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Elsarticle-Num Bibliography


I like BibLaTeX and StackOverflow presents some ways reasons to switch to BibLaTeX. I like it, if nothing else, I can have multiple bibliographies easily. I can also use citation style and also limit which fields are displayed in my bibliography. One problem with BibLaTeX is that it does not work well with Elsevier articles (class ), since is loaded by default. There are some other options to induce compatibility are presented here and here.


So I edited the file to make it work. See the between the 2 files here:

diff elsarticle.cls elsarticle_nonatbib.cls 27c27 < \def\RCSfile{elsarticle}% --- > \def\RCSfile{elsarticle_nonatbib}% 33c33 < \def\@shortjid{elsarticle} --- > \def\@shortjid{elsarticle_nonatbib} 192,193c192,193 < \newcounter{author} < \def\author{\@ifnextchar[{\@@author}{\@author}} --- > \newcounter{auth} > \def\auth{\@ifnextchar[{\@@auth}{\@auth}} 196c196 < \def\@@author[#1]#2{\g@addto@macro\elsauthors{% --- > \def\@@auth[#1]#2{\g@addto@macro\elsauthors{% 211c211 < \def\@author#1{\g@addto@macro\elsauthors{\normalsize% --- > \def\@auth#1{\g@addto@macro\elsauthors{\normalsize% 642c642 < \RequirePackage[\@biboptions]{natbib} --- > %\RequirePackage[\@biboptions]{natbib}

If you've never read a output, the means what's written in the first file () and means the second file (). The numbers correspond to the line in each file, e.g means line 192 in file 1 and 193 in file 2.
Overall, I changed the type of article, commented out the requirement, and changed the field to (see below for why). The edited is located here.

Things you need to change

The field conflicts with biblatex and elsarticle, so you must chagne the definitions to instead. This is a minor change, but important one. You can change that field to anything you want in the file (such as ).

Minimal Working Example (MWE)

I tried it with Elsevier's sample manuscript, changing the fields to , and adding a biblatex-type heading:

\usepackage[ natbib = true, backend=bibtex, isbn=false, url=false, doi=false, eprint=false, style=numeric, sorting=nyt, sortcites = true ]{biblatex} \bibliography{mybibfile}



at the end, and the manuscript came out as if using . The MWE is located here and output PDF is located here.


You can use with , with some minor changes. You may have to include this with the rest of your LaTeX files for them to compile on the editors machine. Maybe Elsevier will change the LaTeX for more flexibility, but the StackOverflow question was asked 3 years ago and not much seems to have changed, so I like my solution.

Like this:



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[LaTeX Tutorial]      [FAQ - elsarticle.cls]      [Model-wise bibliographic style files]


is a thoroughly rewritten document class for formatting LaTeX submissions to Elsevier journals. This class uses the environments and commands defined in the LaTeX kernel without any change in the signature so that clashes with other contributed LaTeX packages such as , , etc. will be minimal. is primarily built upon the default . This class depends on the following packages for its proper functioning:

  1. for openstar in the title footnotes;
  2. for citation processing;
  3. for margin settings;
  4. for left aligned equations;
  5. for graphics inclusion;
  6. optional font package, if the document is to be formatted with Times and compatible math fonts;
  7. optional packages if hyperlinking is required in the document.

All the above packages are part of any standard LaTeX installation. Therefore, the users need not be bothered about downloading any extra packages. Furthermore, users are free to make use of AMS math packages such as , , , , etc., if they want to. All these packages work in tandem with without any problems.

Major Differences

Following are the major differences between and its predecessor package, :

  • is built upon while is not. redefines many of the commands in the LaTeX classes/kernel, which can possibly cause surprising clashes with other contributed LaTeX packages;
  • provides preprint document formatting by default, and optionally formats the document as per the final style of models , and of Elsevier journals;
  • some easier ways for formatting and environments are provided while people can still use package;
  • is the main citation processing package which can comprehensively handle all kinds of citations and works perfectly with in combination with ;
  • long title pages are processed correctly in preprint and final formats.


The package is available at author resources page at Elsevier. It can also be found in any of the nodes of the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN), one of the primary nodes being Please download which is a composite class with documentation and which is the LaTeX installer file. When we compile the with LaTeX, it provides the class file, by stripping off all the documentation from the file. The class may be moved or copied to a place, usually, , or a folder which will be read by LaTeX during document compilation. The TeX file database needs updation after moving/copying a class file. Usually, we use commands such as and depending upon the distribution and operating system.

Currently the latest version of elsarticle.cls (Version 1.21) is available only in this wiki page. CTAN and author resources pages at Elsevier will be updated as soon as possible.


