Submitting Articles to ACM Journals

Manuscripts accepted for publication in any of ACM publications must be formatted using the ACM authoring template. Articles published in ACM journals and transactions are prepared for both print and digital display in the ACM Digital Library. The instructions contained herein are meant to make the process of manuscript preparation as straightforward as possible. We accept submission in either LaTeX or MS Word format.

ACM style files will very closely approximate the final output, enabling authors to judge the page-length of their published articles. However, your output is not in the final format. Your paper will be copy edited according to the Chicago Manual of Style and the Merriam Webster Dictionary, then formatted according to the ACM template. Proofs will be sent to you for final approval.

Authors who have already submitted their paper(s) to an ACM journal for review or their paper(s) are in process can find the documentation for the now deprecated 2017 ACM Word Template at https://www.acm.org/publications/authors/deprecated-word-template

 

ACM Master Article Templates AND Publication Workflow

1. ACM Production Workflow Background

Microsoft Word: ACM has been working hard to create a usable and accessible experience for Microsoft Word authors while adding new features to archival formats. We have completely changed our approach to the production process to achieve ACM's goal of a publication portfolio available in flexible formats with accessibility features. More information about the motivation behind this change and how we prepare publications can be found at https://www.acm.org/articles/pubs-newsletter/2019/blue-diamond-mar-2019#3.

Working with volunteers from the SIG and journal communities, ACM has developed a new, easier to use Microsoft Word authoring format and workflow that completely replaces the previous formats that were difficult and unusable. This new approach enables authors to concentrate on their content rather than print output formatting and alleviates the time needed to prepare the text for submission.

LaTeX: ACM continues to revise the Master LaTeX article template to improve usability, functionality, and accessibility as needed. Please see the Master Article Template page for latest version and update history within the documentation. To ensure 100% compatibility, please check the white list of approved LaTeX packages to be used with the Master Article Template at https://www.acm.org/publications/taps/whitelist-of-latex-packages before creating your document. The white list page provides information on how to submit additional LaTeX packages for review and adoption.

Should you have any questions or issues going through the below steps, please contact support at acmtexsupport@aptaracorp.com for both LaTeX and Microsoft Word inquiries.

2. The Workflow and Templates

All authors should submit manuscripts for review in a single column format. Instructions for Word and LaTeX authors are given below.

STEP 1 (Microsoft Word): Write your paper using the Submission Template (Review Submission Format). Follow the embedded instructions to apply the paragraph styles to your various text elements. The text is in single-column format at this stage and no additional formatting is required at this point.

STEP 1 (LaTeX): Please use the latest version of the Master Article Template - LaTeX (1.65; published October 21, 2019) to create your article submission. Use the “manuscript” call to create a single column format. Please review the LaTeX documentation and ACM’s LaTeX best practices guide should you have any questions.

STEP 2: Submit your paper for review.

STEP 3 (Microsoft Word): Upon acceptance, you will receive an email notification to download the ACM Master Article Template - Microsoft Word. Please choose the correct template version based on your platform: [MAC 2011, MAC 2016, or Windows] and save the .zip file to your local machine. Open the zip file and save the template file to your machine and then follow these instructions to attach the ACM ArticleTemplate to your accepted submission version and prepare your paper (still in single-column format) for validation.

STEP 3 (LaTeX): Proceed to step four.

STEP 4: There are two (2) paths for authors to submit their source files for production processing

a. For conferences using vendor managed productions services: Authors need to supply your Camera Ready (finalized) source file set to the vendor's content/production management system

b. For conferences who are managing production themselves: Authors will receive an email notification with instructions to upload your Camera Ready (finalized) source file set to The ACM Publishing System (TAPS). Download these instructions for the information on how to use TAPS. TAPS will process your paper and auto-generate proofs of your article for your review.*

*Final review and approval of your paper rests with the Editor (Production Chair / Program Editor / Production Vendor). Journal papers will be copyedited and an additional set up proofs sent for author review.

The output formats (the traditional PDF proof and a new HTML version) provide enhanced accessibility, responsive formatting, and reusable components (i.e., extractable math) within the HTML output.

Note: While you may need to make corrections to the output in TAPS, you MUST revise the file which was uploaded to TAPS. This means you may not reupload new versions from your locally kept source files.

3. Best Practices

Please see our best practices guidelines for Microsoft Word, LaTeX, and The ACM Publishing System (TAPS). These have been compiled and will be updated regularly to serve as a reference to help authors prepare their text for publication by the most efficient means possible.

If you wish to provide us with your feedback on the templates, documentation, or workflow, please contact us at production@hq.acm.org.

