Revision History

The revision history of AASTeX versions 5.0 through 6.0. Please consult the author guide for details on how to use AASTeX. A sample LaTeX article using AASTeX is available in the full distribution download.

New in AASTeX v6.0

1. Based on the emulateapj class file and hyperref support

The largest change to AASTeX is the adoption of Alexey Vikhlinin's emulateapj classfile as the base code for v6.0. emulateapj is based on the APS's RevTeX v4.1. Like emulateapj, AASTeX v6.0 produces a tight single column (default) or two column typeset article. The change means that when calling the classfile, e.g.


the following old options have changed:

  • manuscript = a one column, double spaced format with 12 point font.
  • preprint = same as onecolumn in AASTeX v6.0, e.g. single space, single column, 10 point font style.
  • preprint2 = same as twocolumn in AASTeX v6.0, e.g. single space, two column, 10 point font style.

Some other old emulateapj options are still available. Their functions are as follows:

Option Output
numberedappendix Appendix sections labeled A, B, C, etc. This is the default.
appendixfloats Reset appendix floats counters to zero
onecolappendix Single column appendix. This is the default.
twocolappendix two column appendix.
astrosymb Uses Astrosymb fonts and defines \astro commands
tighten Produces tighter typesetting by reducing the baselinskip

Four new options have been introduced for AASTeX 6.0.

Option Output
times Use the ubiquitous Times font
linenumbers Number each line in left margin
trackchanges Produce tracking revision changes in manuscript

In the onecolumn style the figure will span the same width of the text. Figures in the twocolumn style will likewise only span the column they are placed in. An author can override this by adding an asterisk, e.g. \begin{figure*}...\end{figure*}, to have a figure span both columns. Authors are responsible for producing figures that are not so small to be unreadable.

AASTeX v6.0 uses the hyperref package for typesetting hyperlinks. The \href{href}{text} tag associates text in the manuscript with the specified resource (href) where href should be specified as a full URI, including the scheme: designator (http:, ftp:, etc.). The \url command supports the special case where an author wishes to express a URL in the text. With the hyperref package LaTeX can interpret any URL without requiring encoding of special characters.

2. New options for the front page

A) Water marking

An optional water mark can be superimposed over the title page using the following commands.


The first command will print text in a light gray color on the title page running diagonally from the bottom left to the top right. The font size can also be specified by the second command, e.g. 2in, to obtain the appropriate size. Authors may have to experiment with the wording and font size to obtain a desired result. The water mark information is not used during production but authors might find it useful to identify drafts or preprints.

B) Limiting long author lists in preprints

With very long author lists one can now limit the number of authors shown in a compiled PDF or preprint. The remaining authors will be identified under a collaboration header. To limit the number of shown authors and to define a collaboration use the following commands.

\AuthorCallLimit=number of authors shown
\fullcollaborationName{collaboration identifier}

The first command will only show the specified number of \author commands, e.g. if \AuthorCallLimit=3 then only the authors provided in the first three \author commands will be displayed. When the number of authors is limited the \fullcollaborationName command must also be included. As an example, \fullcollaborationName{Kepler Science Team} would produce "(Kepler Science Team)" after the nth author as defined by \AuthorCallLimit. The full author list, including the affiliations, will be shown at the end of the article when these commands are used and the new \allauthors command is placed at the end of the article.

Note that these author limiting commands are only meant to be used to make lengthy author lists more manageable for PDF copies during peer review. Authors are still required to include all authors and affiliation information with the corresponding commands outlined above. The full set of authors is critical both during peer review and publication.

3. New color revision tracking and author comment mark up

A) Track revisions

Several new commands have been introduced to make it easier to track revisions. To begin authors must include the trackchanges option when calling the class file, e.g.


Commands are available to highlight added, deleted and replaced text.The commands and their output, with and with out the trackchanges option, are presented here.

AASTeX command Output with trackchanges option Output without trackchanges option
\added{text} (Added: text) text
\deleted{text} (Deleted: text) Nothing is printed
\replaced{old text}{new text} (Replaced: old text with new text) new text
\explain{explanatory text} [Explanation of change: explanatory text] Nothing is printed

Using the \listofchanges command in the article preamble will show all of the added, deleted and replaced text in a list at the end of the article. Note that this command must be called at the manuscript end just before \end{document}. If the linenumbers option is used in the documentclass call then the line number of every change at the end of the article is given.

B) \edit

Likewise, the new command \edit1{<text>}, \edit2{<text>} and \edit3{<text>} have been introduced to make it easier for authors to highlight changes to the manuscript in response to editor and referee comments. The three commands will produce bold red, italic blue, and underlined purple <text>, respectively. Authors that choose to use these commands to highlight changes should use the first command to highlight new text from the first revision, the second command from the second revision and the third command if a third revision is necessary. The goal is to make it obvious what has been changed and at what point during the peer review process. For final typesetting the color can be removed simply by adding in the command \turnoffedit in the preamble.