The class should be loaded with the command:


where the can be the following:

default option which format the document for submission to Elsevier journals. Along with this option can be provided which will be printed in preprint line in footer.
Suppresses the preprint line in the footer of the first page including the date.
similar to the option, but increases the baselineskip to facilitate an easier review process.
formats the article to the look and feel of the final format of model 1+ journals. This is always of single column style.
formats the article to the look and feel of the final format of model 3+ journals. If the journal is a two column model, use option in combination.
formats for model 5+ journals. This is always of two column style.
author–year citation style of . If you want to add extra options of , you may use the options as comma delimited strings as arguments to the command. An example would be:
numbered citation style. Extra options can be loaded with command.
sorts and compresses the numbered citations. For example, citation [1,2,3] will become [1-3].
if front matter is unusually long, use this option to split the title page across pages with the correct placement of title and author footnotes in the first page.
loads , if available in the system to use Times and compatible math fonts.
  • All options of can be used with this document class.
  • The default options loaded are , , , and .

Front matter

There are two types of front matter coding —

  • each author is connected to an affiliation with a footnote marker, and hence all authors are grouped together and the affiliations follow;
  • authors with the same affiliation are grouped together and the relevant affiliation follows this group. An example coding of the first type is provided below:
\begin{frontmatter}\title{This is a specimen title\tnoteref{t1,t2}}\tnotetext[t1]{This document is a collaborative effort.}\tnotetext[t2]{The second title footnote which is longer than the first one and with an intention to fill in up more than one line while formatting.}   \author[saya]{C.V.~Radhakrishnan\corref{cor1}\fnref{fn1}}\ead{}   \author[saya,stmdocs]{C.V.~Rajagopal\fnref{fn2}}\ead{}   \author[ithal]{G.S. Krishna\corref{cor2}\fnref{fn1,fn3}}\ead[url]{}   \cortext[cor1]{Corresponding author}\cortext[cor2]{Principal corresponding author}\fntext[fn1]{This is the specimen author footnote.}\fntext[fn2]{Another author footnote, but a little more longer.}\fntext[fn3]{Yet another author footnote. Indeed, you can have any number of author footnotes.}   \address[saya]{Sayahna Foundation, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India}\address[stmdocs]{STM Document Engineering Pvt Ltd., Mepukada, Malayinkil, Trivandrum 695571, India \address[ithal]{Ithal Language Technologies, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India} . . . . . . \end{frontmatter}

Output of the above TeX sources will look like the following:

Screenshots temporarily unavailable

Most of the commands such as , , are self-explanatory. Various components are linked to each other by a label–reference mechanism; for instance, title footnote is linked to the title with a footnote mark generated by referring to the string of the . We have used similar commands such as (to link the title note to the title), (to link the corresponding author text to the corresponding author); (to link the footnote text to the relevant author names). TeX needs two compilations to resolve the footnote marks in the preamble part. Given below are the syntax of various note marks and note texts.

\tnoteref{<label(s)>}\corref{<label(s)>}\fnref{<label(s)>}\tnotetext[<label>]{<title note text>}\cortext[<label>]{<corresponding author note text>}\fntext[<label>]{<author footnote text>}

where can be either one or more comma delimited label strings. The optional arguments to the command holds the ref label(s) of the address(es) to which the author is affiliated while each command can have an optional argument of a label. In the same manner, , , will have optional arguments as their respective labels and note text as their mandatory argument.

The following example code provides the markup of the second type of author affiliation.

\author{C.V.~Radhakrishnan\corref{cor1}\fnref{fn1}}\ead{}\address{Sayahna Foundation, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India}\author{C.V.~Rajagopal\fnref{fn2}}\ead{}\address{STM Document Engineering Pvt Ltd., Mepukada, Malayinkil, Trivandrum 695571, India}\author{G.S.~Krishna\fnref{fn1,fn3}}\ead[url]{}\address{Ithal Language Technologies, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India}\cortext[cor1]{Corresponding author}\fntext[fn1]{This is the first author footnote.}\fntext[fn2]{Another author footnote; this is a very long footnote and it should be a really long footnote. But this footnote is not sufficiently long enough to make two lines of footnote text.}\fntext[fn3]{Yet another author footnote.}

The output of the above TeX sources will look like the following:

Screenshots temporarily unavailable

The front matter part has further environments such as and which contain the abstract and keywords respectively. Keywords can be marked up in the following manner:

\begin{keyword} quadruple exiton \sep polariton \sep WGM \end{keyword}

Each keyword shall be separated by a command. MSC classifications shall be provided in the keyword environment with the commands . accepts an optional argument to accommodate future revisions. e.g. . The default is 2000.

