Preparing Your Article with Microsoft Word


The ACM article template allows authors to use LaTeX or Microsoft Word to prepare high-quality articles for publication in the ACM Digital Library. An important concept for authors to understand is the separation of content and style. The input format - whether Word or LaTeX - is intentionally simple in appearance, making creation and editing simpler, as well as reviewing. Authors provide metadata - through associating styles with content in a Word document - "this is a paragraph, this is a subtitle," and LaTeX commands - \title{}, \section{} and so on. TAPS (The ACM Production System) takes Word or LaTeX documents as input, and produces well-formatted, high-quality PDF and HTML5 documents for publication. For more information on TAPS, please see our TAPS Workflow page. 

The article creation process can be summed up in a few steps.

  1. Prepare your source material using Word or LaTeX, starting with the Word submission template or a LaTeX document that uses the "acmart" document class (\documentclass[manuscript]{acmart}). The submission version is one column, with minimal styling of content.

  2. Submit your article for review to a conference or journal.

  3. If your article is accepted for publication, you will be asked to complete the ACM rights form, then prepare a final version of your article and submit the source to TAPS for processing.

  4. Review the PDF and HTML versions of your article generated by TAPS, correct errors necessary, and reprocess or contact support and then approve the output. Your output will then be reviewed by the production editor for final approval.

Important to Note: Communication between the author and ACM regarding your rights form is done via e-mail; please make that e-mail from "" goes to your inbox, so that you don't miss any communication from ACM. Please do the same for as well so that the emails from TAPS also safely reach your inbox.

This document explains how to use Microsoft Word to prepare your ACM article for submission, and for publication. If you are using LaTeX to prepare your ACM article, you should review Preparing Your Article with LaTeX instead. The same topics are covered, and the emphasis there is on using LaTeX to accomplish the task.

The ACM Article Template: Using Microsoft Word

Authors who use Microsoft Word to prepare their articles need to first use the "submission template" which contains style information used to tag the elements of your article, and then the "primary article template" that contains macros for citation, reference, figure and image cross-linking, and manuscript validation.

Windows and Macintosh users will start with the same submission template Word document, adding their content to it and applying styles to each of the major elements - title, paragraph, figure, and so on - to it. 

There are separate versions of the "primary article template" for Microsoft Word for WindowsMacintosh Office 2011, and Macintosh Office 2016 - please download the version appropriate for your operating system and Microsoft Word version. (The Macintosh Office 2016 version also works with the Microsoft Office 365 version of Microsoft Word for Macintosh.) This is not a new document but rather a template/add-in to attach to the submission document you sent for review. Please choose the correct template version based on your platform.

Attaching the "primary article template" to your existing Word document is done in slightly different ways, dependent on your computer's operating system.


To set this up in Word (for Macintosh):

  • select "Templates and Add-Ins" from the "Tools" menu.

  • select the "Attach..." button and then select the primary article template file.

  • select the "OK" button.


To set this up in Word (for Windows):

  • select "Options" from the "File" menu.

  • select "Add-Ins" from the "Word Options" dialog box.

  • select "Templates" from the "Manage" option menu, and then select the primary article template file.

  • (If you get a security warning about disabled macros, please select the "Enable Content" button.)


Attach the ACM Article Template to your accepted submission version and prepare your paper (still in single-column format) via these instructions for validation.

Working in Draft Mode

When preparing an article using Microsoft Word, you should be working in "Draft" mode (and not "Print Layout" mode) and have set up Word so that the applied styles are clearly visible on the left side of your document.

To set this up in Word (for Macintosh):

  • select "Draft" from the "View" menu.

  • select "Preferences" from the Word menu, select "View" and set "Style area width" to 1.5 inches.


To set this up in Word (for Windows):

  • select "Options" from the "File" menu

  • select the "Advanced" tab from the "Word Options" dialog box

  • in the "Display" section, set the value of "Style area pane width in Draft and Outline views" to 1.5 inches.


Important to Note: Figures will not show up in "Draft" mode, and it's fine to switch between "Print Layout" and "Draft" mode while you are working on your document.

Review Version and Final Document Versions: What's the Difference?

When preparing an article for submission to an event or journal for REVIEW, the amount of tagging - applying styles to discrete elements of your article - which must be done is reduced. The emphasis at this point is on the content you are presenting. Your article should contain figures and images, and citations and references, and the text of your presentation.

If and when your article is accepted for publication, you will need to perform additional work in order to make your article ready to submit to TAPS.

  • Adding alt-text to figures, tables, and images,

  • cross-linking citations and references,

  • and validation of your article are the next steps in the process.


