Section numbers in achemso

When I wrote the achemso class for submissions to American Chemical Society journals, I did my best to get the style of each journal correct. Of course, this is not easy as there are a lot of journals and they are not necessarily consistent in applying the style rules! One issue that comes up a lot is section numbering. Most of the journals do not number sections, most of the time. However, sometimes authors want to include section numbers. I need to look at this again for version 3.2, but in version 3.1 you need to do:


somewhere in the preamble to restore numbering.

TeX Questions

There are three main places to ask (La)TeX-related questions in English:

Each has a different mix of people, and I wonder how much cross-over there is. The LaTeX Community forums seem best for the newer user, as there is a lot less complex information than in the newgroup or on texhax. I’d say that the newgroup is the most active of the three, with texhax a relativity quite list. Of course, there are also ConTeXt-specific places to talk. I wonder how much regulars of each “place” know about the other ones?

Choice options

As I work through recoding siunitx for version 2, I’m re-thinking all of the options. As I’ve said already (and others have said too) the current structure is too complex. A particular problem is the options which currently take a choice of values, or a literal item. I’m thinking that it would be better to either (a) have a fixed list of choices or (b) use the input as given. For example, the current:

\sisetup{decimalsymbol = comma}

could become either:

\sisetup{numbers/output/decimal marker = comma}


\sisetup{numbers/output/decimal marker = {,}}

For options which give literal output (like the above), I think the later method is better (it matches up with the input options, for example). On the other hand, some options (particularly those involving spaces) seem better done using keywords:

\sisetup{numbers/output/digit separator = thick space} % thin space, comma, ...

I’d be keen to see what others think.

Advanced features of xkeyval for LaTeX3

Currently, LaTeX3 only provides parsing of key–value input into separated keys and values. I’ve written the keys3 package as a possible implementation of keyval for LaTeX3: this is based on pgfkeys from the pgf system. However, there are some features of the xkeyval package that I’ve not yet covered. In particular, I’m wondering about the “preset” keys system (\presetkeys and relatives) and the “pointer” system (\savekeys and so on). I’ve not really used these, so I’m not sure what might be needed for LaTeX3.

I think that LaTeX3 needs to have built-in keyval support which can cover everything that can be done by add-ons in LaTeX2e. I’d appreciate ideas on what needs to be added to keys3 to achieve this.

Developement Timetables

The need to have public timetables for large projects is something I mention quite a bit on the LaTeX-L list. The LaTeX3 project has run for many years, and at the moment there is no public indication of when a “LaTeX3 kernel” might be available. As I’ve mentioned that I’m working on siunitx v2, I guess I’d be hypocritical if I didn’t have some kind of public statement about how things are going.

The plan at the moment is something like:

  • Christmas period. Re-code number output and tables.
  • January. Look at extending unit system to cope with more cases.
  • February. Additional items (such as awkward symbols). Write basic documentation for v2.
  • March. Public beta one for testing. Continue to write documentation
  • June. Depending on feedback and success, release siunitx v2.

As you can see, I’m hoping to get everyhting revised for TeXLive 2009, having learnt from getting siunitx v1 out. Of course, this is subject to change (and other committments), but I think it’s pretty achievable.

Guidelines to authors

Author guidelines for journal submissions still seem to be based in the era when you typed a manuscript and posted it to the editorial office. I’ve just had a question about my achemso package and the guidelines for Analytical Chemistry. They want Figure and Table captions in a list on their own, and they still want graphics on separate pages from the text. Reviewing papers where people stick to these rules is harder than when the rules are ignored, and the content is in-line.

Most of the journals now want electronic submissions only, but haven’t altered their own guidelines to reflect the very different workflow this produces. It is a two-way street, and I at least tend to “vote with my feet” and submit things that are easier for the reviewer to read, whatever the publishers say.

achemso v3.1

My achemso package (for submissions to the American Chemical Society) has been updated to v3.1. This brings two main developments. First, JACS Communications now automatically format in the journal style. This was asked for by the editorial office, and hopefully shows the approximate page requirement. Second, I’ve completely revised author affiliations. The original system was much too inflexible (just one main affiliation per author), and I’ve had a lot of questions about this. The new system gives you three macros:

  • \affiliation
  • \altaffiliation
  • \alsoaffiliation

The last one is new, and should enable pretty much any combination of different addresses.