Specimen of a title page coding

Following is the specimen of a title page coding.

\documentclass[preprint,1p,12pt]{elsarticle}   \journal{Nuclear Physics B}   \begin{document}   \begin{frontmatter}   \title{This is a specimen title\tnoteref{t1,t2}}\tnotetext[t1]{This document is a collaborative effort.}\tnotetext[t2]{The second title footnote which is longer than the first one and with an intention to fill in up more than one line while formatting.}   \author[rvt]{C.V.~Radhakrishnan\corref{cor1}\fnref{fn1}}\ead{}   \author[rvt,focal]{C.V.~Rajagopal\fnref{fn2}}\ead{}   \author[saya]{G.S.~Krishna\corref{cor2}\fnref{fn1,fn3}}\ead[url]{}   \cortext[cor1]{Corresponding author}\cortext[cor2]{Principal corresponding author}\fntext[fn1]{This is the specimen author footnote.}\fntext[fn2]{Another author footnote, but a little more longer.}\fntext[fn3]{Yet another author footnote. Indeed, you can have any number of author footnotes.}   \address[saya]{Sayahna Foundation, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India}   \address[stmdocs]{STM Document Engineering Pvt Ltd., Mepukada, Malayinkil, Trivandrum 695571, India}   \address[ithal]{Ithal Language Technologies, JWRA 34, Jagathy, Trivandrum 695014, India}   \begin{abstract} In this work we demonstrate the formation of a new type of polariton on the interface between a cuprous oxide slab and a polystyrene micro-sphere placed on the slab. ..... \end{abstract}   \begin{keyword} quadruple exciton \sep polariton \sep WGM \end{keyword}   \end{frontmatter}   \section{Introduction}\label{sec1} Although quadrupole excitons (QE) in cuprous oxide crystals are good candidates for BEC... See section \ref{sec1}.


Figures may be included using the command, in combination with or without its several options to further control graphics. is provided by which is part of any standard LaTeX distribution. is loaded by default. LaTeX accepts figures in the postscript format while pdfLaTeX accepts , (metapost), and formats. pdfLaTeX does not accept graphic files in the postscript format.

The table environment is handy for marking up tabular material. If users want to use , , etc., to fine control/enhance the tables, they are welcome to load any package of their choice and will work in combination with all loaded packages.

Theorem and theorem-like environments

provides a few shortcuts to format theorems and theorem-like environments with ease. In all commands the options that are used with the command will work exactly in the same manner. provides three commands to format theorem or theorem-like environments:

\newtheorem{thm}{Theorem}\newtheorem{lem}[thm]{Lemma}\newdefinition{rmk}{Remark}\newproof{pf}{Proof}\newproof{pot}{Proof of Theorem \ref{thm2}}

The command formats a theorem in LaTeX's default style with italicized font, bold font for theorem heading and theorem number at the right hand side of the theorem heading. It also optionally accepts an argument which will be printed as an extra heading in parentheses. The following text will show you how some text enclosed in will look like.

Screenshots temporarily unavailable

The command is the same in all respects as its counterpart except that the font shape is roman instead of italic. Both and commands automatically define counters for the environments defined. See the output of which is given below.

The command defines proof environments with upright font shape. No counters are defined. See the output of which is given below.

Users can also make use of which will override all the default definitions described above.

Enumerated and Itemized Lists

provides extended list processing macros which makes the usage a bit more user friendly than the default LaTeX list macros. With an optional argument to the command, you can change the list counter type and its attributes.

\begin{enumerate}[1.]\item The enumerate environment starts with an optional argument `1.', so that the item counter will be suffixed by a period. \item If you provide a closing parenthesis to the number in the optional argument, the output will have closing parentheses for all the item counters. \item You can use `(a)' for alphabetical counter and '(i)' for roman counter. \begin{enumerate}[a)]\item Another level of list with alphabetical counter. \item One more item before we start another. \begin{enumerate}[(i)]\item This item has roman numeral counter. \item Another one before we close the third level. \end{enumerate}\item Third item in second level. \end{enumerate}\item All list items conclude with this step. \end{enumerate}

The typeset copy of the above source code is given below:

Furthermore, the enhanced list environment allows one to prefix a string-like `step' to all the item numbers. Take a look at the example below:

\begin{enumerate}[Step 1.]\item This is the first step of the example list. \item Obviously this is the second step. \item The final step to wind up this example. \end{enumerate}

The typeset copy of the above source code is given below:


In electronic publications, articles may be internally hyperlinked. Hyperlinks are generated from proper cross-references in the article. For example, the words will never be more than a simple text, whereas the proper cross-reference may be turned into a hyperlink to the figure itself: . In the same way, the words will fail to turn into a hyperlink; the proper cross-reference is . Cross-referencing is possible in LaTeX for sections, subsections, formulae, figures, tables, and literature references.