Important to Note: You do NOT need to add any rights information to your Word document. This will be automatically added to the PDF and HTML5 versions of your article when they are generated by TAPS. 

Which Template Style to Use?

Authors who use Microsoft Word to prepare their articles do not need to set the template style; the appropriate template - set by the organizers of the event or journal - will be used by TAPS in the preparation of the PDF and HTML5 versions of your article.

Estimating the Page Count

Sponsored events and journal publications often use page counts to segregate articles into several classes - "long papers," "short papers," "abstracts" and the like. The simplified input format of Word documents may make it difficult to determine a correspondence between "word count" and the "page count" of a well-formatted PDF document.

The following table illustrates - in general terms - a correspondence between word count and page count. These estimations do not include figures, tables, or other elements typically found in an article, and this was exclusive of references or appendices.

Word Count Page Count (approximate)
1,300 words 2 pages of formatted, two-column output.
2,000 words 3 pages of formatted, two-column output.
3,100 words 4 pages of formatted, two-column output.
4,000 words 5 pages of formatted, two-column output.
7,000 words 8 pages of formatted, two-column output.
8,000 words 9 pages of formatted, two-column output.
10,000 words 11 pages of formatted, two-column output.

Authors and Affiliations

When preparing the author list for an article, please keep the following in mind:

  • Authors' full names - "Donald E. Knuth" - should be used, without abbreviation - "D. E. Knuth" and "D. Knuth" are not acceptable alternatives. (This is true of references as well; authors' full names are easier to clearly identify for citation linking.)

  • You are required to include a separate e-mail address for each author to be published on the PDF and HTML output.

  • Authors must define each author and affiliation separately, even when authors share an affiliation, and apply the "Authors" and "Affiliation" tag to each author and affiliation.

  • These data need to be identical to the data entered into the Conference/Journal review and ACM eRights systems. Any discrepancies in data, including author sort order will cause inconsistencies in output and further delay processing and approval of your output files in TAPS.

  • ACM’s ORCID Requirement  will expand to include Conferences in 2022.  A unique author ID (ORCID) can be set up at and  be connected to the ACM Profile. ORCIDs allow ACM to more reliably identify authors, even when there are variants in the use of their names or when multiple authors share the same name.

If your conference’s review process will be double-anonymous: The submitted document should not include author information and should not include acknowledgements, citations or discussion of related work that would make the authorship apparent. Submissions containing author identifying information may be subject to rejection without review. Upon acceptance, the author and affiliation information must be added to your paper.

Citations and References

References should be prepared in the ACM reference format. The default citation format for ACM publications is the "numbered" format. Articles presented at conferences sponsored by ACM SIGGRAPH and ACM SIGPLAN use the "author year" format.

Authors who use Microsoft Word should choose the first - "1" - option when cross-linking their citations and references for the numbered format, and the second - "2" - option for the "author year" format.

CCS Concepts and Keywords

ACM's Computing Classification System (CCS) is a taxonomy for the computing field. Authors are expected to select one or more descriptors (or "concepts") from the CCS and add them to your document.

A list of CCS descriptors can be built for your article from Authors can select one or more descriptors and assign a priority to them.

When a list of CCS descriptors has been built, that information must be added to your document. In Microsoft Word, adding CCS concepts to your document is a two-step process:

  • select the formatted list of concept(s) from the Web interface - here's an example:
    • Computer systems organization~Real-time operating systems
    - paste it into your document, and style with the "CCSDescription" tag.
  • select "view CCS TeX Code" and check the "Show the XML only" box, copy the XML and paste into your Word document in the following location (Mac):
    • select "Properties" from the "File" menu
    • select the "Summary" tab
    • paste the XML into the "Comments" area
  • select "view CCS TeX Code" and check the "Show the XML only" box, copy the XML and paste into your Word document in the following location (Windows):
    • select "Properties" from the "File" menu
    • select "Advanced Properties"
    • select the "Summary" tab
    • paste the XML into the "Comments" area

It is important to perform both parts of this task - inserting the formatted list into the body of your Word document and applying the appropriate style, AND inserting the XML representation of your selected CCS concepts into the metadata of your Word document.

Users may augment the ACM taxonomy with user-defined keywords. The Keywords section is a comma-separated list of keywords, each styled with the "Keyword" tag.


Your article should begin with a short - one or two paragraphs - abstract in English, providing an overview of the work to be presented. Style the abstract with the "Abstract" tag.


There are four different sectioning levels available to authors, with the "Head1" through "Head4" styles. A top-level section would be styled with the "Head1" tag, a subsection would use the "Head2" style, and so on.  Please use these sectioning tags /...


Paragraphs must be styled with the "Para" tag. The exception to this is when an equation, table, or other element is placed within the paragraph. In this case, the remainder of the current paragraph is styled with the "ParaContinue" tag so that no indentation of the text occurs.


