Alternate Author's Guide to Preparing ACM SIG Proceedings
Using LaTEX2 and BibTEX
Overview of this Document
1. Getting Started
Summary of ACM SIG Proceedings Format
1.2 Using the Alternate ACM LaTEX2 Document Class and BibTEX Style Files
1.3 Beginning your LaTEX Source File
2. The Structure of the Article
2.1 Some Housekeeping Details
2.2 The Title and Author Information
2.3 The Body of the Article
2.5 Additional Authors
2.6 The Bibliography
2.8 A Final Bit of Formatting
Overview of this Document
This document explains how to use LaTEX2 and BibTEX with Alternate document class and style files (sig-alternate.cls) provided by ACM to create a paper that closely matches, but does not strictly conform to, the ACM SIG Proceedings format. Section 1 gives a summary of the ACM SIG Proceedings format and a general look at the use of the ACM LaTEX2 Alternate document class and BibTEX style files. Section 2 discusses, in fairly thorough detail, the structure of the LaTEX file for your Alternate article and, in much more general terms, the structure of BibTEX file.
The reason for the existence of this Alternate style is for those authors/conference chairs who have an aversion to using the SIGS (board-endorsed) de facto style. This Alternate can produce a tighter-looking paper which may reduce the total number of pages and thus possibly offset the need for additional page-charges.
For detailed instructions on using LaTEX2, refer to the LaTEX User's Guide and Reference Manual, Second Edition, by Leslie Lamport.
1. Getting Started
1.1 Summary of ACM SIG Proceedings Format
We’ll begin by summarizing some formatting guidelines for ACM SIG Proceedings. The proceedings are the records of the conference. ACM hopes to give these conference by-products a single, high quality appearance.
Page Size and Layout: All material on each page should fit within a rectangle of 18 × 23.5 cm (7" × 9.25"), centered on the page, beginning 1.9 cm (0.75") from the top of the page and ending with 2.54 cm (1") from the bottom. The right and left margins should be 1.9 cm (.75"). The text should be in two 8.45 cm (3.33") columns with a .83 cm (.33") gutter.
All body text is set in two columns. The two columns on the last page should be of (nearly) equal length.
Normal or Body Text: The body text is set in 9-point Times (Roman). Use sans serif or nonproportional fonts only for special purposes, such as distinguishing source code text. Right margins should be justified, not ragged. This Alternate style uses the indenting of paragraphs, to visually distinguish between successive paragraphs, instead of the de facto style which uses a full line space. This may help reduce the total number of pages.
Title and Author Information: The title (Helvetica or Arial 18-point bold), authors’ names (Helvetica or Arial 12point), author addresses, affiliations and phone number (Helvetica or Arial 10-point) and email address (Helvetica 12 point) run across the full width of the page. Up to three author names and information blocks may be aligned at the top of the first page; any additional author information appears in a paragraph at the end of the paper.
References and Citations: Footnotes should be Times (Roman) 9-point. The format of references is a numbered list at the end of the article, ordered alphabetically by first author, and referenced by numbers in brackets e.g. .
References should be published materials accessible to the public. Internal technical reports may be cited only if they are easily accessible (i.e. you can give the address to obtain the report within your citation) and may be obtained by any reader. Proprietary information may not be cited. Private communications should be acknowledged, not referenced (e.g. "[Robertson, personal communication]").
Page Numbering, Headers and Footers: Do not include headers or footers in your submission. Page numbers are not output by the sig-alternate.cls file.
Hierarchical Section Headings: The heading of a section should be in Times (Roman) 12 point bold in all-capitals flush left. Sections and subsequent subsections should be numbered and flush left.
The heading of subsections should be in Times (Roman) 12 point bold with only the initial letters capitalized. (Note: For subsections and subsubsections, a word like the or a is not capitalized unless it is the first word of the header.)
The heading for subsubsections (or lower) should be in Times (Roman) 11-point italic with initial letters capitalized.
