Preparation of manuscripts for the American Journal of Physics using LaTeX, as adapted for Authorea


The primary purpose of this article is to serve as a template for those seeking to use Authorea to collaboratively write and review articles and reports using the AJP journal format. As such, this article explains and illustrates the use of LaTeX in preparing manuscripts for submission to the American Journal of Physics (AJP). The version presented here is an adaptation of the original article “Preparation of manuscripts for the American Journal of Physics using LaTeX” by Daniel V. Schroeder of Weber State University and David P. Jackson of Dickinson College. That article appears in the form of a sample LaTeX file sample.tex; the present article is an import of that file into Authorea, with some formatting changes and added commentary. In most cases, we retain the original language of Schroeder and Jackson, adding only Authorea specific instructions as needed. Authors seeking to submit publication-ready files to AJP should make the bibliographic changes discussed in the appendices after exporting to a LaTeXformat .tex file, along with other pre-production changes outlined in the comments embedded in the original sample.tex file. That file is available for download at the AJP website.


LaTeX is typesetting software that is widely used by mathematicians and physicists because it is so good at typesetting equations. It is also completely programmable, so it can be configured to produce documents with almost any desired formatting, and to automatically number equations, figures, endnotes, and so on.

To prepare manuscripts for the American Journal of Physics (AJP), you should use the REVTeX 4.1 format for Physical Review B preprints, as indicated in the documentclass line at the top of this article’s source file. (If you’re already familiar with LaTeX and have used other LaTeX formats, please resist the temptation to use them, or to otherwise override REVTeX’s formatting conventions, in manuscripts that you prepare for AJP.)

This sample article is intended as a tutorial, template, and reference for AJP authors, illustrating most of the LaTeX and REVTeX features that authors will need. For a more comprehensive introduction to LaTeX, numerous books (Kopka 2004) and online references such as the LaTeX Project website11LaTeX Project Web Site, \(<\)\(>\) and LaTeX Wikibooks website22LaTeX (Wikibook), \(<\)\(>\) are available. Documentation for the REVTeX package can be found on the APS RevTeX website.33REVTeX 4 Home Page, \(<\)\(>\)

LaTeX is free software, available for Unix/Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows operating systems. For downloading and installation instructions, follow the links from the LaTeX web site. It is most convenient44On the other hand, you can avoid the installation process entirely by using a cloud-based LaTeX processor such as Authorea, Overleaf, or ShareLaTeX to install a “complete TeX distribution” (such as MacTeX  or ProTeXt) which will include LaTeX, the underlying TeX engine, macro packages such as REVTeX, a large collection of fonts, and GUI tools for editing and viewing your documents. To test your installation, try to process this sample article.

Ordinary text and paragraphs

To typeset a paragraph of ordinary text, just type the text in your source file like this. Put line breaks wherever you want, and don’t worry about extra spaces between words, which LaTeX will ignore. You can almost always trust LaTeX to make your paragraphs look good, with neatly justified margins.

To start a new paragraph, just leave a blank line in your source file.

A few punctuation characters require special treatment in LaTeX. There are no “smart quotes,” so you need to use the left-quote key (at the top-left corner of the keyboard) for a left quote, and the ordinary apostrophe key (next to the semi-colon) for a right quote. Hit either key twice for double quotes, which are standard in American English. Don’t use shift-apostrophe to make double quotes. Use single quotes when they’re nested inside a double-quoted quotation. When a period or comma belongs at the end of a quotation, put it inside the quotes—even if it’s not part of what you’re quoting.11In typography, aesthetics often takes precedence over logic.

Your fingers also need to distinguish between a hyphen (used for multi-word adjectives and for hyphenated names like Lennard-Jones), an en-dash (formed by typing two consecutive hyphens, and used for ranges of numbers like 1–100), and an em-dash (formed out of three consecutive hyphens and used as an attention-getting punctuation symbol—preferably not too often).

Some non-alphanumeric symbols like $, &, and % have special meanings in a LaTeX source file, so if you want these symbols to appear in the output, you need to precede them with a backslash.

There are also special codes for generating the various accents that can appear in foreign-language words and names, such as Ampère and Schrödinger.22Please don’t try to handle foreign characters and accents with the inputenc and fontenc packages, which are incompatible with AJP’s editing process.

You can switch to italic, bold, and typewriter fonts when necessary. Use curly braces to enclose the text that is to appear in the special font. In general, LaTeX uses curly braces to group characters together for some common transformation.

Notice that any word or symbol preceded by the backslash character is a special instr