  1. For Microsoft Word best practices, please see embedded instructions within the submission template
  2. LaTeX best practices; also available in PDF
  3. The ACM Publishing System (TAPS) best practices; also available in PDF

4. Expanding your Audience: How to Write Alt Text and Why

ACM is committed to publishing in an accessible friendly format (https://www.acm.org/accessibility) that permits all its readers to have the content presented to them in a thorough and useful way. To carry out this mandate (https://www.acm.org/media-center/2017/september/usacm-statement-on-accessibility), ACM needs the assistance of its authors to help achieve this goal. Authors are strongly encouraged to provide “alt text” (alternate text) for floats (images, tables, etc.), in their content so that those with disabilities can be given descriptive information for these figures that are important to the work. This benefits the author as well as it broadens the reader base for the author’s work. The descriptive text will be displayed in place of an image if an image cannot be loaded, and the alt text provides in-depth float descriptions to search engine crawlers, which helps to properly index the images.

To provide access to floats, the author must create the alt text for these elements in their document. Every float should have alt text provided unless it is solely decorative.

How to write alt text

(Adopted from: https://moz.com/learn/seo/alt-text):

  1. Do not duplicate float caption text as it detracts from the normal flow of your article and can, potentially, confuse the reader.
  2. Describe the float as specifically as possible. Alt text is, first and foremost, designed to provide text explanations of float images for users who are unable to see them.
  3. Keep it (relatively) short. The most popular screen readers cut off alt text at around 125 characters, so it's advisable to keep it to that character count or less.
  4. Use your keywords. Alt text provides you another opportunity to include your target keyword on a page, and thus another opportunity to signal to search engines that your page is highly relevant to a particular search query. While your first priority should be describing and providing context to the image, if it makes sense to do so, include your keyword in the alt text of at least one float on the page.
  5. Avoid keyword stuffing. Focus on writing descriptive alt text that provides context to the float and if possible, includes your target keyword, and leave it at that.
  6. Don't include “image of,” “picture of,” etc. in your alt text. It’s already assumed your alt text is referring to a float, so there's no need to specify it.
  7. Don't forget longdesc= "". Explore using the longdesc="" tag for more complex images that require a longer description.

Additional Resources

Resources for how authors should describe their image to create the “alt text” for their float elements:

Insert alt text in Microsoft Word

(Adopted from https://accessibility.umn.edu/core-skills/alt-text):

In Microsoft Word: Add your image to the Microsoft Word document. Now, choose Format > Picture from the dropdown menu (or right click on the image and select “Format picture” from the menu). Click “Alt text”, one of the options on the side bar. You will want to add the full alt text in the Description field and a shorter title in the Title field. The title can help the reader decide whether or not they want to read the full description.

Please see our instructions within the ACM Master Submission Template for version-specific instructions for Windows and MAC.

How to write alt text in LaTeX

LaTeX users can use the command \Description[<short description>]{<long description>} inside every figure, teaserfigure, marginfigure, or table environment to provide a description of the image(s) used in the figure. Unlike \caption, which is used alongside the image, \Description is intended to be used instead of the image, for example,

\begin{figure}
    \centering
    \includegraphics{voltage}
   \Description[A bell-like histogram]{A bell-like histogram centered at $0.5$~V with most measurements between $0.2$~V and $0.8$~V}
   \caption{Histogram of the measurements of voltage}
   \label{fig:voltage}
\end{figure}

Not providing a Description will generate a warning at compilation.

5. Guide for Estimating the Formatted Page Count

To estimate the formatted page count, please use the following as a guide:

Estimated Word Count Number of Figures Number of Tables Estimated Formatted Page Count
8200 5 2 11
7980 7 4 14
6750 3 2 9
6310 2 3 8
5030 3 1 6
4350 3 2 5

 

Ancillary Authoring Template Information

The ACM Master Article Template and Publication Workflow replaces all previous independent class files and packages and provides a single up-to-date LATEX package with optional calls.. The package uses only free TEX packages and fonts included in TEXLive, MikTEX and other popular TEX distributions. The new ACM templates use a new font set (libertine) which will need to be installed on your machine before using the templates. Please download and install the libertine font set before writing your paper. Fonts used in the template cannot be substituted; margin adjustments are not allowed.

The new LaTeX package incorporates updated versions of the following ACM templates:

  • ACM Journals: ACM Small, ACM Large, ACM and TOG (also for SIGGRAPH authors publishing in TOG)
  • ACM proceedings templates: ACM Standard, SIGCHI, SIGCHI abstracts, and SIGPLAN

NOTE: All ACM journals use the acmsmall template with the following exceptions:

acmlarge - Large single column format, used for DGOV, DTRAP, HEALTH, IMWUT, JOCCH, TAP
acmtog - Large double column format, used for TOG

NOTE 1: For authors submitting in LaTex to newly launched ACM journals [journal names here]*, please select the “ACM Forthcoming Publication Template” (FACMP). If your paper is accepted for publication, you will need to update your source files with the template created specifically for your journal.

