Author Guidelines for PLOS LaTeX Submissions

As of January 2015, our LaTeX guidelines and template have been updated in line with our new submission requirements. Please review the information below to properly prepare and format your submission. For a detailed overview of what has changed, please see our PLOS Blogs post.

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.

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.

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.

If your submission is accepted, you will be asked to upload your LaTeX source file. If your manuscript .tex is separated into several .tex files, please combine these into a single, cohesive .tex file before submission. Please also update your PDF Article File with the most recent PDF version of your article. As stated in the PLOS template, your references should be included in your .tex file (not submitted separately as .bib or .bbl).

Figures Files

Images (figures) should not be included in the manuscript PDF, please submit these as separate TIFF or EPS files (see below for exception). Figures containing multiple panels (subfigures) should be uploaded as a single file; please do not upload each panel/subfigure separately and instead combine these into a cohesive image.

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.

Note: Please follow the instructions contained in these guidelines as well as those contained in the PLOS template. 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 For your convenience, PLOS provides a template for LaTeX submissions. Use this template file as a framework for your submission to help format your article for our production process. Authors can add packages to this template but please do not remove any that are already included. This zip also contains the plos2015.bst BibTeX style sheet. Use this file to specify the formatting of your BibTeX file as it 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. These guidelines are to help ensure proper conversion of your LaTeX paper and reduce the possibility of delays in the typesetting process. Please contact with any questions.

  • Please use PLOS template for your manuscript.
  • Please do not track changes in your final tex file. When your manuscript is accepted and enters production, please ensure that only the final content remains in the tex file.
  • Please include all portions of equations within the math environment in order to ensure it is correctly rendered. However, please refrain from using the math environment when possible.
  • For the author byline, please use the formatting and symbols included in the template.
  • Use Unicode characters instead of LaTeX commands when possible (type “é” instead of “\'{e}”).
  • For 3rd level headings, use \paragraph instead of \subsubsection if possible.
  • See template for special instructions regarding the placement of tables/figure legends and proper formatting of supporting information legends and citations.
  • Certain elements (such as tables) that exceed the width of the text column must be included in an "adjustwidth" environment to display properly (see template for more information).

LaTeX In-Line and Display Equations

Display Equations

  • Include entire equation in one math environment.
  • DO include terminal punctuations within the math environment.
  • Add line breaks in long equations (so that they will fit our column width).

In-Line Equations

  • If any part of the equation or phrase includes a character only available in math mode, then include the entire equation/phrase in one math environment. Otherwise, do not use math mode.
    • Please refrain from using math mode when possible. For example, use “CO\textsubscript{2}” instead of “$\mathrm{CO}^2$”
  • Do not include commas or other normal (text) punctuation in the math environment, if possible.

LaTeX Tables

  • Tables must be cell based; do not merge rows.
  • Vertically merged cells are prohibited by our table guidelines. Certain LaTeX table formatting techniques, such as using \multirow or containing a tabular environment within another tabular environment, will result in vertically merged cells and should therefore be avoided.
  • Tables cannot contain graphics or colors.
  • Do not use \hline for new lines within a cell. This will result in data being split between two different shaded rows. Instead, allow text to wrap within a cell.