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REVTeX 4 - Frequently Asked Questions

REVTeX 4 Home

The current version is REVTeX 4.1 (patch level 2), released on August 11, 2010.

Downloading REVTeX 4

Installing REVTeX 4

Using REVTeX 4

Page Length


March 15, 2010: A new release of REVTeX 4.1 has been made public. The following bugs were addressed:

  • Using the same \affiliation more than once results in some authors not getting any affiliation at all.
  • reftest was left out of the distribution
  • For RMP, the \cite command doesn't enclose the citation in parentheses properly.
  • For RMP, the .bst files don't properly handle several cases including a book with editors, but no authors

In addition, there were many other improvements including the handling of footnotes, compatibility with packages such as lscape and hyperref, and punctuation in bibliographies. Also, the "long" version of the BibTeX style files have been removed from the distribution. The remaining style files have been enhanced to provide the same functionality when the longbibliography class option is used.



Changes from REVTeX 4

Downloading REVTeX 4.1

Where do I download REVTeX 4.1?

The current release of REVTeX 4.1 may be download directly from this site as a zipfile: In addition, it may be found on CTAN in the latex/contrib/revtex directory.

Where do I get a TeX installation?

  • TeX Live is available for many platforms from the TeX Live home page. It is updated annually and it is a rather comprehensive distribution. REVTeX 4.1 has been part of TeX Live starting with its 2010 distribution.
  • MacTeX for Mac users is made available via the MacTeX package on the TUG site.
  • MiKTeX is also a free Windows TeX installation. You might be interested in downloading the up-to-date MiKTeX installer. Choose either the basic system or the complete MiKTeX system.
  • Scientific Word is another option for using LaTeX on Windows. It is available from Mackichan Software.
  • PCTeX is still another option for Windows available from their website.

Is REVTeX 4.0 still available?

REVTeX 4.0 may still be needed for legacy documents. Most REVTeX 4 documents should run under REVTeX 4.1 as well. Many TeX distributions remove older packages, so you may need to install REVTeX 4 yourself. It can be downloaded as the zip file REVTeX 4 and REVTeX 4.1 can be installed side-by-side on the same computer without interfering each other. New documents should be created using REVTeX 4.1, especially if you are planning on submitting to an APS journal.

Installing REVTeX 4

I have a TeX installation. How do I install REVTeX 4.1?

Many up-to-date TeX installations already include REVTeX 4.1. Installation for TeX Live and MikTeX is fairly straightforward because both use the standard TeX Directory Structure (TDS) layout for their files. See the README file included in the REVTeX 4.1 distribution for basic instructions. REVTeX 4.1 comes as a zip file using the same TDS layout. Usually one only need unzip the file in the proper place and run a program to update where TeX looks for files. See the README and the documentation for your TeX distribution on which program to run.

For other TeX distributions, please consult that distribution's documentation.

REVTeX 4 and 4.1 can be installed side-by-side on the same computer. The files in 4.1 are all versioned.

Using REVTeX 4.1

Are there any templates to help with producing my paper?

REVTeX 4.1 comes with template files called apstemplate.tex for APS journals and aiptemplate.tex for AIP journals. They are located in the doc/latex/revtex/sample directory.

How do I achieve a one-column, double-spaced, 12 pt document?

Using \documentclass[preprint,...]{revtex4-1} gives 12 pt., one-column, double-spaced look used for the review/production process.

How do I make my paper look like the journal?

Using \documentclass[reprint,...]{revtex4-1} gives the look and feel of the journal (whether the journal is set in one or two columns). You may use the twocolumn class option to force a two-column layout.

How do I format a one-page comment or erratum?

Just format it as a regular article. REVTeX doesn't support comments or errata directly. It will be formatted in the production stage of the processing of the manuscript.

How do I change the numbering of pages?

The standard LaTeX 2e method should work: \setcounter[page]{321}. Any standard LaTeX2e manual should be able to help you with this.

