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

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 with The ACM Publishing System (TAPS), please restrict the use of packages to the white list of approved LaTeX packages when using the Master Article Template at when 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 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 (1.70; published February 24, 2020) 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

  1. For Microsoft Word best practices, please see embedded instructions within the formatted 2-column example of the submission template which includes alt-text for floats.
  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 Microsoft Word

(Adopted from

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,

   \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


New Word Template for ACM Authors

Working with volunteers from both the SIG and journal communities, ACM has developed a new, easy-to-use Word authoring template and workflow which will allow authors to concentrate on their content rather than focus on print output formatting, as well as reduce the time needed to prepare the text for submission.

TAPS Author Workflow

In the final step in the new ACM production workflow, authors will submit their validated paper to ACM's publishing system (TAPS). The publishing system produces and distributes the traditional PDF output as well as ACM's new responsive HTML5 design.