Author Guidelines for PLOS LaTeX Submissions

Thank you for your interest in submitting your work to PLOS. This document will help you prepare your LaTeX formatted manuscript. Part of the production process includes the use of automated utilities to convert your LaTeX manuscript into our publishing format. In order for the conversion process to go as smoothly as possible, please limit the use of non-standard LaTeX packages and formatting.

This document is not intended to teach authors how to create manuscripts using LaTeX. This document does contain information on how to best prepare your LaTeX manuscript for PLOS. Use the Author Guidelines and this document to properly format your manuscript for submission to PLOS.

PLOS does not accept vector EPS figures generated using LaTeX. We only accept LaTeX generated figures in TIFF format. Export your LaTeX files as PDFs, and then open them in GIMP or Photoshop and save as TIFF. In general, Figures must be generated in a standalone graphics application such as Adobe Illustrator, InkScape, PyMol, MatLab, SAS, etc. Please see our Figure Guidelines for more information.

Initial Submission

Upload the PDF as your Article File, containing your manuscript text, references, figure legends and tables. Please do not include graphics in your article file; they should be uploaded separately.

On Acceptance

On acceptance, you will be asked to upload your LaTeX source files. Please upload your .tex file as your "LaTeX Source file (TEX file)." If you have a separate bibliography (.bib or .bbl), please upload it as your "LaTeX bibliography (BIB file)." Please also update your PDF Article File with the most recent PDF version of your article.

Note: When a LaTeX paper begins the production process, your .tex file will be validated to ensure that the integrity of PLOS template has been maintained. This validation process helps to reduce conversion errors and the length of time it takes to publish the paper. If you have not followed the template format, your manuscript may be sent back to you for corrections.

Manuscript Preparation in LaTeX

LaTeX Version

You are required to use LaTeX2e. If you do not have the latest version of LaTeX, you can download it from a number of sites including

PLOS Provided Files

  • plos_template.tex: For your convenience, PLOS provides a template for LaTeX submissions below. Use this template file as an empty framework for your submission. Do NOT change or remove elements from the template.
  • plos2009.bst: BibTeX style sheet. Use this file to specify the formatting of your BibTeX file. This will ensure that your references are generated in the correct format.

LaTeX Formatting Best Practices

Below are some "best practices" for preparing your LaTeX manuscript. Though it may seem that we are not taking full advantage of the extensive abilities of LaTeX, due to current Typesetting constraints, we convert your LaTeX file our publishing format using a commercial software package. Some of the more "creative" (and even several somewhat standard) capabilities of LaTeX do not convert well.

  • PLOS provides a template file for authors wishing to submit their article prepared using LaTeX. Please use this file, and only modify the header in the indicated area (denoted by "** EDIT HERE **).
  • Please use PLOS template for your manuscript. Your manuscript will not be accepted into Production unless the template is used.
  • Do NOT use any other packages than those specified in the template. If you use any other packages, your manuscript will be returned.
  • Please limit the use of macros. The conversion software we use often cannot handle even "simple" macros, which then increase the chance for errors in the converted document.
  • Please ensure to include in the "$" environment all portions of an equation, and any superscripts or subscripts also include the base number/text. In order to ensure the correct rendering of your equations in the XML, anything within the "$" environment is rendered as a graphic. To decrease the chance for incorrect display in the XML, please include all relevant text within the "$" signs.
Entered (Wrong) Displayed in XML Correct
$C_m=1\mu$F/cm$^2$ $C_m=1\muF/cm^2$
$\epsilon=0.175\mu$s cm$^{-1}$ $\epsilon=0.175\mu s cm^{-1}$
$n=2$, 3, 5, 7 and 9 $n=2, 3, 5, 7 and 9$
  • Below are ways to obtain the preferred formatting for the converted LaTeX file. While updating your manuscript for this formatting may take a bit of time on your part, it will result in more visually pleasing PDF and XML versions of your article.
Command/Formatting Do NOT use USE
Bolding in the Math environment \bf{}; \boldsymbol \mathbf{}
Roman (unitalicized) text in the Math environment \mathrm{}
Fractions \over \frac{}{}
Special symbols from the keyboard \usepackage{inputenc} Standard LaTeX commands (e.g., \'{e} for é; \`{e} for è, etc.)
Superscripts \textsuperscript $base^{superscript}$
Text italics math mode \emph{} or \textit{}
Fixed-width font \usepackage{listings} \texttt{}
"Fancy" Font () \mathcal{}
"Fancy" Font II () \mathbb{}
Define shortcuts \def \newcommand
Decreased spacing \hspace{-#} Do not specify spacing that is merely stylistic.
Command Abbreviations Do not use abbreviations (\beq, \ee, etc.) full command names

LaTeX In-Line versus Display Equations

  • Display Equations
    • Include entire equation in one math environment
    • DO include terminal punctuations within the math environment
  • In-Line Equations
    • If any part of the equation or phrase includes a character only available in math mode, then include the entire equation in one math environment
    • Do NOT include punctuation within the math environment

LaTeX Tables

  • Tables must be cell based; do not merge rows.
  • Do not use \hline for newlines within a cell. This will result in data being split between two different shaded rows. Instead, allow text to wrap within a cell.
LaTeX Code Intent Converted Result
Head1 & Head2 & Head3 \\
Unit1 & Unit 2 & Unit3 \\
Row1 & Row1 & Row1\\
Row2 & Row2 & Row2\\
Row3 & Row3 & Row3\\
Row4 & Row4 & Row4\\