1.2 Using the ACM LaTEX2 Document Class and BibTEX Style Files
Now that you know more about the Alternate ACM SIG Proceedings format, you can rest assured that you won’t have to fuss very much with the niceties of it. By using LaTEX2 and BibTEX with the Alternate ACM document class and bibliographic style files, and creating .tex and .bib files that use the appropriate commands, virtually all of the nitty-gritty of the format detailed above is handled properly for you.
The balance of this document will focus on using LaTEX2 and BibTEX with the Alternate ACM document class and bibliographic style files to produce your article. In general, it assumes you are familiar with LaTEX and BibTEX on your site. [For those who are not: LaTEX is available for a variety of computer systems. While all versions are essentially the same — an input file created on one should produce identical output on any other (font issues notwithstanding) but how you actually run LaTEX may vary from system to system.]
A few remarks for users of LaTEX 2.09: LaTEX2 is simply the latest standard version of LaTEX. As a matter of fact, almost all standard LaTEX2.09 input files could be typeset with LaTEX2 and will work with the sig-alternate.cls file. However, to make best use of the new features, you should use the new LaTEX2 conventions; the changes are few and not at all onerous. Throughout this document, ‘LaTEX’ means ‘LaTEX2’.
Obtaining the Document Class and Bibliographic Style Files. You can receive instructions on how to obtain the document class file (sig-alternate.cls) and related information (including this document) either:
by visiting ACM’s home page at
by sending an E-mail message to email@example.com.
You will probably want to put the sig-alternate.cls file in your LaTEX local style directory so that LaTEX can find it at run time.
The document class file contains the commands which define the various structural parts of the document to format an ACM SIG Conference proceedings paper, in the Alternate style, and produce camera-ready copy:
Once you have the document class file and are ready to begin writing your article, write, revise, and prepare your article for submission as you usually do with LaTEX, using information from:
Author's Guide to Preparing ACM SIG Proceedings Using LaTEX2 and BibTEX (this document)
Additional information can be obtained from http://www.acm.org/sigs/ and
LaTEX User's Guide and Reference Manual [Second Edition] (Leslie Lamport)
Remember, you should use only the structural commands in the sig-alternate.cls file, but you many use any of the typographical commands – such as accented or non-English characters and the mathematical characters and structures – from LaTEX.
1.3 Beginning Your LaTEX Source File
It is not necessary, but it is sensible and highly recommended, to begin your document with several comment lines showing the file name, your name, a brief revision history, and any other pertinent comments about the file. Each line of a comment in a LaTEX document begins with a %; comments in the source document do not appear in the output.
% Alternate ACM SIG Proceedings document using LaTeX2e
% Author: G.K.M. Tobin / Gerry Murray
% based upon LaTeX2.09 Guidelines, 9 June 1996
% Revisions: 1 September 1999
% 21 October 1999
% 1 July 2000
The very first (non-commented) lines in your file must be
This tells LaTEX to add the Alternate ACM style file’s structural commands to the suite of typographic commands already available, and to begin working in the ACM document environment.
The very last (non-commented) line in your file must be
All the rest of your LaTEX document is “bracketed”, as it were, by these commands.
A word to the novice: if you have some previous experience with LaTEX, you will probably find it very helpful and instructive to obtain the source files of the sample document
(sig-alternate.tex and sigproc.bib), to run them through LaTEX and BibTEX, and to compare the source code with the printed output.
A word to the expert: If you have routinely used LaTEX or TEX for a long time, you may be tempted to write your own improvements to the structural definitions in the sig-alternate.cls file, or to use other commands to streamline typesetting. Please refrain from doing this! Remember your final submission file will be recompiled at ACM (to insert page numbers etc.) using known .tex, .sty and .cls files. ACM's reference files will, therefore, not contain any author tweaks or local enhancements. Problems will arise if your source file expects them to. Also, please be very careful when using \def in your source file as you may, inadvertantly, redefine a reserved LaTEX or TEX keyword.