Mathematical symbols and formulae

Many physical/mathematical science authors require more mathematical symbols than the few that are provided in standard LaTeX. A useful package for additional symbols is the package, developed by the American Mathematical Society. This package includes such oft-used symbols as , or . Note that your TeX system should have the and fonts installed. If you need only a few symbols, such as \Box, you might try the package .

Another point which would require the authors' attention is the breaking up of long equations. When you use for formatting your submissions in the preprint mode, the document is formatted in single column style with a text width of 384pt or 5.3in. When this document is formatted for final print and if the journal happens to be a double column journal, the text width will be reduced to 224pt for 3+ double column and 5+ journals respectively. All the nifty fine-tuning in equation breaking done by the author goes to waste in such cases. Therefore, authors are requested to check this problem by typesetting their submissions in the final format as well just to see if their equations are broken at the appropriate places, by changing appropriate options in the document class loading command, which is explained in the section Usage. This allows authors to fix any equation breaking problem before submission for publication. supports formatting the author submission in different types of final format. This is further discussed in the section Final print.


Three bibliographic style files (*.bst) are provided — , and — the first one for the numbered scheme, the second for the numbered with new options of natbib.sty and the last one for the author–year scheme.

In the LaTeX literature, references are listed in the environment. Each reference is a and each is identified by a label, by which it can be cited in the text: is cited as . In connection with cross-referencing and possible future hyperlinking it is not a good idea to collect more than one literature item in one . The so-called Harvard or author–year style of referencing is enabled by the LaTeX package . With this package the literature can be cited as follows:

  • Parenthetical: produces (Wettig & Brown, 1996).
  • Textual: produces Elson et al. (1996).
  • An affix and part of a reference: produces (e.g. Governato et al., 1997, Ch. 2).

In the numbered scheme of citation, is used, since or has no relevance in the numbered scheme. package is loaded by with numbers as default options. You can change this to the author–year or harvard scheme by adding option in the class loading command. If you want to use more options of the package, you can do so with the command, which is described in the section Usage. For details of various options of the package, please take a look at the natbib documentation, which is part of any standard LaTeX installation.

Final print

The authors can format their submission to the page size and margins of their preferred journal. provides four class options for the same. But it does not mean that using these options you can emulate the exact page layout of the final print copy.

1+ journals with a text area of 384pt × 562pt or 13.5cm × 19.75cm or 5.3in × 7.78in, single column style only.
3+ journals with a text area of 468pt × 622pt or 16.45cm × 21.9cm or 6.5in × 8.6in, single column style.
should be used along with option if the journal is 3+ with the same text area as above, but double column style.
5+ with a text area of 522pt × 682pt or 18.35cm × 24cm or 7.22in × 9.45in, double column style only.

Following is the first page of a typical single column article.

Screenshots temporarily unavailable

Model 1+ and 3+ will have the same look and feel in the typeset copy when presented in this document. This is also the case with the double column 3+ and 5+ journal article pages. The only difference will be the wider text width of higher models. Therefore we will look at the different portions of a typical single column journal page and that of a double column article in the final format.

Following is the first page of a typical double column article.

Screenshots temporarily unavailable

Displayed equations and double column journals

Many Elsevier journals print their text in two columns. Since the preprint layout uses a larger line width than such columns, the formulae are too wide for the line width in print. Here is an example of an equation (see equation 6) which is perfect in a single column preprint format:

When this document is typeset for publication in a model 3+ journal with double columns, the equation will overlap the second column text matter if the equation is not broken at the appropriate location.

The typesetter will try to break the equation which need not necessarily be to the liking of the author or as happens, the typesetter's break point may be semantically incorrect. Therefore, authors may check their submissions for the incidence of such long equations and break the equations at the correct places so that the final typeset copy will be as they wish.

Download the packages

The following files are available for download:

  1. elsarticle.cls, the class file
  2. elsarticle-num.bst, bibtex style file for numerical references
  3. elsarticle-harv.bst, bibtex style file for name-year references
  4. elsarticle-num-names.bst, bibtex style file for numerical references also allowing name-year citations
  5. elsarticle-template-num.tex, template file for numerical references
  6. elsarticle-template-harv.tex, template file for name-year references
  7. elsdoc-print.pdf, the user documentation (print version)
  8. elsdoc-screen.pdf, the user documentation (screen version)
  9., the above files in a single zip file. Also it contains the source files for generating elsdoc-print.pdf.
  10. This archive contains model-wise bibliographic bst files and specimen templates.
  11., the logos.


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