How do I remove all page numbers?

You should be able to use the standard LaTeX 2e \pagestyle{empty}. Please consult any LaTeX 2e manual.

How do I choose the square bracket or superscript style for citations?

The citation style is set by the journal option you choose. For APS journals, only the prb option gives superscript-style citations.

Why is the compiler rejecting the \Bbb command and recommending the \mathbb command?

Be sure you are using the amssymb math package by specifing the amssymb class option:

How do I format long equations in a preprint format?

If you want them typeset with a certain set of line breaks, you should force the line breaks in your preprint style submission. Our typesetter is the final arbiter of how the math is set, so it may be changed in production. You may include a note in your cover letter indicating why you prefer to have the equations typeset with the line breaks. You will also be given the opportunity to comment on the formatting at the author proofs stage.

Why is there no top margin when I print?

The bounding box is cutting off the top of the page. Be sure that your dvips is configured to use letter size and not A4 size paper. If you are running Unix, try using the texconfig command to check and fix the default size.

Can I use REVTeX 4.1 to prepare a contribution to an AIP journal?

Yes, REVTeX 4.1 introduced full support for all AIP journals. Please consult Author's Guide to AIP Substyles for REVTeX 4.1. Questions regarding AIP journals should be sent to

How do I add line numbers to my document?

Use the linenumbers class option: \documentclass[...,linenumbers,...]{revtex4-1}. This will call in lineno.sty (and patch it to work with REVTeX 4.1).

Page Length

Can I use REVTeX 4.1 to estimate the length of my submission?

Although using the reprint option in REVTeX 4.1 typesets the text area and font sizes appropriately for each journal, the formatting in REVTeX 4.1 is not exact enough for determining the final length of an article once it goes through journal production (which involves converting the article to XML). Different fonts and figure scalings are the largest sources of error. Use of Times-Roman fonts can partially mitigate the problem. Length estimates at APS are calculated as described in our Length Guide. For AIP length requirements, please consult their web site.


Why does \tag not work with hyperref?

This isn't really a REVTeX 4.1 bug. There is an incompatibility between AMSTeX's \tag command and hyperref. We don't know of a workaround.


Is there any link to the BibTeX Guide mentioned in the REVTeX 4 documentation?

This was an error in the REVTeX 4 documentation and has been addressed in REVTeX 4.1. At this point in time, there is no separate BibTeX guide. A good LaTeX book will contain an intro to BibTeX and help you through the process. We can answer specific questions if you have them.

How do I put multiple references in the same bibliography entry?

Combining multiple references into a single bibliography entry when using BibTeX was one of the most common problems authors run into. During the development of REVTeX 4.1, we worked with Patrick Daly to add enhancements to his natbib package to make this straightforward. To combine two references together, prepend an * to the argument of the \cite command. For instance, if you want the bibitems with keys feynman and bohr combined into a single entry, use \cite{feynman,*bohr}. The references will be separated by a semicolon in a single entry.

How can I add additional text to a bibliography entry?

Another feature of natbib and REVTeX 4.1 is to allow the prepending or appending of text to an entry in the bibliography. This is done via \cite{*[{prepended text}][{appended text}]key}. Note the use of the curly braces within the square bracket to avoid problems with the processing of the text. See the REVTeX 4.1 documentation for more information.

Where can I download the natbib.sty files?

The natbib.sty files are available at CTAN in the macros latex/contrib/natbib directory.

Is it necessary to have the same citation order in a .bib file?

The order in the BibTeX entries in the .bib file is irrelevant. Only the order of the \cite commands matters.

How can I make the titles of cited journal articles appear in the bibliography?

REVTeX 4.1 calls in a default BibTeX Style (.bst) file for each supported journal. The .bst files support displaying the titles of cited journal articles in the bibliography. To display the titles, simply use the "longbibliography" class option. Consult the REVTeX 4.1 documentation for more information.

How do I include an accent in an author's name?

