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Working with an Etherpad

Working with an Etherpad


An Etherpad consists of the writing surface and a toolbar above it, which can be used to edit the collaboratively created text. The authors write their contributions using different colors. A chat allows direct exchange about what has been written.

Screenshot of an Etherpad



1. Full-Screen Mode
2. Toolbar
3. Chat
4. Version History
5. Import File
6. Export Etherpad as PDF


1. Full-Screen Mode

The button to the left of the etherpad title activates the full-screen mode Screenshot Button für Vollbild-Modus.

2. Toolbar

The toolbar includes a set of tools to edit the collaboratively created text. Other tools show the change history, allow individual settings, enable sharing of the Etherpad or show the active authors. For some shaded areas, contextual information unfolds when clicked. Clicking the button again collapses it again.

Screenshot etherpad toolbar

  • Screenshot button for "bold" font Set text bold
  • Screenshot button for italics font Set text in italics
  • Screenshot button for underlining text Set text underlined
  • Screenshot button for strike through text Set text crossed out (as a sign for discarded ideas)
  • Screenshot button for numbered list Insert numbered list
  • Screenshot button for unnumbered list Insert unnumbered list
  • Screenshot button for indentation Enlarge indent
  • Screenshot button for reducing indentation Reduce indent
  • Screenshot Button "Undo" Undo change
  • Screenshot Button "Redo" Redo change
  • Screensot Button removing colors Remove individual author colors from the text. ATTENTION: You will remove the author colors for good and for all users! To hide the author colors only in your individual view, please use the "Settings" button.
  • Screenshot Button add a "Table" Insert table
  • Screenshot-Button "MathJax" MathJax -  enables the graphical representation of mathematical formulas and equations written in LaTeX and MathML markup.
  • Screenshot Button for uploadinf images Upload image - images can be imported into the etherpad if required. Please note that the image size cannot be adjusted in the Etherpad. It is therefore recommended to use smaller and medium-sized images. If necessary, convert large images into a smaller format before uploading them.
  • Screenshot Button formatting "Style" Select font style: Normal, Heading 1-4 or Code
  • Screenshot Button choosing font "Color" Select font color. In addition to the default color "Black", the colors "Red", "Green", "Blue", "Yellow" and "Orange" are available. Note: The selected font color is only displayed if you have selected in the settings Screenshot Button "Settings" symbol of the etherpad that the authorship colors should be hidden. In this case the slider at "Authorship colors" is moved to the left. If the authorshop colors are shown, the text will be displayed in the default color "Black" without exception.
  • Screenshot-Button "Add comments" Add ne comment on selection - If you want to add a comment, select the text you want to comment on and then click the comment icon. The text you commented on will be highlighted in yellow. Replies can be written to comments if required.
  • Screenshot-Button "Text alignment" Align text - you can align the text in the formats Left, Centered, Right and Justify.
  • Import/Export-Button Import text in HTML or plain text format from a file to Etherpad or export text of Etherpad in HTML, plain text format, Microsoft Word, PDF or ODF.
  • Screenshot Button "Timeslider" View change history of text in etherpad
  • Screenshot Button "save version" Save version of the Etherpad. This allows you to explicitly save favorite versions. When calling up the version history, these versions are explicitly shown in the timeline and can thus be called up again.
  • Screenshot Button "Settings" Select settings for your own individual view of the Etherpad:
    • Always show chat on screen
    • Show chat and users
    • Show/hide author colors
    • Show line numbers (default)/hide
    • Show content from right to left
    • Show author of text passage when hovering over text (default)
    • Select font type
    • Select language
  • Screenshot Button "Share" Share Etherpad via link or embed code (only works within the same learning space due to authentication requirement).
  • Screenshot Button "Show active authors" Shows all active authors of the etherpad and their individual text colors.

Clicking on the button to display the authors will open the list of authors.

Screenshot list of the active authors

Example illustration of an etherpad using selected tools from the tool list:

Screenshot: Etherpad tools example

3. Chat

In the bottom right corner of Etherpad there is a chat window. By default, it shows the number of unread posts: Screenshot Button "Chat"

When you click on the "Chat" button, the posts are displayed and you can write your own posts.

Screenshot: Example of chats

By clicking on the "Settings" button in the toolbar, the chat window can be set to be displayed to the right of the Etherpad:

Screenshot with chat permanently displayed


4. Version History

Etherpads automatically save all changes at regular intervals and display a detailed change history if required. The editing history can be called up at any time via the clock icon in the toolbar. Here the number of saved versions, the time of the last save and the names of the authors as well as their individual colors are displayed.

Screenshot editing history

  • Screenshot button "History playback" Playback of the editing process. Use the corresponding Pause icon to pause the playback.
  • Screenshot Button "Jump back to version" Jump back one version in history.
  • Screenshot Button "Jump forward to version" Jump forward one version in history.
  • Screenshot star icon for saved version The orange star icons on the timeline indicate versions that have been explicitly saved as favourites using the star icon in the toolbar (see above).
  • Screenshot magnifying glass icon for deatilled view of author-related changes You can call up a detailed list of the individual machining operations via the magnifying glass icon. This allows you to precise track who performed which step. This can be particularly helpful in the case of unwanted deletions.
  • Screenshot Button "Back to pad" Via the "Back to Pad" button you can return to the Etherpad and continue editing.

5. Import File

You can import existing text content into an Etherpad as HTML or plain text files.

  1. Click the button for importing or exporting files in the top right corner of Etherpad Import/Export-Button.
  2. This opens the import/export dialog. Search here for the upload file on your computer via "Select file".

    Screenshot Import/ Export-Dialog
  3. Start the import via "Import now". ATTENTION: With the import you overwrite all already existing contents of the current pad.

6. Export Etherpad as PDF

By default, you can export an Etherpad as HTML or as a text file. However, based on the HTML file you can very easily create a PDF version.

  1. In Etherpad click the button for importing or exporting files Import/Export-Button.
  2. This opens the import/export dialog.

    Screenshot Import/ Export-Dialog
  3. Export the Etherpad as an HTML file.
  4. The file is saved in the download folder.
  5. Open the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  6. In the File tab, click Create > Create PDF from Web Page.
  7. Locate the saved HTML file in the download folder.
  8. Click Create and wait for the PDF to be created. Then you can save the PDF.


last changed on 01/30/2023

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GNU General Public License 3
This work is licensed under a GNU General Public License