Equations can be added with the built-in Equation Editor or a third-party application such as MathType. Use the "DisplayFormula" (for equations with an equation number) or "DisplayFormulaUnnum" (for equations with no equation number) styles as appropriate.

When equations occur in the middle of a paragraph of text, please use the "ParaContinue" style on the part of the paragraph that occurs after the equation.


When an algorithm is included in an article, the declaration of the algorithm starts the algorithm, and is styled with the "AlgorithmCaption" tag. The algorithm itself follows, and all of its lines are styled with the "Algorithm" tag.

Figures and Tables

Figures and tables are "float elements" which should be inserted in the Word document after their first occurrence.

When working in "draft" mode, figures are not visible - there will be a blank space where the figure occurs. Switching to "Print Mode" will reveal the figure.


The "Image" style should be applied to the figure, and the "FigureCaption" style to its caption. Figure captions go below the figure, and captions are required elements.

Images that occupy a single column should be sized to fit within the column - 3 inches (7.62 cm) wide is a reasonable value. (In general, you should scale images to the size they will occupy in the finished two-column PDF output.)

If you wish to have an image or figure that spans multiple columns OR wish to have multiple images in a single figure, this should be done only after your article has been accepted for publication and you are preparing your article for TAPS.

Figures with multiple images - three smaller images in the same figure, for example, or a three by three grid of images in the same figure - are accomplished by creating a table with the necessary number of rows and columns, and inserting an image into each of the table's cells. These kinds of figures must have the caption styled with the "TableCaption" tag.

All of the figures in your article must have descriptive (or "alt-text") text included for accessibility. ("Alt-text" is used by screen reader software.) Once an figure has been added to your article, the descriptive text is added by:

  • right-clicking on the figure, and selecting the "Edit Alt Text" option (Macintosh) or selecting "Format Picture," then the "Layout & Properties" icon, and the "Alt Text" option from there. (Windows)
  • adding one or two sentences that describe the figure. Please see Describing Figures for ACM Publications


Please use Word's built-in table editor to create tables in your Word document.

The table's head row should be selected and styled with the "TableHead" tag, found under "Body Elements."

The "TableCaption" style should be applied to the table's caption. Table captions go above the table, and is a required element.

Column-Spanning Tables and Figures

Figures and Tables that should span both columns of your formatted article need additional styling applied to them, so that TAPS will properly format them.

After the appropriate figure and/or table styles have been applied to the figure or table which will span multiple columns, select both the figure or table AND its caption, and style them with the "Large Float" tag, found under "Body Elements."

Cross-Linking Tables and Figures

Providing links to figures and tables from elsewhere in your article is straightforward. This is done after the "primary article template" has been added to your Word document.

  • each figure and table should have a consistent label at the start of its caption: "Figure 2" or "Table 1" or similar.
  • the link to a figure or table should use the same language: " seen in Figure 2,"

Cross-linking the citations and the figures and tables is accomplished by selecting "Reference and Cross Linking" -> "Cross-referencing" -> "Floats and Bibliography" and allowing Word to run that macro. If successful, both the label in the figure or table, and the citation to the figure or table should now be active links and colored, rather than plain text.

The "Floats and Bibliography" macro is the same one used to link references and citations in your article.


Lists - numbered, bullets, etc. - can be created using the standard Word list commands, and should be styled with the "List Paragraph" tag when complete.

Headings and Their Styles

There are a number of styles in the "submission" template that must be used to tag various heading elements:

  • Title_document - the style for your article's title
  • Subtitle - the style for your article's subtitle if it has one
  • AbsHead - the "Abstract" heading
  • AckHead - the "Acknowledgments" heading
  • CCSHead - the "CCS Concepts" heading
  • KeyWordHead - the "Keywords" heading
  • ReferenceHead - the "References" heading


Acknowledgments are placed before the references, and should include any required or desired mention of support, sponsorship, or funding. The "GrantSponser" and "GrantNumber" tags should be used to style the grant sponsor and grant number information, respectively.


Appendices should follow the references. There are three - "AppendixH1," "AppendixH2," and "AppendixH3" - section heading styles for use in an appendix, analogous to the "Head1," "Head2," and "Head3" styles used in the body of your article. All other styles can and should be used in the appendix in the same manner as they are used in the body of your article.

For Conference Proceedings Authors Only: Submitting Your Article to TAPS for Publication

Please see the TAPS Workflow page for the information on how to use TAPS.

Technical Support

ACM's production vendor has 24/7 technical support available via e-mail to

[published March 2022; instructions written by Stephen Spencer, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Washington]

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