A Sample ACM SIG Proceedings Paper in LaTeX Format

A Sample Acm SIG Proceedings Paper in LaTeX Format


This paper provides a sample of a LaTeX document which conforms to the formatting guidelines for ACM SIG Proceedings. It complements the document Author’s Guide to Preparing ACM SIG Proceedings Using LaTeX and BibTeX. This source file has been written with the intention of being compiled under LaTeX and BibTeX.

The developers have tried to include every imaginable sort of “bells and whistles”, such as a subtitle, footnotes on title, subtitle and authors, as well as in the text, and every optional component (e.g. Acknowledgments, Additional Authors, Appendices), not to mention examples of equations, theorems, tables and figures.

To make best use of this sample document, run it through LaTeX and BibTeX, and compare this source code with the printed output produced by the dvi file.

[complexity measures, performance measures]


The proceedings are the records of a conference. ACM seeks to give these conference by-products a uniform, high-quality appearance. To do this, ACM has some rigid requirements for the format of the proceedings documents: there is a specified format (balanced double columns), a specified set of fonts (Arial or Helvetica and Times Roman) in certain specified sizes (for instance, 9 point for body copy), a specified live area (18 23.5 cm [7“ 9.25”]) centered on the page, specified size of margins (1.9 cm [0.75“]) top, (2.54 cm [1”]) bottom and (1.9 cm [.75“]) left and right; specified column width (8.45 cm [3.33”]) and gutter size (.83 cm [.33”]).

The good news is, with only a handful of manual settings1, the LaTeX document class file handles all of this for you.

The remainder of this document is concerned with showing, in the context of an “actual” document, the LaTeX commands specifically available for denoting the structure of a proceedings paper, rather than with giving rigorous descriptions or explanations of such commands.

2The Body of The Paper

Typically, the body of a paper is organized into a hierarchical structure, with numbered or unnumbered headings for sections, subsections, sub-subsections, and even smaller sections. The command ’134section that precedes this paragraph is part of such a hierarchy.2 LaTeX handles the numbering and placement of these headings for you, when you use the appropriate heading commands around the titles of the headings. If you want a sub-subsection or smaller part to be unnumbered in your output, simply append an asterisk to the command name. Examples of both numbered and unnumbered headings will appear throughout the balance of this sample document.

Because the entire article is contained in the document environment, you can indicate the start of a new paragraph with a blank line in your input file; that is why this sentence forms a separate paragraph.

2.1Type Changes and Special Characters

We have already seen several typeface changes in this sample. You can indicate italicized words or phrases in your text with the command ’134textit; emboldening with the command ’134textbf and typewriter-style (for instance, for computer code) with ’134texttt. But remember, you do not have to indicate typestyle changes when such changes are part of the structural elements of your article; for instance, the heading of this subsection will be in a sans serif3 typeface, but that is handled by the document class file. Take care with the use of4 the curly braces in typeface changes; they mark the beginning and end of the text that is to be in the different typeface.

You can use whatever symbols, accented characters, or non-English characters you need anywhere in your document; you can find a complete list of what is available in the LaTeX User’s Guide[?].

2.2Math Equations

You may want to display math equations in three distinct styles: inline, numbered or non-numbered display. Each of the three are discussed in the next sections.

Inline (In-text) Equations

A formula that appears in the running text is called an inline or in-text formula. It is produced by the math environment, which can be invoked with the usual ’134begin. . .’134end construction or with the short form $. . .$. You can use any of the symbols and structures, from to , available in LaTeX[?]; this section will simply show a few examples of in-text equations in context. Notice how this equation: , set here in in-line math style, looks slightly different when set in display style. (See next section).

Display Equations

A numbered display equation – one set off by vertical space from the text and centered horizontally – is produced by the equation environment. An unnumbered display equation is produced by the displaymath environment.

Again, in either environment, you can use any of the symbols and structures available in LaTeX; this section will just give a couple of examples of display equations in context. First, consider the equation, shown as an inline equation above:

Notice how it is formatted somewhat differently in the displaymath environment. Now, we’ll enter an unnumbered equation:

and follow it with another numbered equation:

just to demonstrate LaTeX’s able handling of numbering.


Citations to articles [?], conference proceedings [?] or books [?] listed in the Bibliography section of your article will occur throughout the text of your article. You should use BibTeX to automatically produce this bibliography; you simply need to insert one of several citation commands with a key of the item cited in the proper location in the .tex file [?]. The key is a short reference you invent to uniquely identify each work; in this sample document, the key is the first author’s surname and a word from the title. This identifying key is included with each item in the .bib file for your article.

The details of the construction of the .bib file are beyond the scope of this sample document, but more information can be found in the Author’s Guide, and exhaustive details in the LaTeX User’s Guide[?].

This article shows only the plainest form of the citation command, using ’134cite. This is what is stipulated in the SIGS style specifications. No other citation format is endorsed.


Because tables cannot be split across pages, the best placement for them is typically the top of the page nearest their initial cite. To ensure this proper “floating” placement of tables, use the environment table to enclose the table’s contents and the table caption. The contents of the table itself must go in the tabular environment, to be aligned properly in rows and columns, with the desired horizontal and vertical rules. Again, detailed instructions on tabular material is found in the LaTeX User’s Guide.

Immediately following this sentence is the point at which Table 1 is included in the input file; compare the placement of the table here with the table in the printed dvi output of this document.

Frequency of Special Characters
Non-English or Math Frequency Comments
Ø 1 in 1,000 For Swedish names
1 in 5 Common in math
$ 4 in 5 Used in business
1 in 40,000 Unexplained usage

To set a wider table, which takes up the whole width of the page’s live area, use the environment table* to enclose the table’s contents and the table caption. As with a single-column table, this wide table will “float” to a location deemed more desirable. Immediately following this sentence is the point at which Table 2 is included in the input file; again, it is instructive to compare the placement of the table here with the table in the printed dvi output of this document.

Some Typical Commands
Command A Number Comments


100 Author alignment


200 Author enumeration


300 For tables


400 For wider tables


Like tables, figures cannot be split across pages; the best placement for them is typically the top or the bottom of the page nearest their initial cite. To ensure this proper “floating” placement of figures, use the environment figure to enclose the figure and its caption.

This sample document contains examples of .eps and .ps files to be displayable with LaTeX. More details on each of these is found in the Author’s Guide.

As was the case with tables, you may want a figure that spans two columns. To do this, and still to ensure proper “floating” placement of tables, use the environment figure* to enclose the figure and its caption.

Note that either .ps or .eps formats are used; use the ’134epsfig or ’134psfig commands as appropriate for the different file types.

2.6Theorem-like Constructs

Other common constructs that may occur in your article are the forms for logical constructs like theorems, axioms, corollaries and proofs. There are two forms, one produced by the command ’134newtheorem and the other by the command ’134newdef; perhaps the clearest and easiest way to distinguish them is to compare the two in the output of this sample document:

This uses the theorem environment, created by the’134newtheorem command:

The other uses the definition environment, created by the ’134newdef command:

Two lists of constructs that use one of these forms is given in the Author’s Guidelines.

and don’t forget to end the environment with figure*, not figure!

There is one other similar construct environment, which is already set up for you; i.e. you must not use a ’134newdef command to create it: the proof environment. Here is a example of its use:

Suppose on the contrary there exists a real number such that


which contradicts our assumption that .

Complete rules about using these environments and using the two different creation commands are in the Author’s Guide; please consult it for more detailed instructions. If you need to use another construct, not listed therein, which you want to have the same formatting as the Theorem or the Definition[?] shown above, use the ’134newtheorem or the ’134newdef command, respectively, to create it.

A Caveat for the TeX Expert

Because you have just been given permission to use the ’134newdef command to create a new form, you might think you can use TeX’s ’134def to create a new command: Please refrain from doing this! Remember that your LaTeX source code is primarily intended to create camera-ready copy, but may be converted to other forms – e.g. HTML. If you inadvertently omit some or all of the ’134defs recompilation will be, to say the least, problematic.


This paragraph will end the body of this sample document. Remember that you might still have Acknowledgments or Appendices; brief samples of these follow. There is still the Bibliography to deal with; and we will make a disclaimer about that here: with the exception of the reference to the LaTeX book, the citations in this paper are to articles which have nothing to do with the present subject and are used as examples only.


This section is optional; it is a location for you to acknowledge grants, funding, editing assistance and what have you. In the present case, for example, the authors would like to thank Gerald Murray of ACM for his help in codifying this Author’s Guide and the .cls and .tex files that it describes.

AHeadings in Appendices

The rules about hierarchical headings discussed above for the body of the article are different in the appendices. In the appendix environment, the command section is used to indicate the start of each Appendix, with alphabetic order designation (i.e. the first is A, the second B, etc.) and a title (if you include one). So, if you need hierarchical structure within an Appendix, start with subsection as the highest level. Here is an outline of the body of this document in Appendix-appropriate form:


a.2The Body of the Paper

Type Changes and Special Characters

Math Equations

Inline (In-text) Equations
Display Equations




Theorem-like Constructs

A Caveat for the TeX Expert



a.5Additional Authors

This section is inserted by LaTeX; you do not insert it. You just add the names and information in the ’134additionalauthors command at the start of the document.


Generated by bibtex from your .bib file. Run latex, then bibtex, then latex twice (to resolve references) to create the .bbl file. Insert that .bbl file into the .tex source file and comment out the command ’134thebibliography.

BMore Help for the Hardy

The acm_proc_article-sp document class file itself is chock-full of succinct and helpful comments. If you consider yourself a moderately experienced to expert user of LaTeX, you may find reading it useful but please remember not to change it.


  1. Two of these, the ’134 numberofauthors and ’134 alignauthor commands, you have already used; another, ’134 balancecolumns, will be used in your very last run of LaTeX to ensure balanced column heights on the last page.
  2. This is the second footnote. It starts a series of three footnotes that add nothing informational, but just give an idea of how footnotes work and look. It is a wordy one, just so you see how a longish one plays out.
  3. A third footnote, here. Let’s make this a rather short one to see how it looks.
  4. A fourth, and last, footnote.
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