Free LDAP Authentication and Authorisation for Sharelatex / Overleaf (Community Edition)

pushedAt 4 weeks ago


Free Overleaf Ldap Implementation

This repo contains an improved, free ldap authentication and authorisation for sharelatex/overleaf community edition. Currently this repo uses sharelatex:latest.

The inital idea for this implementation was taken from worksasintended.


NEW: This version provides the possibility to use a separate ldap bind user. It does this just to find the proper BIND DN and record for the provided email, so it is possible that users from different groups / OUs can login. Afterwards it tries to bind to the ldap (using ldapts) with the user DN and credentials of the user which tries to login. No hassle of password hashing for LDAP pwds!

If you upgrade from an older commit: Note:

  • you have to add: uid=%u to your BIND_DN
  • Import of contacts from LDAP is now controlled by LDAP_CONTACT_FILTER

Only valid LDAP users or email users registered by an admin can login. This module authenticates against the local DB if ALLOW_EMAIL_LOGIN is set to true if this fails it tries to authenticate against the specified LDAP server.


  • LDAP Users can not change their password for the ldap username login. They have to change it at the ldap server.
  • LDAP Users can reset their local db password. Then they can decide if they login with either their ldap user and password or with their email and local db password.
  • Users can not change their email. The email address is taken from the ldap server (mail) field. (or by invitation through an admin). This ldap mail field has to contain a valid mail address. Firstname and lastname are taken from the fields "givenName" and "sn". If you want to use different fields change the code in AuthenticationManager.js lines 297-299.
  • Admins can invite non ldap users directly (via email). Additionally (link sharing of projects is possible).

Important: Sharelatex/Overleaf uses the email address to identify users: If you change the email in the LDAP you have to update the corresponding field in the mongo db.

docker exec -it mongo /bin/bash
use sharelatex
db.users.update({email : OLDEMAIL},{$set: { email : NEWEMAIL}});


Domain Configuration

Edit the .env file

[email protected]

MYDATA is the location (mount-point) for all data and will hold several directories:

  • mongo_data: Mongo DB
  • redis_data: Redis dump.rdb
  • sharelatex: all projects, tmp files, user files templates and ...
  • letsencrypt: https certificates

MYDOMAIN is the FQDN for sharelatex and traefik (letsencrypt) or certbot
MYDOMAIN:8443 Traefik Dashboard (docker-compose-traefik.yml) - Login uses traefik/user.htpasswd : user:admin pass:adminPass change this (e.g. generate a password with htpasswd) MYMAIL is the admin mailaddress

COLLAB_TEXT=Direct share with collaborators is enabled only for activated users!

LOGIN_TEXT : displayed instead of email-adress field (login.pug)
COLLAB_TEXT : displayed for email invitation (share.pug)
ADMIN_IS_SYSADMIN : false or true (if false isAdmin group is allowed to add users to sharelatex and post messages. if true isAdmin group is allowed to logout other users / set maintenance mode)

LDAP Configuration

Edit docker-compose.treafik.yml or docker-compose.certbot.yml to fit your local setup.

# If LDAP_BINDDN is set, the ldap bind happens directly by using the provided DN
# All occurrences of `%u` get replaced by the entered uid.
# All occurrences of `%m`get replaced by the entered mail.
LDAP_BINDDN: uid=%u,ou=people,dc=DOMAIN,dc=TLD
LDAP_BIND_USER: cn=ldap_reader,dc=DOMAIN,dc=TLS
# users need to match this filter to login.
# All occurrences of `%u` get replaced by the entered uid.
# All occurrences of `%m`get replaced by the entered mail.
LDAP_USER_FILTER: '(&(memberof=GROUPNAME,ou=groups,dc=DOMAIN,dc=TLD)(uid=%u))'

# If user is in ADMIN_GROUP on user creation (first login) isAdmin is set to true. 
# Admin Users can invite external (non ldap) users. This feature makes only sense 
# when ALLOW_EMAIL_LOGIN is set to 'true'. Additionally admins can send 
# system wide messages.
# All occurrences of `%u` get replaced by the entered uid.
# All occurrences of `%m`get replaced by the entered mail.

# All users in the LDAP_CONTACT_FILTER are loaded from the ldap server into contacts.
LDAP_CONTACT_FILTER: (objectClass=person)

LDAP Contacts

If you enable LDAP_CONTACTS, then all users in LDAP_CONTACT_FILTER are loaded from the ldap server into the contacts. At the moment this happens every time you click on "Share" within a project. if you want to enable this function set:

LDAP_CONTACT_FILTER: (objectClass=person)

Sharelatex Configuration

Edit SHARELATEX_ environment variables in docker-compose.traefik.yml or docker-compose.certbot.yml to fit your local setup (e.g. proper SMTP server, Header, Footer, App Name,...). See https://github.com/overleaf/overleaf/wiki/Quick-Start-Guide for more details.

Installation, Usage and Inital startup

Install the docker engine: https://docs.docker.com/engine/install/

Install docker-compose:

(if you need pip: apt install python3-pip)

pip install docker-compose

use the command


to generate the ldap-overleaf-sl docker image.

use the command

docker network create web

to create a network for the docker instances.


There are 2 different ways of starting either using Traefik or using Certbot. Adapt the one you want to use.

Using Traefik

Then start docker containers (with loadbalancer):

docker-compose -f docker-compose.traefik.yml up -d --scale sharelatex=$NUMINSTANCES

Using Certbot

Enable line 65/66 and 69/70 in ldapoverleaf-sl/Dockerfile and make again.

docker-compose -f docker-compose.certbot.yml up -d 
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