NOTE 2: Most proceedings authors will use the "sigconf" proceedings template. If you are unsure which template variant to use, please request clarification from your event or publication contact.

The new templates enable you to import required indexing concepts for your article from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS) using an indexing support tool found in the ACM Digital Library (DL) which generates the necessary TeX code once you have selected your terms (and generates XML for Word documents).

It is important to provide the proper indexing information from the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS). Accurate semantic tagging provides a reader with quick content reference; facilitates the DL search for related literature; enables several DL topic functions such as aggregated SIG and journal coverage areas; and helps ACM promote your work in other online resources.

LaTeX Collaborative Authoring Tool on Overleaf Platform

ACM has partnered with Overleaf, a free cloud-based, collaborative authoring tool, to provide an ACM LaTeX authoring template.
  • Overleaf is a collaborative platform: Authors can easily invite colleagues to collaborate on their document. 
  • Authors can write using 'Rich Text mode' or regular 'Source Mode.' This is useful for cross-disciplinary collaboration in the cases where some authors prefer to write in LaTeX while others might prefer a word processing format. 
  • The platform automatically compiles the document while an author writes, so the author can see what the finished file will look like in real time.  
  • The template allows authors to submit manuscripts easily to ACM from within the Overleaf platform.

The ACM LaTeX template on Overleaf platform is available to all ACM authors here

ACM Accessibility Recommendations for Publishing in Color

The most accessible approach would be to ensure that your article is still readable when printed in greyscale. The most notable reasons for this are:

  1. The most common type of inherited Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) is red-green (in which similar-brightness colors that only differ in their amounts of red or green are often confused), and it affects up to 8% of males and 0.5% of females of Northern European descent.
  2. The most common type of acquired Color Vision Deficiency (CVD) is blue-yellow (including mild cases for many older adults).
  3. Most printing is in Black & White.
  4. Situational impairments (e.g., bright sunlight shining on a mobile screen) tend to reduce the entire color gamut, reducing color discriminability.

NOTE: It is NOT safe to encode information using only variations in color (i.e., only differences in hue and/or saturation), as there is bound to be someone affected!

To ensure that you are using the most accessible colors, ACM recommends that you choose sets of colors to help ensure suitable variations in Black & White using either of the following tools:

  1. ColourBrewer: http://colorbrewer2.org/
  2. ACE: The Accessible Colour Evaluator: http://daprlab.com/ace/ for designing WCAG 2.0 compliant palettes.

Technical Support

If you have LaTeX-specific questions please review the User and Implementation Guide first.

ACM is happy to provide authors working with LATEX class and Word files technical help. Please direct your technical query to: acmtexsupport@aptaracorp.com for both LaTeX and Microsoft Word inquiries.

All email queries will be responded to within 24 hours.

Notice to authors: The 2014-2015 ACM Journals article templates ceased to be supported as of Spring 2017. All ACM authors submitting articles now should use the new template for your next submission.  

Special Note About Reference Formats

Reference linking and citation counts are facilitated by use of standard reference formats. Please adhere to the in-text citation style and reference format guidelines that we use for ACM publications. If you do not, your paper may be returned to you for proper formatting.

Note: For BibTeX examples see: http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/bibtex-formatting

Supplemental Online-only Material

Please provide a brief description of your supplementary online-only material (i.e., text and multimedia material) to be published in the Digital Library. A short "readme.txt" file will appear in the DL along with your supplementary material describing its content and whatever requirements there are for using it.

Peer Review System

ACM uses two manuscript tracking systems. The following journals use Aries' Editorial Manager: TEAC, TOCT and TOPC. The submission websites are: http://www.editorialmanager.com/teac/, http://www.editorialmanager.com/toct/ or http://www.editorialmanager.com/topc/

All other ACM journals use ScholarOne's Manuscript Central system to handle their submissions: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/acm

Language Services

ACM has partnered with International Science Editing (ISE) to provide language editing services to ACM authors. ISE offers a comprehensive range of services for authors including standard and premium English language editing, as well as illustration and translation services, and also has significant outreach in China. Editing is available for both Word and LaTeX files. As an ACM author, you will receive a generous discount on ISE editing services.To take advantage of this partnership, visit http://acm.internationalscienceediting.com/. (Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a manuscript.)

Fair Use Guidance

ACM offers Fair Use Guidelines at http://www.acm.org/publications/guidance-for-authors-on-fair-use.

Post Acceptance

When preparing your files for production using the ACM template, you should insert a rights management and bibstrip text block in your source file. You will receive this text block upon acceptance of your paper and after you have selected your rights via the ACM rights management system.  If you have submitted your source files for production before receiving this text from the automated rights system, the ACM production team will insert it for you.

Open Access

There are no fees to submit or to publish an article in an ACM journal. However, there is an article processing charge (APC) to publish a paper as open access (OA), should you choose to do so. Click here for further information about ACM's OA program.