Two column journal article template

Today’s LaTeX template has a two column layout, which makes it suitable for a (scientific) journal article. The section headings are changed, as well as the font of the document. Furthermore a header is added to the pages. I tried to create a clean looking article. Judge yourselves if I succeeded in doing that. The description in this post will be rather short. If some things are not understood, please contact me!

What you’ll be creating

The preamble

The preamble is pretty the much the same as all my other templates, except for some details that define this template. I will only cover those items. First the font:


This enables the Palatino font. The linespread command is there to enlarge the space between lines, which is done because Palatino needs it.

Next, the lettrine package is used to create a dropped capital (a larger first character of the document):


Furthermore, the abstract package is used to customize the abstract environment a bit. The packages titlesec and fancyhdr are used to alter the section headings and page headers, respectively.

The content

The abstract is written within the abstract environment. Then, the first character of the actual content is larger and really stands out. This is possible because we’ve called the lettrine package in the preamble. The drop cap (a large letter L) is made as follows:


Where between the square brackets the indentation is turned off and the number of lines the drop cap spans is set to 3.

One last thing to notice is the compact list. This is done with the compactitem environment, which came when we called the paralist package in the preamble. This package was actually featured before in this post.

The result

Download PDF
Download TEX

Want more?

If there are any templates you like me to add to this section, feel free to contact me.


  1. Staci Gullickson says:

    Invaluable comments ! I was fascinated by the insight , Does anyone know where my business would be able to acquire a blank IRS 1099-MISC copy to type on ?

  2. Abdulla says:

    Hi, I have a problem when I ref an algorithm, what I got is the question marks. don’t know where is the problem.


  3. Simon Kragh says:

    Hi Frits.

    I currently have all my references in a bib file and would like to use it this way, is it possible to use along this template?


  4. Frederik says:


    Thanks for a nice template!

    If I want to include a bibliography how would you suggest to incorporate it nicely? I was thinking about placing the bibliography in continuation of the other sections, and make the bibliography with a smaller text than the rest of the document.

    However, I’ve tried to insert a bibliography with bibtex, but it starts on a new page for some reason.

    Do you have a suggestion?

  5. Carolyn says:

    This is a great template. But…if I need to include a jpg, how can I do that? It won’t compile with the picture. I saw the thing above about float, but I don’t quite understand.

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi! Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I tried to put a subsection, but the format seems to be different from the ‘section’ one. I tried applying the same as for the section, but it cut out the numbers after dot (so subsections 1.1, or 1.2 become both 1). Could you help me?

    • Frits says:

      Hi Andrea,

      I suspect you made a small mistake when (perhaps) copy/pasting the code for the section numbering. Add this to your preamble to make it work:


  7. Jorge Barreto says:

    In pictures I use \label{figure} when I call it at my text ref{figure} the pdf show ??, is there a special way to do references in this template?

    • Frits says:

      Do the question marks (??) disappear if you compile the document twice? If not, please post a minimal working example so I can find out what is going on.

      • Elaine says:

        Hello Jorge/Frits,
        Have you resolved the question marks issue with labels. If yes could you kindly indicate how.

  8. Sander says:

    Hey Thank you for this template. I like the style especially the equations. But I have 2 questions

    1. The document doesn’t load any pictures. I use the package graphicx and this code for the pictures
    \caption{Resultaten van de TRP meting}
    I copy pasted the text from another article style template and their it worked.
    2. How do you change the enumeration of the sectiontions from I and II to 1 and 2 ?


    • Frits says:

      Hi Sander,

      1. The multicols package imposes some problems when working with graphicx. You could use the figure* environment, which creates figures spanning both the columns. Or you could do \begin{figure}[H] when using the float package. More info on this can be found here.

      2. To change the section numbers back to ‘normal’, comment or remove this line:

      • Sander says:

        Thanks for the quick response. Using float the pictures appear but their are some artifact like no text onder a picture or no text in the oposite column (I want the pictures only in 1 column so not page wide).

  9. Hello,

    I really liked your template, but I just can’t make it work with the babel package. I’m writting in portuguese (brazilian portuguese). Can anyone help me with this?

  10. Wouter says:

    Question, I have a twocolumn layout and a equation which I want to stretch across the whole page. Taking into account that I don’t want to have this on the top or bottom of a page but somewhere in the middle. How do I do this without screwing up the layout or that text will be placed on each other?

    For something on the top or bottom one could use

    • Frits says:

      That’s a difficult question and one of the downsides of working with a two column layout.
      One way would be to use a figure* environment, but I’m not sure if you’ll be able to control the placement then (it might just be placed at the top or bottom of the page).

      The best option is probably to install REVTeX (see here or here). However, I’ve got no experience with that.

      • Wouter says:

        Okay thanks for the tip I will look into it. Now I solved it by just checking the which text crossed it and then using \vspace command to vertically displace the text such that it does not overlap.

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