Elsevier and Springer and other publishers provide latex classes for authors, similar to the standard article class. But those classes don't have the full published formatting, it's just for submitting articles. I want to make my own template that has a similar look to what Elsevier uses in final publication. Publishable, professional looking, article.

Here is an example of an Elsevier article front page: https://nclab.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/0-paper-jcp.png I want to use a design that is similar to that, but with the IEEE two column format: https://nclab.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/0-paper-ieee.png

I am using LyX, which usually makes typing text easier, but it seems adding actual Latex design is very difficult. I don't quite understand what should go in the Document settings -> Latex preamble and what I can insert with a Ctrl-L in the center of the text. But trial and error works fairly well once I have some code to produce output. Problem now is I can't find a good example to work with.

I have found examples for spanning the abstract over two columns (How can I place a one-column-abstract in a two-column document?) but I haven't made use of it yet. I'm not even sure if this works to get the keywords in a custom column next to the abstract like in the Elsevier article. I didn't get much done on this because I got stuck on the part of making the first page frame at the top of the page, with pictures and lines and text.

There is this answer: Add Table in Header with image where some custom boxes were drawn inside of latex code, but doesn't appear on the front page above the title. In fact, it appears on every other page except the front page, quite opposite of what I want. And on the second page (only 2nd page) it appears on top of the text without any white space around it.

So I tried this code: Custom first page with fancyhdr which is supposed to set a custom header for the front page, but what this does is simply remove all headers. So there's something that doesn't work, but I get no error messages.

I feel like every step forward is followed by two steps backward. There are lots of journals out there, but for some reason no one is sharing their latex code. And latex documentation is pretty much non-existent. I got into using latex because writing is so easy, but it's very frustrating that it's so impossible to make things look good. Some help would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    I am using LyX, which usually makes typing text easier, but it seems adding actual Latex design is very difficult if you want full control of Latex, you must write Latex code directly yourself. I use SW also, and many times, I have to edit the Latex code generated to make any customization. Using a GUI application in these cases (Lyx, SW, etc...) gets in the way of doing such things.
    – Nasser
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 2:40
  • 1
    Welcome. I agree with @Nasser. But note that it doesn't mean you can't use LyX to write your articles. It just means it will be easier to design your class or package in a TeX editor. Then you can integrate that into LyX so that you can use it easily. But LyX is not designed for editing the code, as I understand it. It is designed to minimise the degree to which you have to deal directly with the code. Hence, if you want to write code, it just ain't a good choice.
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 3:41
  • By the way, you do not want a header on the first page. You want to create the title with \maketitle.
    – cfr
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 3:42
  • 1
    LaTeX documentation is hardly "pretty much non-existent"! Virtually every package, and certainly every good package, comes with documentation. The problem is that it takes a long time to read it all, not that it is missing. (And not all documentation was created equal, or for all equally.) But if you are serious about document design, you need to get beyond LyX and start learning TeX, ConTeXt, LaTeX and/or other formats. It also sounds like you want or need to learn about document design, which is a whole extra beast: good *TeX programming skill doesn't automagically mean good design skill!
    – jon
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 5:59
  • @jon latex-project.org/guides/clsguide.pdf This is the official documentation for writing a document class. Try reading that and use those instructions to make a copy of an Elsevier article. Yes, that's right, you can't, because it doesn't really contain much in the way of instruction. A real documentation would list all the available commands and describe what they do, and then it would have examples of how they interact.
    – GaRyu
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 9:37

1 Answer 1


No one wanted to answer my question, there were just some comments debating whether documentation is adequate or not (notably without any links to support claims of adequate documentation). So I will try to answer it myself.

The first trick is to use a titlepage, where you can design the first page of the document regardless of how the rest looks. I ended up using this to just put some header picture and text, title, author, date, with some nice formatting. So I diverged from my original intention to make a copy of the Elsevier article, which has both abstract and start of the article text on the front page. But by using the titlepage tag, I don't need to learn how to write a document class, because I can just use the standard article class (probably works with report class too I guess).

   ... code for first page ...

The second trick is to use minipages. It can be seen in the "header" example I linked in the question, but can also be used to set a list of authors to the left and then the abstract to the right of that. Here is an example to put two authors spaced out left and right side of the page using minipages:

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Author 
        Mr.~Dan-Erik \textsc{Lindberg} 
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Author 
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Co-author
        Dr. Firstname \textsc{Surname} 
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Co-author

These few things should be enough to put together any layout. But there are some additional things you might want to look at. Such as, the package xcolor with the colorbox and parbox combination, for an easy way to put boxes with background color and white text (for example) or similar layout things.

Since I ended up in an entirely different place than where I started, I don't really see a reason to post my final solution here, because it isn't an answer to the question, but the above tips should get anyone started to produce something similar to Elsevier et al.

  • I think the reason no one answered your question is because it doesn't follow the norm on this site, which is that a question should typically revolve around an abstract issue (e.g. "How do I get a double horizontal line in a table?") rather than a concrete application (e.g. "How do I make this table?"). Your question takes it even further, asking "How do I make a certain kind of document?".
    – Sverre
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 10:43

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