LaTeX Tips n Tricks for Conference Papers
20 Sep 2008
Space Saving Artifices

A fine paper writing strategy is to write as much as possible, and then to shrink the material to the required number of pages. Close to a paper submission deadline, when you and your co-authors have bleary eyes and empty coffee mugs, the following tricks and tips might help you shrink the size of your paper!

1) \usepackage{times} will use Times font instead of the default, saving significant space.

2) \usepackage[small,compact]{titlesec} will modify section titles and the spacing above/below them, resulting in significant space savings.

3) \usepackage[small,it]{caption} reduces the size of captions under tables and figures.

4) \def\Section {\S} allows you to replace the rather long "Section 5" by §5 when you use \Section 5.

5) The itemize environment can be replaced by:

  { \setlength{\itemsep}{0pt}
     \setlength{\labelsep}{0.5em} } }

  { \setlength{\itemsep}{0pt}
    \setlength{	opsep}{0pt}
    \setlength{\labelsep}{0.5em} } }

  \end{list}  }

Example usage:

\squishlist    %% \begin{itemize}
\item First item
\item Second item
\squishend     %% \end{itemize}

6) Bibliography can be shrunk as follows:

Replace \scriptsize by ootnotesize or \small depending upon your comfort level of font-shrinkage.

7) The standard \maketitle consumes significant space. Many conferences do not dictate a style-file for initial submission. Thus you could create your own compact title! What follows below is for wocolumn articles:


 %% The usual stuff that sits
 %% between \documentclass
 %%    and \begin{document}


 \centerline{\Large \bf A Randomized ID Selection Algorithm
 for Peer-to-Peer Networks} %% Paper title


 \centerline{f Gurmeet Singh Manku}
      %% Author name(s)

 %% The rest of the paper (with no maketitle)


Notes: wocolumn is a TeX command. There is no \maketitle.

8) The affiliation and email of authors can be moved to footnotes with hanks:

\author{Gurmeet Singh Manku\thanks{
             Computer Science Department,
             Stanford University.

9) Put multiple figures into one:


\epsfig{file=fig1.eps,width=0.5\linewidth,clip=} &
\epsfig{file=fig3.eps,width=0.5\linewidth,clip=} &

10) A "Roadmap" section (found at the end of the "Introduction") is usually redundant; most probably, your paper flows even if this section were completely deleted.

11) The bibliography file has the extension .bst. Several bibliography styles print full names of authors. It is possible to modify the .bst file so that only the initials appear. Look for a line that looks like FUNCTION {format.names}. Within that function, use the following:

{ s nameptr "{f{ }~}{v~}{ll}{,  jj}"$ 't :=
Explanation: the .bst file format uses post-fix notation. The crucial piece is the string following the variable-name nameptr -- this string specifies the format. Leave everything else untouched. With some more "hacking", it is possible to get rid of months and to shrink pages to simply p. Check out BibTeX site for further info.

General Guidelines

1) Use dvips -t letter -Pcmz -o myfile.dvi to generate postscript files for "letter" paper and with Type 1 fonts (so that the PDF file resulting from ps2pdf prints well).

2) PDF files can be generated via two different routes. (a) ps2pdf converts postscript to PDF. ps2pdf13 converts to PDF 1.3 (which might lead to smaller files). (b) If you use no graphics, then you could use pdflatex instead of latex, which produces a PDF file directly. This method works better if you use common postscript fonts (by using \usepackage{times} for example, or \usepackage{pslatex}, which will use the postscript fonts Times, Courier, Helvetica, etc). You can also include the line \usepackage[dvips]{hyperref} to get better support for references. Check out the hyperref manual.

3) \smallskip, \medskip and igskip are useful for creating space between paragraphs or blocks.

4) \usepackage{mathtime} is supposed to handle math with Times font better.

5) URLs require the ~ symbol, which can be created simply with $\sim$. This is not a real ~ but looks much better (since it is bigger).

6) Bibliography: Don't forget to use curly-braces in paper-titles when they are necessary! Without the braces in title = " Foo-bar for {TCP/UDP} bar-foo", the citation will be printed as "Foo-bar for tcp/udp bar-foo" (note the small-case for "TCP/IP"). Surround all acronyms and proper nouns with curly-braces and capitalize any letters you wish to retain as such.

7) Use $x_{\mathrm{max}}$ for subscripts like max instead of $x_{max}$.

8) detex strips out LaTeX tags, which is useful for word counting using wc.

9) Use $\displaystyle\sum_{i=0}^{i=20}{x_n \over 1 + x_n^2}$ if you'd like to force the subscript and superscript to be below/above the sum symbol in running text.

© Copyright 2008—2022, Gurmeet Manku.