Paper Format for Conferences


This page is a collection of suggestions, how-tos and links to other web pages to help all prospective authors to create the paper as smoothly as possible, avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes.

When submitting a paper to a conference organized by the IEEE IES, or by any other IEEE society, it is very important to follow a series of rules in the format and typographies. These requirements are very strict, and help that the information in the paper can be viewed correctly by other members. And ensure that if these articles are printed, no special tricks or specific paper sizes are needed.

Also it is important to know that the paper format for conferences is similar to the one for transactions. Applying transaction format to conference papers is not a good practice. For instance, authors' affiliations and acknowledgment notice are different.



If starting a new paper, please start it on a fresh and empty template. IEEE provides a good set of template files for most modern text processors. These templates have nice examples and the right margins.

In case the paper was started into another document, with different format, the text can be copied without format into the IEEE template. Another option is save the document in plain text format (often know as TXT) and then import into the template.

Page Sizes and Margins

If you are using the templates, you should not have to worry about sizes or spaces. The allowed pages sizes for papers are two: US Letter and ISO A4. Both are not identical, because Letter is wider than A4, and A4 is higher than Letter. The space dedicated for the columns of text is the same in both pages sizes.

Let's take a look at the sizes:

width length area
inches millimeters inches millimeters square inches square millimeters
US Letter 8.5 215.9 11 279.4 93.5 60322.4
ISO A4 8.27 210 11.69 297 96.67 62370


Inside this area, the author can place text, equations, photos and graphics using two columns. These two columns are equal for both page sizes. The size of one column is:

width length area
inches millimeters inches millimeters square inches square millimeters
Column 3.5 88.9 9.25 234.9 32.375 20887


No longer columns are allowed. The columns are separated by a white space of 0.25" (6.35 mm).

The top margin for both columns is 0.75" (19 mm). No text, equations, photos nor graphics are allowed in the top margin area.

The bottom margin is different for the two paper sizes. No text, equations, photos nor graphics are allowed in the bottom margin area.

bottom margin length
inches millimeters
US Letter 1 24.5
ISO A4 1.69 43


Left and right margins equal in size, and the size is also different in both page sizes, due to the different paper width. And once again: No text, equations, photos nor graphics are allowed in the sides margin areas.

left and right margin width
inches millimeters
US Letter 0.62 15.7
ISO A4 0.51 12.9


All these geometrical constrains are reflected in a pdf document. This document is on full scale, and clearly shows how important margins are. The top and side margins sizes allows printing any document in any paper. The bottom part of the page is reserved for labeling purposes. If something got in this area, chances are that labels (IEEE catalog numbers, ISBN, page numbers) will overwrite it. That's why this area is colored in red.

Abusing bottom margin in A4 implies that people printing in Letter size will miss a part of the document. If they print resizing the document, it will look smaller or distorted.

Fonts and Page Numbers

Typographical aspect of characters in IEEE technical papers is to be keep as similar and uniform as possible. Since many years, the "Times" family of computer fonts, available in LaTeX packages and postscript printers is used. Operative systems provide fonts like "Times New Roman", "Nimbus Roman No 9", "Liberation" and many others are also generally accepted. Some are also included in packages, like Ghostcript.

Another common pitfall is to place page numbers into the document. As your paper will be placed into a collection of documents, please do not put page numbers. Most of the tools used to generate proceedings do this for the conference.

Authors' Affiliation

Do not place the authors' affiliation at the end of the first page of the document. This is special space only for transactions papers, but not for conference papers. Move this data below authors' names, under the title of the paper.


Do not put the acknowledgment at the end of the first page of the document. This is special space only for transactions papers, but not for conference papers. Move your acknowledgment notice near the end of the last page of the document, before references.


No biographies nor photos of authors are allowed in conference papers. This is only for transaction papers.

From your document to PDF

IEEE has a clear and (almost) complete technical definition of the allowed PDF characteristics for conferences. Latest version can be downloaded from IEEE Publishing Technology Resources page.

Too often authors think that there is only one way to transform their documents to the Portable Document Format (PDF). As the original authors of this encoding is the Adobe company, it seem logic that buying a license of Adobe Acrobat can do the trick. But nowadays PDF is an open standard and there are many alternative to create a file to submit. Some are free, some are open source, some accept donations, some are paid. Choose your flavor:

Also some text processors, like Microsoft Word, OpenOffice and LibreOffice can save the document into PDF format.

Embedding Typographic Fonts

IEEE ask for embedded typographic fonts on each PDF file. And this is one of the most frequent mistakes.

The pdf file must include (embed) the fonts needed to be shown on screen and printed.

If the fonts are not embedded when generating the PDF, it is usually a configuration issue of the software that creates the pdf file. It is not a word processor problem (Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, etc...) It is just a misconfiguration of the PDF creator (Adobe Distiller, Primo PDF, etc...) Please take a look at the user manual and to the configurations menus. The solution is often a few clicks away. Just configure your program to embed all typographic fonts.

IEEE PDF eXpress

Many conferences uses this service to help authors convert and check their papers. This service is provided for definitive (final) version of accepted papers. If you want to transform your document from text editor to pdf format, you can do this once your paper has been accepted. Also it is possible to check the resulting file generated with a PDF printer with PDF eXpress.