CMS Paper Formatting Guide

The CMS tdr environment provides a wide variety of useful macros and tools for preparing your CMS notes and papers. Unfortunately, many people do not become aware of these until they are already well into the process, requiring additional effort to change the paper to use the CMS standards. This page is intended as a guide for people starting a new note or paper, so you can write things the right way the first time around and save yourself the trouble of having to change later.

This page is intended as a highlight of the most important things to be aware of; it is not a complete reference of all of the CMS style and formatting guidelines. For that, please consult the pages below:

Standard macros

Many LaTeX macros are available to simplify and standardize your paper format. Use of these macros is mandatory for paper submission, so it is a good idea to start writing using these macros so you don't have to change over later. A full list of the available macros can be found in the template PDF file available here; the below summarizes the most important points:

  • Particle names: These macros should always be used for particle names, not only in expressions ($\PZ \to \Pe\Pe$) but also in text (leptonic decays of \PZ bosons). Note that there is no need to put these in math mode if they are in text (leptonic decays of \PZ bosons, not $\PZ$ bosons), except for the case when you have multiple particle names next to each other (data collected in $\Pp\Pp$ collisions). This is only a quick summary of the most common particles; a wide variety of more particles, including supersymmetric, fourth-generation, or other hypothesized particles, is available.
    • Quarks: \PQu, \PQd, etc. for quarks; \PAQu, \PAQd, etc. for antiquarks; \PQq or \PAQq for a generic quark (q)
    • Leptons: \Pe, \PGm, \PGt for electron, muon, tau; add p, m, pm, or mp for a sign; \PGn for a generic neutrino, or \PGne, \PGnGm, \PGnGt for a specific neutrino (\PAGn, etc. for antineutrinos)
    • Bosons: \PW, \PZ, \PH, \Pg for gluon, \PGg for photon. You can add a sign as above, or z for a zero (\PWp for W+, \PZz for Z0, etc.)
    • Baryons and mesons: \Pp and \Pn for protons and neutrons, \PGp, \PGpp, \PGpz, etc. for pions, \PK, \PKp, \PKz, \PKL, \PKS, etc. for kaons, \PJGy for J/ψ, etc.
  • Other common expressions: Many common CMS expressions are also available as standard macros: \pt, \HT, \ptmiss, \CLs, \kt, etc. Also, use \abs{...} rather than |...| for absolute value.
  • Units: When writing units, always use the appropriate macro with no space between the number and the unit macro. Most common units are available as special macros, so 7\TeV, 20\mum, 139\fbinv, etc. If you need a unit for which there isn't a predefined macro, use the \unit macro: 40\unit{MHz}. If you want to use the unit with no preceding space (for instance, in a table header), use the ns variant: Lepton momentum (\GeVns). (If you use brackets instead, you'll also need to add {} afterwards so you don't get an extra space after: Lepton momentum [\GeVns{}]. See also note on spacing below.)
  • MC generators: Macros are also provided for common MC generators and other software packages: \PYTHIA, \MGvATNLO, \FASTJET, \GEANTfour, etc. Note that PDF sets don't have these macros and should just be written in all caps.

Creating your own macros: For expressions that you will use frequently, it is strongly recommended to create your own macros. In general, you want to wrap your macro in \ensuremath{...} and follow it with \xspace, to ensure that it can be used either in math or text mode: \newcommand{\BbH}{\ensuremath{\PB \to \PQb\PH}\xspace}

Many authors like to create macros for their final result numbers, so that if these should change during the process, they can easily be updated in all places that they appear. In this case you can skip the \ensuremath since it doesn't matter whether these are in math mode or not: \newcommand{\masslimit}{1050\GeV\xspace} (You may or may not want to include the units in the macro, depending on how exactly you plan to use it. See also the note on spacing below.)

Usage of math mode: The full guidelines for using math mode can be found in the LaTeX formatting checklist, but the important points can be summarized as follows:

  • Don't use math mode when not necessary, so We require that the lepton \pt be greater than 50\GeV, not $\pt$ or $50\GeV$.
  • If there is an expression containing =, <, etc. with material on both sides of the operator, put the whole expression, including both sides, in math mode: We require $\pt > 50\GeV$, not \pt $>$ 50\GeV.
  • However, if the expression only has material on one side of the operator (this also applies to operators such as \approx or \sim), then only the operator should be in math mode: We require a relative isolation $<$0.4, not $<0.4$. (If the expression on the right needs to be in math mode, then you can achieve the same result by using {<} inside math mode: The value should be ${<} \alpha^2$.)

A note on spacing: The \xspace macro tries to be smart about when to insert a space and when not, but it is not always successful. As mentioned above, if you have multiple particle names in a row, they should be set in math mode to avoid extra spaces. If you get an undesired space elsewhere, you can also suppress it by adding {} after the macro name. You can also fix this permanently by adding the appropriate symbol to the \xspace exceptions; see "Advanced tricks" below.

Standard text

The PubDetector twiki page provides many bits of standardized text for use in your note or paper. For the detector description, you should use the text given on this page (selecting the parts of the detector description that are most appropriate to your analysis). There are also standard descriptions of various algorithms (such as particle flow, soft drop, PUPPI, etc.) that you can also use. It is strongly recommended that you at least start with the text on this page, although of course you should feel free to customize it to your own needs.


Correct formatting of references can be quite time consuming. To save yourself some time, there are many resources to help you. First, there is standard BibTeX provided for many common references:

In addition, many common references are also available in the template .bib file provided in the tdr repository here.
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