ACM Master Article Templates AND Publication Workflow

1. 2019 ACM Master Article Word Templates: Word and LaTeX

Word: ACM has been taking steps to expand our accessibility initiative to our publications program. We are committed to providing accessibility for all and have retooled the production process to achieve ACM's goal of having our publications portfolio available in flexible formats with accessible features.

Working with volunteers from both the SIG and journal communities, ACM has developed a new, easier to use Word authoring template and workflow which enables authors to concentrate on their content rather than focus on 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.

Should you have any questions or issues going through the below steps, please contact support at

2. The Workflow

STEP 1 (Word): Write your paper using the Submission Template. 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 to create your article submission. Please review the documentation should you have any questions.

STEP 2: Submit your paper for review.

STEP 3 (Word): Upon acceptance, you will receive an email notification to download the ACM Master Article Template -Word. Please choose the correct template version based on your platform: [MAC 2011, MAC 2016, or Windows]. 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: Once your paper compiles successfully, submit your zip file set to The ACM Publishing System (TAPS) by following these instructions. (You will also receive an email notification detailing how to submit your file to the publishing system.) 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.

3. Best Practices

Please see our best practices guidelines for 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

  1. For 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 ( that permits all its readers to have the content presented to them in a thorough and useful way. To carry out this mandate (, 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:

  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 Word

(Adopted from

In MS Word: Add your image to the 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,

   \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}

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

Last updated January 3, 2019 by Craig Rodkin

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