cup 2\mathbb N$ then the blackboard font is used for the whole text starting from N. You have to write $(2{\mathbb N}+1)\cup 2{\mathbb N}$ instead. Screenshot. – Martin Sleziak May 22 '12 at 15:53

The web interface of hack.chat renders LaTeX, and there are some pre-made rooms for math, physics, etc. It's also open source and can be installed on your own server if needed.

In the Mathematics chat, we often use the codecogs.com $\LaTeX$ Equation Editor: http://latex.codecogs.com/gif.latex?\sum_{k=1}^\infty\frac{1}{k^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6} yields

\sum_{k=1}^\infty\frac{1}{k^2}=\frac{\pi^2}{6}

You have to replace spaces with %20 since spaces are not allowed in URLs (actually, it is probably best to escape all reserved characters in URLs, but other than spaces, most characters seem to be passed through by a number of common browsers).

Hopefully this is helpful; I have been programming a MathJax based online chat service in my spare time (there are some styling issues still). It is quite fast and has quite a few features. Here it is:

http://mathchat.x10.mx/

Enjoy!

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    Is there a possibility to save all messages from a chat session to a file or to clipboard (ideally with leaving TeX intact - so that I can then paste it into a TeX file and compile)? – Martin Sleziak Oct 18 '15 at 5:23
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    Thank you for your comment and suggestion! I will go about programming that feature in soon. Your suggestion will go on the current development page and I will tell you when it is done. – Michael126 Oct 19 '15 at 14:22
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    Yes, it is now all done. Just use the export chat feature on the bottom right of the chat page and it will give you a TeX document source. Hope this helps! – Michael126 Oct 19 '15 at 18:51
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    Wow, that was really fast! The exported TeX file and the pdf compiled from it look quite nice. – Martin Sleziak Oct 19 '15 at 18:59
  • Thank you! I'm glad that it helps you. I will be introducing optional email notifications soon! Is there anything else that you want to suggest? – Michael126 Oct 19 '15 at 20:01

Sorry for reviving a bit of an old question, however as of today, it is now possible to LaTeX over Facebook chat, automatic rendering. There are a few things to note:

$1:$ You will only be able to view this on desktop, mobile does not support it yet.

$2:$ You must enclose your message in either \(...\) for inline math (can be interspersed in text) or $$...$$ for display math (must be the sole content of a chat message, not recognized if preceded/followed by other text)

$3:$ There is a one-line size limit which isn't terribly generous.

$4:$ If KaTeX can't parse the math, it will stay unrendered text, but you can hover over it to see the error message.

So, a bit restricted, but there's a lot of potential, and the future is now. But yeah, again sorry for mentioning it on such an old message, but I think it's worth letting people know.

  • Uses KaTeX. $$...$$ gives display math, has to be alone in chat message — doesn't render if there's text before or after for display math. \(\displaystyle ...\) works too. – Beni Cherniavsky-Paskin Mar 16 at 8:27

EDIT: This project seems to be abandoned. (At least the website does not work anymore.) If anyone has the knowledge that it has been moved to another location, please, edit this post with updated information.

TeXChat is a chat which uses Mathjax for rendering math.

I've learned about it from the website MathJax in Use.

Here's a screenshot:

enter image description here

You can copy a source of an individual message by hovering above it and selecting the text.

  • I wasn't able to figure out how the source of the whole session can be copied. I you find out, please, let me know. (And maybe add this to the answer.) – Martin Sleziak May 29 '12 at 8:32
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    I asked the author about that several months ago and had not received a response. – Willie Wong May 29 '12 at 11:53
  • According to this it seems that he was planning to do this. (Hopefully, he still is.) – Martin Sleziak May 29 '12 at 14:38
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    Seems abandoned, site is currently down – leonbloy May 27 '13 at 14:51

ShareLaTeX has builtin chat with MathJax:

ShareLaTeX chat screenshot

As almost all of ShareLaTeX, it's open source [backend, frontend].

Overleaf has not exactly chat but inline commenting with replies — currently doesn't render math in comments.

Both in their heart are near-real-time collaborative LaTeX editors, so this is great for discussion around a writeup/paper, but you can also create empty project or file just to use chat/commenting, and gradually "spill over" into the editor for a more flexible collaboration...

There are scripts written by Valery Alexeev.

UPDATE: The new name for this plugin is TeX for Gmail. Now there is only one plugin which adds TeX-rendering to both Gmail and Gmail Chat. (IIRC, they used to be separate.)


Here is original version of this post:

They were mentioned in this answer: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/7809/online-physics-collaboration-tools/7811#7811

GmailTeX was mentioned in leo's comment. There is also GmailChatTeX.


This Firefox add-on http://thewe.net/tex/ seems to be similar.

  • Again, any comment by someone who actually tried some of these would be great. – Martin Sleziak Nov 12 '11 at 22:00
  • TeX for Gmail is great, especially ability to heuristically recognize and render in incoming unformatted mail stuff like A_n without explicit math delimiters. Worked fine in chat too but doesn't (yet) support Hangouts. – Beni Cherniavsky-Paskin Apr 1 '15 at 12:51

http://papertogether.com is a collaborative whiteboard app with chat that supports math surrounded by backticks:

Foo `a^2 + b^2 = c^2` bar baz.

Unfortunately there is no text tool to add formulas inside the drawing area, and the chat is a small subwindow in the corner.

KaTeX-powered so supports less constructs (e.g. no matrices).
Help, Background

  • 1
    Meanwhile KaTeX added support for arrays: \left ( \begin{array}{lcr} Aa & B & C\\ D & Ee & Ff \end{array} \right). (paste that in khan.github.io/KaTeX to see the output) – Adobe Jul 13 '15 at 6:45
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    The link isn't working. Did they move? Is there an alternative Collaborative White Board? – Royi Mar 14 at 20:53

Gitter which is generally programmer-optimized (markdown, syntax highlight, GitHub integration) also supports math with $$...$$ syntax. It uses KaTeX which is very fast but not as feature-full as MathJax

screenshot

Free public and private rooms up to 25 people.

I use Lyx to type LaTeX quickly. It is a WYSIWYG LaTeX editor. You can then use screen sharing e.g with Skype so the other person can see what you are doing on Lyx. Never tried the screen sharing part, just an idea.

If you want a wide platform support, including smartphones and want a mainstream messenger lots of people already use, then telegram with a latex bot can do this. If you are not familiar with telegram, it's basically like whatsapp.

Once you have telegram, you need to add a bot (just a contact) that would render LaTeX to image in your chats. Right now I have inlatexbot, but there are also others. https://github.com/vdrhtc/InLaTeXbot

It might not be as feature reach and perfect as latex plugins for jabber clients, for example, it is not capable of inline math, it just gives you an image with your formula in chat. If you need LaTeX only occasionally, this is ok.

However, I believe telegram is the only mainstream messenger that can do LaTeX and it is also available for all major platforms including mobile. It also has a superfast synchronization between your devices via cloud (yes, you can store your history on the server).

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