Turning Dropbox Paper notes into LaTeX

Lately, I have been obsessed with note-taking, and my new love is Dropbox Paper.

Among the regular features that you’d expect in a collaborative text editor include:

  1. Inline LaTeX rendering
  2. Source code highlighting
  3. Export to PDF, Microsoft Word, or Markdown

I’ve demonstrated some of the advantages of Dropbox Paper in this Dropbox Paper document here, but here I’ll summarize my workflow for turning Dropbox Paper notes into more professionally-typeset-looking documents.

Create the document with Dropbox Paper.

Through the “Dots” menu, click on Export, selecting Markdown.

If the document has equations, turn all pairs of dollar signs into single dollar signs. The following bash command can achieve this, but be careful if your document already contains double dollar signs.


sed 's/\$\$/$/g' input_file.md > right_math.md

With the output right_math.md, we can now use Pandoc to turn the output into a more consumable format. The below example performs the above transformation and turns the output into HTML. Equations are rendered with the MathJax library.

sed 's/\$\$/$/g' input_file.md | pandoc -o output_file.html --mathjax --standalone --metadata pagetitle="Page Title"

More simply, the Markdown file can be turned into a LaTeX-rendered PDF here, assuming your computer has a proper LaTeX distribution installed.

sed 's/\$\$/$/g' input_file.md | pandoc -o output.pdf

And in this manner, Dropbox Paper can be used to collaboratively create all sorts of mathematical documents.

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