Try surrounding the entire name in an additional set of braces. Or, try isolating the accented letter as {\"u}.

How do I keep footnotes in order of appearance within the text instead of having them appear at the end of the bibliography?

REVTeX 4.1 uses the footnote style appropriate for the chosen journal. You can override the journal default by using the 'footinbib' or 'nofootinbib' options (see the command summary documentation included with REVTeX 4.1).

I received warning messages about missing references when I ran LaTeX on my file.

While in the directory containing the TeX files, run the following:

  • latex file.tex
  • bibtex file (creates the .bbl file)
  • latex file.tex (runs latex on the .tex and .bbl files together)
  • latex file.tex (second run of latex corrects the citations)

BibTeX will have created a .bbl file. When submitting to APS or AIP journals, we ask that you include the final .bbl directly into the main .tex file.

How do I get a truncated reference, e.g., "Ann Author et al." when there are 5 or more authors?

The BibTeX style files distributed with REVTeX 4.1 no longer truncate the author lists of references (REVTeX 4's .bst files would truncate the list if there were more than 10 authors). APS editors prefer full author lists be used for references with 15 or less authors. For longer lists, use the phrase "and others" in place of the authors you want to omit.

I received a fatal error: Warning--I didn't find a database entry for "endnote 1" ... you've exceeded BibTeX's wizard-defined function space 3000.

The REVTeX 4.1 BibTeX style files are fairly demanding but most up-to-date TeX installations come with a big enough space for BibTeX. Your TeX distrubtion's BibTeX may have have a command line flag or configuration parameter to increase this space.


How do I include PostScript figures?

Assuming you are using REVTeX 4.1:

\usepackage{graphics} (or graphicx)
\caption{\label{foo} ....}

Please see the "Documentation" section of the REVTeX 4 Home Page or any good book on LaTeX2e.

How do I generate a page that shows a list of figures with their captions?

Use the endfloats option and leave out the \includegraphics - this will list all of the figures at the end of the paper. APS no longer requires this so we don't support it particularly well. It is not needed for production or editorial purposes. It is better to have the figures in the text for the referees to see.

Can I place a caption in the second column next to a long, full-column-wide figure?

No, unfortunately the REVTeX 4.1 layout isn't that sophisticated.

When there are two figures on the same page, the second one doesn't seem to appear.

Please check your log file. You should be receiving error messages; i.e., could not place figure, or something similar. It should not just be ignoring the figure. You can try the floatfix option and see if that helps.

Is there a way to convert .jpg (.jpeg) files to .ps or .eps?

You can convert it to a similarly sized EPS file via a program called 'jpeg2ps.' The jpeg2ps program puts a simple PostScript Level II wrapper around the JPEG. The size shouldn't change at all. (You might try making sure that exporting Level II EPS.)

How do I get the LaTeX compiler to recognize the command \includegraphics?

You need to either use \usepackage{graphics} or \usepackage{graphicx}
Somewhere in your TeX distribution is a file called or grfguide.dvi. You may want to read it to learn how to resize and reposition your graphics. Alternatively, search at CTAN for "grfguide" to locate a copy of the guide.

Changes from REVTeX 4

What changes were made with upgrading from REVTeX 4 to REVTeX 4.1?

A complete list of specific differences between REVTeX 4 and REVTeX 4.1 is given in the REVTeX documentation included in the REVTeX 4.1 distribution. The file is whatsnew4-1.pdf in the doc/latex/revtex/auguide directory.

Help with REVTeX 4.1

How can I get more help with REVTeX 4.1?

For additional assistance concerning REVTeX 4.1 or using it for APS journals, please contact For issues related to AIP journals, please contact

Manuscript Format Policies

This page describes how to format a manuscript for submission to AJP. Be sure to also read the submission requirements and procedures.

