I am new to LaTeX. I am writing an article in LaTeX but at the moment I am not sure what should be the final layout of my article; so, I am writing it in IEEEtran format. I thought that it would be easy to change the layout later if required.

But I read a book on LaTeX and I found the following line written in it which has made me worried:

"Although some parameters can be adjusted within a predefined document layout, the design of a whole new layout is difficult and takes a lot of time."

So, is it true that it will be difficult for me to change the layout later?


Just now I saw that if I change the line \documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran} to \documentclass[a4paper,11pt]{article}, then I get so many errors for the keywords related to IEEEtran.

  • 4
    Well, the design of a good layout takes time and more importantly skill. Just switching layouts usually is easy, even though there might be complications like layout-specific commands or a change of the top sectioning level (i.e. chapter vs. section).
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 20:31
  • 1
    different publishers have built different layouts into their document classes. if they followed good practices, and maintained the basic sectioning philosophy, the changes needed to migrate from one document class to another (of the same general level, i.e. different article classes) should be limited to relatively small areas, such as the top matter. before settling on one class, it might be wise to find out the practices and requirements of publishers in your subject area. Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 20:40
  • 4
    If you don't know what the final layout will be, I think it is best to stick to a standard class (e.g. article) and load as few packages as possible i.e. mess with the layout as little as possible and use as few non-standard macros as possible. Then it is easier to switch layout and finalise your document later. I don't necessarily practise this, but I do think I should!
    – cfr
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 21:53
  • 3
    If you use a class designed for a specific journal or publisher such as ieetran then there are likely to be some publisher-specific fromtmatter cpmmands. One of the standard classes is probably a better "generic" base. However even starting from ieetran changing to any other class is only likely to involve changing a few lines. Ignore the number of errors, often all errors after the first are spurious, it is usually best to stop TeX after the first error anyway. Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 22:05
  • 2
    If run in the default interactive mode, then if there is a syntax error tex stops with an error message. If you choose to hit return and let TeX carry on, it makes some essentially arbitrary automatic recovery action to allow it to continue but often you get more "error" messages which are just artefacts of the original error. It is better to stop the run, fix the error reported then restart latex. Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


I think you mix two things:

  1. Design a new document class, that is, create something like article.cls or ieeetran.cls. It indeed takes a lot of effort to create a document class.

  2. Change the document class you use, that is, you have a document that starts with \documentclass{article} and you want to change it to a document that starts with \documentclass{ieeetran}. This is rather easy; mostly only the document class has to be changed, and then some meta-data input. For instance, each class has a different way of inputting the authors and addresses. Maybe some other small changes will be necessary, but they shouldn't be numerous.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .