AAS Publishing News: A Second Round of AASTex Improvements


Are you an astronomer considering submitting a paper to an AAS journal (i.e., AJ, ApJ, ApJ Letters, or ApJ Supplements)? If so, this post is for you!

Earlier this year, the AAS released a new version of the LaTeX class file AASTex, used to prepare manuscripts for submission to AAS journals. You can read about the new features that were included in AASTex 6.0 here.

style comparison

Comparison of three of the six available layout styles. Shown are “modern” (top), “default” (middle), and “twocolumn” (bottom).

The publishing team received very helpful feedback from authors in response to that release, and your requests have now been incorporated into an updated version: AASTex 6.1. This file contains all the same new features of AASTex 6.0, plus a few additional tweaks to make preparing your manuscript even easier! Read on to find out what’s new in AASTex 6.1, available for download now.

What’s new in AASTex 6.1?

Here are just a few of the new features and capabilities in the latest version:

  • Improved markup for authors, affiliations and collaborations
    Have an ORCID identifier? Now your author name can link to it. Juggling a lot of authors and affiliations? AASTex 6.1 offers automatic affiliation indexing, taking the burden off the manuscript preparer. Struggling to properly label members of collaborations in your author lists? There are new commands to help you do that more easily.
  • Options for layout styles
    Do you only use the default layout style when you prepare your manuscript? You have other options! In AASTex 6.1 a new style has been added, “modern”, which is designed for improved readability — especially on computers and mobile devices. You can now submit your manuscript in any of these available styles:

default: single column, single spaced, 10 pt font.
twocolumn: two column, single spaced, 10 pt font. This is the most compact layout style and representative of the final published version.
modern: one column, single spaced, 12 pt font, significantly wider margins.
preprint: one column, single spaced, 12 pt font.
preprint2: two column, single spaced, 12 pt font.
manuscript: one column, double spaced, 12 pt font.

  • New features for tables
    In addition to the new features for tables introduced in AASTex 6.0, now there are additional commands available to give authors flexibility in how long tables are handled, where tables appear on the page, and how they’re oriented.
  • revision tracking

    Example of how to track three different rounds of revisions to a manuscript.

    Better revision tracking control and editorial mark up
    AASTeX 6.0 introduced two methods to mark and track revision changes. Your feedback was used to improve the second method, which now lets you set whether or not to display different rounds of revisions. New commands have also been introduced so that you can document the publication history of your manuscript for preprints.

  • url support in the bibliography
    Been wishing you could include hyperlinks in your bibliography? The aasjournal.bst file has been updated to recognize the url field. If you include it, the reference in the compiled manuscript will be hyperlinked.

Where can you get more information?

Wishing for still more improvements? 

The AAS Publishing team appreciated your feedback on the last version of AASTex, and they’re happy to hear your comments on this one! You can contact them at aastex-help@aas.org with additional suggestions or ideas for the next iteration of AASTex.