Electronic File Formats

  • For initial submissions we require a single .pdf file containing all text, endnotes, figures, and tables. You may use any software you like to prepare this file, but to avoid extensive reworking later on, we strongly suggest that you use LaTeX/REVTeX or Microsoft Word, as described below. The ability to create a .pdf file is built into the Macintosh operating system and is also available in most LaTeX processors and in recent versions of MSWord. For advice on creating a .pdf in older software environments, see If at all possible, your .pdf file should be no larger than one megabyte in size.

  • The editors will ask you to submit an editable manuscript file if and when your manuscript is conditionally accepted. We currently accept editable manuscript files in two formats:

    • The preferred editable format is LaTeX, using the REVTeX 4.1 style. For typical article submissions with many equations and/or endnotes, LaTeX/REVTeX is strongly recommended because it handles most of the formatting and numbering automatically. It also handles equations extremely well, making them easy to enter and producing beautiful typeset output. LaTeX is free software, available for all major operating systems. See the LaTeX web site for links and downloading instructions. We recommend that you get a “complete TeX installation,” which will include the REVTeX 4.1 style and all needed fonts, packages, and GUI tools. Alternatively, you may wish to try a cloud-based LaTeX processor such as writeLaTeX or ShareLaTeX. For a tutorial on using LaTeX, see our sample manuscript file.

    • The only acceptable alternative to LaTeX is Microsoft Word .doc format (not .docx). Authors using MSWord will have to pay especially careful attention to the detailed formatting instructions below. Do not use the “track changes” feature of MSWord. Be sure to use only the built-in MSWord equation editor, and use only standard fonts. We do not recommend MSWord for papers that contain many equations or long reference lists. However, for manuscripts that are especially short and simple, MSWord may be more convenient than LaTeX.

  • The appropriate format for figures depends on their content and on whether they are part of an initial submission or an editable package for production. See our detailed instructions for figure preparation.

Sample Manuscript File

Please download and study our sample manuscript file. It is a tutorial and template for using LaTeX/REVTeX to prepare a manuscript for AJP. Even if you’re using MSWord instead of LaTeX, though, the sample file shows what a correctly formatted AJP manuscript should look like.

The sample file is actually a .zip archive containing a LaTeX source file, two figure files, and a finished .pdf file.

General Style

The Style Manual of the American Institute of Physics, 4th ed. (1990) contains a wealth of information on the preparation of manuscripts, including advice on good writing and organization; rules for punctuation, capitalization, English usage, and using mathematical expressions; and lists of standard spellings and abbreviations. Authors are strongly encouraged to download and study the Style Manual. Advancing technology has made some parts of this document out of date, while a few of its rules are superseded by AJP's special style conventions. Still, the Style Manual is the authoritative reference unless there is a conflict with information appearing on the AJP website, in which case the latter takes precedence.

Like other journals published in the U.S., AJP uses American rather than British spellings: color rather than colour; analyze rather than analyse; and so on.

Authors are encouraged to use SI units, but use of SI units is not mandatory if other units are more appropriate.

Authors are expected to word their manuscripts in a manner consistent with the fact that the physicists, students, and teachers who read AJP include both women and men.


Manuscripts should be double-spaced (approximately 3 lines/inch), using a standard 12-point serif font such as Times New Roman. Margins of at least one inch width should be left on the top, sides, and bottom. All manuscript pages should be numbered.


Authors should make every effort to be concise. Generally speaking, readership and length are inversely related. The average AJP paper consists of 4000 to 5000 words, plus equations, tables, and figures if appropriate. Shorter manuscripts are encouraged. Longer manuscripts will be subject to higher expectations with respect to the interest and usefulness of their content during the review process. Manuscripts intended for the Notes and Discussions section should be considerably shorter, typically 1000 to 1500 words.


The main elements of an AJP paper are as follows, in this order:

  • Title
  • Authors and affiliations
  • Abstract (optional for the Notes and Discussions section)
  • Introductory section
  • Main body, divided into sections and subsections as appropriate
  • Concluding section (optional)
  • Appendices, if necessary
  • Acknowledgments
  • Endnotes

Most papers also contain figures and/or tables (with captions), which “float” outside the sequential order of the main text so they can be placed at the top or bottom of a final printed page. In your initially submitted manuscript, place each figure or table near where it is first referenced, without assuming that it will stay in that exact location when the paper is published.

