A Latex Template for (Quantitative) Ecology Manuscript

Why LaTeX

LaTeX has become increasingly popular for writing academic paper in ecology. I almost exclusively write in LaTeX. My main reasons are

  • LaTeX is so much easier to use than Word for quantitative research. For example, labelling equations in Word is painful.
  • The default layout in LaTeX is more visually appealing than that in Word (although it is definitely possible to typeset like LaTeX in Word, see this link for example).
  • LaTeX allows commenting out a paragraph, which is especially useful in writing the first draft.

There are many good discussions on the internet about LaTeX versus Word (link, link). To be clear, I am definitely not claiming that LaTeX is superior to Word (as the old saying in ecology goes, it always depends).

Template overview

Since some friends have asked me for a LaTeX template, I share my own template here. The template includes the main text and the appendix (pdf), and also the response letter to reviewers' comments (pdf). The overview of the template is shown below.

I am in no way an expert of LaTeX, and I am definitely not claiming that the template is the best practice from any perspective. However, it does solve some minor issues that have bothered me for a while:

  • Separate references for the main text and the appendix;
  • Line numbers for equations and figures;
  • Organization of files;
  • Automatically count the number of references;
  • Count only the words in the main text but not in the appendix;
  • Put the main text and the appendix together in one TeX file;
  • Labels of figures/equations/tables in the appendix starting with S;
  • Label the final page of the appendix with S.

I hope that the template might be useful to other beginners of LaTeX who have experienced similar issues.

Note that Overleaf hosts a lot of LaTeX Templates (link). It is easy to find templates for almost all writing purposes (such as CV and thesis).

Main text

Here is an overview of the main text and the appendix in the template. Main text


Here is an overview of the main text and the appendix in the template. Appendix

Response letter

Here is an overview of the response letter in the template. Response


The template can be accessed via this link hosted on Overleaf. Overleaf is a great online platform that facilitates collaborative writing using LaTeX. The source files of the template can also be downloaded here.

I hope the template is self-explanatory. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or any criticism.

One useful feature not included in the template is LatexDiff. LatexDiff is a powerful tool to highlight the differences between two TeX files. It is an indispensable tool in manuscript revision. Unfortunately, Overleaf has not launched this feature. Currently, you can either do it in the terminal or via this online tool. You can simply show by copy-pasting the TeX files and generate a PDF with marked changes in Overleaf.

Chuliang Song
Chuliang Song

I am a quantitative ecologist driven by the curiosity of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.

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