Suggestions for submitting abstracts for March APS meetings

These suggestions make use of LaTeX methods. It is also possible to prepare the abstract in RTF (Word-like) format, but I recommend using LaTeX.

It is not necessary to go through all of the steps below in order to submit an abstract successfully. However, what follows is a recommended procedure that allows you to prepare a draft abstract that can be agreed upon by all co-authors, preview the abstract, and obtain a printable copy of good quality.


Check the APS list of sorting categories to pick the best sorting category number for your abstract, paying attention especially to whether there is a suitable Focus Topic session for your abstract. The DMP Sorting Categories may be of particular interest.

Preparing and editing the draft abstract

I strongly recommend that you first prepare a draft version of your abstract. To do so, download and save this LaTeX template file, rename it, and edit it, filling in all fields and making sure it generates reasonable output. (Use this one instead for an invited talk.) The formatting is not the same as the final APS formatting, but the content is the same. The idea is that you should distribute this draft version of the abstract to all co-authors, seek their feedback, and iterate until all authors agree on all aspects of the draft.

Length limit

APS has a 1300-character limit on the text portion of a contributed abstract (2000 for an invited abstract). Unfairly, this seems to include everything including latex inputs, so that, e.g., $\epsilon$ counts as 10 characters. You can check the length by using the unix 'wc -m' command or similar mechanisms. In addition, title, author, institutional affiliation, and grant acknowledgment info should not be so long that the abstract doesn't fit in the allowed box, but this is rarely a problem.

Submitting the draft to the APS web site

See the APS Abstract Submission instructions for general orientation. When you are ready to submit, go to the APS abstract submission site. (If you have an invited talk, you should have received a "speaker number" and a special link; use these instead.) As you go along, you can cut and paste the needed material from your LaTeX file to the text boxes on the forms.

(I recommend that you should actually submit your abstract at least 24 hours before the deadline. APS sometimes has to turn off some features of the web site, like previewing, on the last day because the servers get overloaded.)

Check your email

In a while, you should receive a verification email from APS containing a high-quality PDF copy of your abstract as an attachment.

Print for your records. Also, as a courtesy, please email a copy of this PDF to all your co-authors.

Modifying or withdrawing an abstract

The APS web site provides a mechanism for withdrawing an abstract if necessary. However, there is no way to edit a previous submission. Therefore, if you need to make any changes to your abstract, you will have to withdraw it and enter all the information again from scratch.

Request for improvements

These notes prepared by David Vanderbilt. Please send suggested corrections and improvements to the email address below.

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Revised November 2014