If you wish to remain anonymous to reviewers, you may omit author name(s) and affiliation(s) from your initially submitted manuscript. (You must still provide this information to the editor, via the manuscript submission form.) If and when your manuscript is conditionally accepted, be sure to include name(s) and affiliation(s) in your editable manuscript file.

Please refer to the sample manuscript for the correct typographical and numbering conventions for each of these elements. LaTeX/REVTeX will take care of these conventions automatically. If you use MSWord, following the right conventions is your responsibility.


The abstract should summarize the paper’s contents as concisely as possible. It should make the goals of the paper clear, and state the main results or conclusions directly (not merely allude to them vaguely). The abstract should be written so that any physicist, regardless of area of specialization, can read and understand it.

Abstracts must be self-contained. They may not contain references to endnotes.

Abstracts are optional in the Notes and Discussions section, but are encouraged for Notes longer than 1000 words.


A paper’s introductory section must provide the background and context that a typical physicist, regardless of area of specialization, would need in order to understand the paper’s purpose and importance. That is, it should motivate the paper, in a way that is both informative and inviting. Unlike the abstract, the introduction need not summarize the entire paper or state its main results. Often, however, the introduction ends with a paragraph that outlines how the rest of the paper is organized; this is especially useful for longer papers.


Mathematical symbols require special typography, such as putting letters in italics and distinguishing minus signs from hyphens. LaTeX math mode takes care of this typography automatically, but MSWord users will have to make a special effort. For all but the simplest expressions, MSWord users should use the built-in MSWord equation editor. Do not use any other equation editor, and be sure to use only standard fonts.

When an equation is important and/or tall and/or complicated, display it on a line by itself, with a number (in parentheses) at the right margin. (In LaTeX, just use the equation environment.) Every equation, whether diplayed or not, must be part of a complete sentence, with correct punctuation before and after. See the sample manuscript file for examples.

When referring to an equation by number, put the number in parentheses and abbreviate “Eq.” unless it is at the beginning of a sentence: “Equation (5) follows from substituting Eqs. (2) and (3) into Eq. (4).”


Please refer to our detailed instructions for figure preparation.

Number figures in the order in which they are referred to in the text. Provide an appropriate and concise caption for each figure. When referring to a figure, abbreviate “Fig.” unless it is at the beginning of a sentence: “Figure 5 shows the results of the new analysis in the same format as Fig. 4.”


Number tables using Roman numerals, in the order in which they are referred to in the text. Provide an appropriate and concise caption for each table. In your initial submission, place each table as close as possible to the text that refers to it. If and when you are asked to submit an editable manuscript file, move the tables to the end, after the endnotes, but before the figure captions.


A concluding section is customary but not required. A good conclusion provides additional insights—not mere repetition of what you’ve already said.


Use appendices for material that is less interesting than the rest of the paper but still needed for completeness. Examples might include a technical proof, or a detailed description of research protocols. If there is more than one appendix, label them with capital letters A, B, and so on.


Be sure to acknowledge colleagues who contributed in a significant way to your paper, as well as any funding agencies that supported your work. While it is not appropriate to acknowledge the assistance of the editors, it is often appropriate to acknowledge specific help and advice from our generous, conscientious, and anonymous reviewers. Examples of specific help are suggestions for references, pointing out significant errors, and suggesting better ways of doing calculations or experiments.

Endnotes and Citations

AJP does not use footnotes, which appear at the bottom of a page; instead, AJP uses endnotes. Endnotes may include auxiliary author information, literature citations, and explanatory annotations.

Endnotes must be grouped together at the end of the manuscript, in the same sequence in which they are first referenced in the body of the manuscript.

