Writing papers using Latex – Part 1

After you have gone through the gruesome as well as the exciting task of completing your experiments and getting somewhat positive results for your research publication(maybe even your first). The next step is to prepare it for paper submission at a conference or journal.

Most conferences will follow the proceedings template of either ACM (generally, SIGCONF) or Springer (generally, LLCNS). Generally, they provide two formats or templates :

  1. Word or RTF(Rich text format)
  2. Latex

If you have a very short time in hand and are new to Latex, I will recommend going with the Word format and making the submission before the deadline. After that, you will get a lot of time to learn.

In another article, I describe how to follow a top-tier research conference and the components of a conference website.

If you want to avoid the hassles of a local tex installation, Overleaf is a great alternative and is widely used.

Learning resources:

  1. 7-part video series teaching Latex to beginners
  2. Latex tutorial Blog series

However, the first drawback of Overleaf is that you need to always have access to a stable Internet connection because it is an online editor and does not work offline.

Secondly, a more practical drawback that we faced was that before the deadline of a top-tier conference, Overleaf sometimes would stop working. It may be because a large number of requests are being made at the same time, which may result in overloading the system (online server).

To be on the safe side and to avoid last-minute crashes, you should always have a local Tex installation in place.

In the first part, I will explain the points you should take care of writing the first draft of the paper and in the second part, I provide the installation steps for setting up your Tex environment and a Latex editor like TexMaker or Gummi.

As a continuation of this article, in Part 2, I discuss how to convert it into the format required for the paper submission at a particular conference. This is generally detailed in the author submission toolkit that is made available on the conference website

The bare minimum required for writing a paper

Here, I am going to cover the basics that will take less than 1 hour to learn and enough to write your first paper in Latex.

1. Write the first draft in plain Word: 

Be ready with the first rough draft of the paper covering all the sections, before you start formatting using Latex. I personally write the individual sections in Word as it helps me focus, with nothing else cluttering my writing space.

My personal writing order is :

  • Stage 1: Abstract – Spend a lot of time on time. Perfect it and make the storyline solid. The entire paper depends on it. So, first, get the Abstract right.
  • Stage 2: Methodology -> Experiments and Results -> Introduction
  • Stage 3: Prior Art, Dataset, Conclusion, and Future Work

You can even start converting to paper submission format after Stage 2 even. I found this blog series targeted at Ph.D. students to be particularly helpful. 

2. Download the Latex template using the link from the conference website

 Every conference provides “Author guidelines”, which you find under :

  1. Call for papers (CFP in short)
  2. Author guidelines

Under the given sections, they will provide links to pages for downloading the template. 

How to navigate the “Call for Papers” (CFP) page of a conference website. The following tutorial from WiNLP 2021, slides numbers 8 to 14, explains each segment of a CFP, specifically of ACL-IJCNLP 2021 in detail.

Slide no. 8 of WiNLP Tutorial “Writing extended abstracts for NLP Conferences” by Vasundhara Gautam & Sabrina J. Mielke
 3. Install Texlive on your system :

 I recommend installing a minimal version of TexLive, which is sufficient. In the near future, if some packages are missing you can always get them from CTAN. If you want you can also go with “texlive-full” installation, which requires around 4211MB of additional space.

In Ubuntu 16.04 and above :


sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install texlive

4. Install a Latex IDE:

 I recommend installing both TexMaker and Gummi. I have been using it for some months now and faced no issues to date.


sudo apt-get install texmaker

sudo apt-get install gummi

5. Test your final environment: 

Copy and paste the following Latex code segment. In Gummi, if you see only a single pane, then activate the “Right pane” option under “View”. By default, you should see the output. In Texmaker, you need to press F1 or select “Quick Build” under “Tools”.


\title{\textbf{Data Analytics 101}}


Congratulations for making it so far. You are now ready for the next lesson.



Congratulations on setting up!

You will see the below screen in Gummi. I have covered the Latex basics in another article.

Screenshot from 2018-09-17 23-59-47

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