There is 1p, 3p ,5p attribute for elsarticle. How could I determine which model should be used? Could you tell me where can I find out the model of all elsevier journals?

4 Answers 4


As others have said, the designations 1p, 3p, and 5p denote, respectively, Elsevier’s standard journal styles, which are officially called 1+, 3+ and 5+ (see here). In particular, each style has a distinct paper size (the same size for both printed and pdf versions).

Here is a visual comparison of the three formats, using actual pages from recently published papers (as of Dec. 2020):

enter image description here

The sizes are as follows:1

 Style           size (mm)           size (inches)           size2 (pt)

   1p               165 x 240          6.497 x 9.449        468 x 680
   3p               192 x 262          7.559 x 10.315      544 x 743
   5p               210 x 280          8.268 x 11.024      595 x 794

1In some journals, the numbers might be a little bit off. For example, one 5p journal's page size in millimeters—of a pdf of a recently published paper—came out as 206.36 x 276.22 instead of 210 x 280.
2These are PostScript pt (1/72 inch), i.e. LaTeX bp. (These days, only LaTeX and other TeX-derived systems use 1/72.27 inch as the definition of a pt. Pdf readers and utilities such as pdfinfo all use the PostScript pt.)

(Some Elsevier journals' sizes don't conform to any of the three standard formats. For example, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute uses 6.75 in x 10 in, while Women's Health Issues uses 8 in x 10.75 in.)

There are good reasons why, at the submission stage, one should usually not actually worry about the journal style. I will summarize them at the end ('some final disclaimers'). But I will then also describe one situation when it does make sense to try to model the published look.

If you do decide to try to model the published look, here is how to do it.

Step 1. Find out the paper size of the published papers in your journal of interest.

Go to your journal of interest, and download a recent paper. Even if the journal is not entirely open access, it is all but certain that there will be some recent articles that are available as open access. So you should be able to do this even if neither you nor your institution have a subscription to that journal. I just looked at a bunch of Elsevier journals in various fields, from natural sciences and mathematics to social sciences to arts and humanities. Every single one had some open access articles available.

Once you have downloaded a pdf of a recent paper, open it in a pdf viewer such as Adobe Reader, Foxit, PDF-XChange Viewer, Preview, Evince, Okular, etc. Don't use Elsevier's PDF reader—one cannot look up document page size in that reader. Check the paper size (usually under File->Properties). It will be one of the sizes listed in the table above (the units will depend on your pdf reader settings).

Alternatively, instead of a pdf browser, you can use the command-line tool pdfinfo (under Linux) or something similar for other operating systems.

If your journal uses the 3p style, you also need to determine whether it is in a two-column or a one-column format.3 According to Elsevier documentation for their LaTeX class, 1p is always single column, 5p is always double column, and 3p can be either; see p. 2 here.

3However, there seem to be very few double-column 3p journals. In fact, I only know of one: Nuclear and Particle Physics Proceedings.

Step 2. Set the LaTeX documentclass parameters

This is well-documented in the Elsevier documentation for their LaTeX class (here). In the simplest case, use one of the following four commands, as appropriate; note that 1p is single column, 5p is double column, and 3p can be either single or double column (in the latter case one uses the twocolumn option:


Note that the dimensions given in Sec. 12. '(Final print') in the documentation refer to the text area, not the paper size. The LaTeX paper size is A4 (210 mm × 297 mm) for all three styles. The class file literally invokes the geometry package where paperwidth and paperheight are set to the A4 values, while textwidth and textheight are set to the numbers given in the documentation (these are in LaTeX pt, 1/72.27 inch): 384pt and 562pt, respectively, for 1p; 468pt and 622pt for 3p; and 522pt and 682pt for 5p. Elsevier provides samples of the three formats, e.g. here, called elstest-1p.pdf, elstest-3p.pdf, and elstest-5p.pdf.

enter image description here

If you wish, you can also actually measure the text width in the pdf file you downloaded in the previous step and compare it with the LateX settings just mentioned. This can be done using a variety of free software, including ghostview (really GV, on Linux and Mac) and PDF-XChange Viewer (Windows). GV at all times displays the coordinates of the cursor, in points, where (0, 0) is the lower-left corner. So just note the x-coordinates of the left edge and the right edge of the text, and subtract them: that's your textwidth in points. PDF-XChange Viewer has an actual measuring tool.

Some final disclaimers

As others have said, at the initial submission stage, it is normally not important to try to model how the paper would look in the published version. (See also the following questions on the Academia SE: here and here.) In fact, some journals may require you to submit in a particular format that is clearly different from the format they use for publication (see e.g. this answer to your question). For most journals, it is probably best that the submitted version be compiled using either the preprint or review options, for which the journal style is irrelevant (e.g. \documentclass[review,12pt]{elsarticle}). According to the the Elsevier documentation for their LaTeX class (here), preprint is the default option which format the document for submission to Elsevier journals, while review is similar to the preprint option, but increases the baselineskip to facilitate easier review process.

Moreover, even if you use the class option that corresponds to your journal style (e.g. \documentclass[3p,twocolumn]{elsarticle} for a two-column 3+ journal), the documentation warns us that this does not mean that using these options you can emulate the exact page layout of the final print copy. As this answer points out, the actual class that is used at the production stage is not publicly available. You may get to see this class at the post-acceptance, proofing stage, when you will likely be directed to use Neptune, which is 'a web-based proofing framework for LaTeX authors. It is part of TEXFolio, the complete journal production system in the cloud' (see here).

Having said all that, you may decide you would like to try to model the published look anyway—especially if the journal style uses two columns (all 5p journals and some 3p ones). As comments to this answer point out, if you submit in single-column format, then it is the copy editor who will have to implement the switch from single column to double column. But such a shift often results in equations that are too long and that need to be broken into two lines, which is hard to do properly unless one fully understands the equation itself, and so the copy editor might not do it in the best way.


According to the documentation, the options to use for article submission are preprint or review. Hence, you do not need to know the journal's model to submit. If your article is accepted for publication, the journal should send you instructions on final formatting. If they don't, then you can just ask your copy editor which option you should use. Even if you knew the relevant model, the journal will not want that model used for initial submission and review. (And may well send it straight back to you if you submit in that format.)


The 1, 3 and 5 refer to the paper size: 165x240mm, 192x262mm and 210x280mm respectively. Just download a PDF or get a hard copy from the library for your journal and check its dimensions.

As cfr points out, you're not expected to submit your manuscript in the final print layout of the journal. It's usually a lot easier for editors and reviewers if you use one column (for online readability) and your standard paper size (for printing).


The model to use should be specified in the Guide for Authors of each specific journal. For instance, for Remote Sensing of Environment you would look at this page:


Specifically this section:

Manuscript Format

All material should be double-spaced, using 2.5 cm margins on all four sides of the page. Do not format the text in columns. Number the pages and include line numbering (use CONTINUOUS numbering - do not restart numbering on each page).

2.5 cm margins correspond to the 3+ format, therefore in this case you would need to use 3p.

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