Auxiliary author information, such as email addresses, should be listed at the beginning of the endnote section using superscripted lower-case Latin letters followed by right parentheses (e.g., c) ). Place an identical symbol immediately after the name of the author to whom the information applies. (LaTeX/REVTeX will use different symbols, which are automatically converted to the correct form during production.)

All other endnotes use superscripted numbers (e.g., 3 ). To avoid ambiguity, place superscripts where they won’t be mistaken for mathematical exponents.

Within the body of the manuscript, references to endnotes should appear as superscripts placed after any punctuation:

  • Correct: as shown by Einstein.3
  • Incorrect: as shown by Einstein3.
References can also appear as “online citations,” for example, “. . . as shown by Eq. (5) in Ref. 3, . . . ”

Endnotes may refer to each other (usually using an online citation as above), but may not introduce any new endnotes.

The abstract may not contain references to endnotes.

Format of Literature References

Endnote references to articles in periodicals should have the following form:

Freeman J. Dyson, “Feynman's proof of the Maxwell equations,” Am. J. Phys. 58 (3), 209–211 (1990).

Note that unlike many journals, AJP requires that each article reference include the article title and its ending (as well as beginning) page number. Use of the issue number is encouraged but not required unless the periodical is paginated by issue (for example, Physics Today). See the AIP Style Manual for a list of standard periodical abbreviations.

An endnote reference to a book should have the following form (include page number or numbers when appropriate):

David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, 2nd edition (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1989), pp. 331–334.

Example of an article in an edited volume:

M. R. Flannery, “Elastic scattering,” in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Handbook, edited by G. W. F. Drake (AIP Press, New York, 1996), p. 520.

In all book and article references, pay special attention to the use and placement of punctuation. Note that article titles are in quotes, while book titles are in italics. List authors’ names in the format “Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie” when there are two authors, or “Harvey Gould, Jan Tobochnik, and Wolfgang Christian” when there are three or more. If there are four or more authors you may use the form “William H. Press et al.

References to online material should include a brief description and/or title and the URL enclosed in angle brackets:

Formatting information is available in the “Contributor Resources” section of the American Journal of Physics Web site, <>.

For a reference to material that has not been published in print or online, provide as much information as possible and include “(unpublished)” in the citation. See the AIP Style Manual for examples.

Supplementary Material

If your manuscript relies on supporting material that is too lengthy to appear in the published paper, you should submit that material for archiving by the AIP Electronic Physics Auxiliary Publication Service (EPAPS). Examples of appropriate EPAPS material include large data tables, additional figures, computer programs, and multimedia files.

For your initial submission, upload the EPAPS material to a public web site of your choice. Use an endnote to cite this material, providing your (temporary) URL for the benefit of reviewers.

When you later submit your production-ready editable manuscript, replace the temporary URL in your citation to say “[URL will be inserted by AIP].” Put all supplementary materials, and a plain-text readme.txt file that describes them, into a single folder (with no subfolders) with a name of the form “AuthorNameEPAPS,” and include this folder in the .zip archive with your editable manuscript (and any figure files). There is currently a 100 MB limit on uploads via the AJP submission page, so please consult the editor if you wish to submit supplementary materials that are larger than this.

See the AIP EPAPS Web site for further information and examples.

Online Multimedia

For supplemental audio and video files, an alternative to EPAPS is to have the multimedia material linked to a figure in the online version of your article. To do this, create a figure with a caption, numbered in sequence with any other figures, for each multimedia file. The figure content should be a still image from the video, or any small, reasonable placeholder image for audio. As with EPAPS material, upload the multimedia file to a public Web site of your choice, for the benefit of reviewers. Write the figure caption to say “enhanced online,” with a link to your temporary URL, in your submitted .pdf manuscript. When you later submit your production-ready editable manuscript, replace the temporary link with “[URL will be inserted by AIP]” and include the multimedia file in your .zip package. Please consult the AIP guidelines for details on acceptable file formats and sizes.


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