The Problem

Hi everyone, I have been working towards a submission for MDPI, and I have been given from their website the following template to use in overleaf (which is convenient as I also use overleaf).

The problem arises however once I open the template where as you'll notice on line 232 there is a \end{paracol} command without its \begin{... counterpart further above. This is highlighted as a warning in the code of overleaf, however the document compiles successfully without errors.

I would be willing to ignore this warning if it were that simple, however as you realise, at this point it becomes impossible to generalise this template for my manuscript (and for all manuscripts for that matter). In other words, when I insert my text, I do not know where th place the \end{paracol} such that the code does not return an error. After all, its bad practice to have such unreadable code; the beginning of the evnironment should always be shown within the code.


First, I would like to ask your help and advice on how to at least modify the template such that the \begin{paracol} can actually appear somewhere within the code so I can make slightly better sense on how to adjust the template for my manuscript.

Second, I would like to ask to anyone that successfully submitted using this template; what is the look they try to achieve with the paracol package? Do they want for the entire manuscript to have the text on the right side so the space left on the left can be used for corrections, or do they want to have only the first page split in to two columns such that the left is used for the citation, publisher note, and copyright information?

Thanks for your help in advance.


I have emailed MDPI ([email protected]) to fix the template, but the deadline tight and it doesn't look like there will be a quick resolution to this.

  • 2
    This is a very problematic template. The class has a \begin{paracol} hidden at the \begin{document}. I think (and it ended with a correct submission) that you are supposed to issue the \end{paracol} just before the bibliography. They use it for the right-shifted text body, I suppose (not sure)
    – Rmano
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 12:33
  • 1
    Indeed, such a bad template... In the latest template, \end{paracol} is already set just before the bibliography (line 351).
    – kostas1335
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 12:40
  • 1
    They should have added a \mainmatter and \extramatter kind-of macro to hide this, not abusing \AtBeginDocument. Anyway, maybe you can hide your \end{paracol} in a macro, to trick the editor? (I do not know if it'll work, it depends a lot on the environment)
    – Rmano
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 12:55
  • ^^ Yes that makes things a bit more tolerable
    – kostas1335
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 14:17
  • How can we fix this? Any example? Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


Building from Rmano comment. Here is a fix that worked for me (remember to remove before submission): Add on line 61 after the "% Add packages and commands here. "

%hotFIX for MDPI template on OVERLEAF remove before submission

Do everything you want then find the \end{paracol} replace with your macro:


About the use of paracol IMHO it is to have a very wide free column on the left for all the text that ends before the references. It is the new (2021) layout.

  • This doesn't actually work because \newcommand{\end<whatever>}{} always errors Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 17:32

Possible solution:

  1. \begin{paracol} has already been added in .cls, so no need to add it in tex, just keep the \end{paracol} before \reftitle{References}
  2. For the warnings, please check in “Menu”, turn “code check” to “off”, then the errors would disappear.

The \end{paracol} command is used just before wide figures, and before bibliography

This worked on Overleaf:

Add this on line 232

%%begin novalidate % <----- Add this command
%%end novalidate % <----- Add this command

It hides the warnings on Overleaf.

Source: https://pt.overleaf.com/learn/how-to/Code_Check

Source 2 and explanation: https://issueexplorer.com/issue/lervag/vimtex/2171

See also this discussion: https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/622266/223315

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