C) \authorcomment

Similarly the \authorcomment1{<text>}, \authorcomment2{<text>}, and \authorcomment3{<text>} commands are now available. These commands will prepend to the text "Collaboration note:" and highlight it in bold red, italics blue and underlined purple but when the command \turnoffedit is used this text will not be shown at all. Authors can use these commands to mark text that they are not sure should be included in the final manuscript.

4. New figure support

A) Figure sets

A figure set is the framework used to contain a large compendia of similar images and graphical material. Examples include identification charts, spectral libraries, model output, etc. The figure set functionality gives the reader the ability to quickly find specific images within the figure set sequence and thus is well suited in cases with many similar images.

The AAS Journals has had figure set functionality for over 10 years but until now the specific mark up had to be put in by hand and thus most of the work was done after acceptance by a data editor. AASTeX v6.0 now includes the mark up. The commands to construct a figure set are as follows.

\figsettitle{figure set title}
\figsetgrptitle{image 1 caption}
\figsetplot{figure set file}
\figsetgrpnote{image 1 caption}
Repeat the block above for each figure in the set

The second command, \figsetnum, is the figure sequence number. The \figsettitle is the title for the entire figure set. The next six commands, between \figsetgrpstart and \figsetgrpend, must be repeated for each image in the figure set sequence. The \figsetgrpnum increments by one each time, e.g. figurenumber.1, figurenumber.2, figurenumber.3, etc. \figsetgrptitle is a title used to uniquely identify the specific image. It should be relatively short but descriptive. \figsetplot is the call to the EPS or PDF file containing the image. If an image consists of multiple EPS or PDF files one \figsetplot is required for each file. Lastly, \figsetgrpnote is the figure caption for that specific image. It may be unique or identical to all the others in the figure set but it must be specified in this field.

B) Grid figures

AASTeX 6.0 introduces a new way to create a figure that consists of > 2 EPS or PDF files arranged in a grid pattern. The new command \gridline allows an author to place as many figure files as needed in a row through multiple \fig, \rightfig and \leftfig calls. The \fig calls an individual EPS or PDF file while \rightfig and \leftfig do the same but right and left justify the named file within the grid row. There is also the \boxedfig call which is the same as \fig but draws a box around the named file.

\fig{filename}{width}{letter or caption}

The first argument is the EPS or PDF file to be displayed. The second argument is the width to scale the file by. Any LaTeX accepted width is valid but author may find it easier to use \textwidth scale the figure by a fraction of the allowed width. For example, 0.33\textwidth will scale the figure to one-third the column width. The last argument provides a sub caption beneath the displayed file. Authors should use this to label the displayed file, e.g. "(a)", "(b)", etc.

There is a final file call for \gridline, \rotatefig. Similar to the others, this file call takes an additional argument to specify the degree of rotation. An example would be \rotatefig{90}{<filename>}{<width>}{subcaption} to produce a 90 degree rotation.

5. New table features

AASTeX 6.0 introduces five new features to make and display tabular information. All of these features can be use together with any other valid commands in a single table. Many of the new features use new alignment tokens in lieu of the typical "l," "c," or "r," arguments. All of the commands work with LaTeX's tabular environment and AASTeX's deluxetable but there are some differences in how each is executed. See the AASTeX guide for specific examples of each.

A) Hide columns

Entire columns can be "hidden" from display with the use of the new "h" cols column identifier. In the tabular environment the header will also be hidden but deluxetable requires the use of \nocolhead instead of \colhead to hide a specific column.

B) Automatic column math mode

The use of mathematics and special symbols requires the use of math-mod or in other words prefaced with $s. Using capital letters, e.g. "C", "L", or "R", in the cols column identifier will set that specific column in math mode so that $s are unnecessary. In deluxetable use \dcolhead to enable math mode without $s in that particular header.

C) Column decimal alignment

In addition to the standard left, right, and center column justification, AASTeX v6.0 can now align columns by the decimal. It does this by splitting the identified column into two separate columns by the decimal and right justifying the first new column and right justifying the second new column. The new "D" alignment token is used to identify a decimal column. The \decimals command must also be included in the table. It can be anywhere in a LaTeX table but must come after the \startdata call in deluxetable. Since "D" columns are actually two column any headers should include an extra "&" in the tabular environment or be described with the new \twocolhead{} in the deluxetable environment. Alternatively, \multicolumn2c{} will work to span two columns in a header in either environment. Each decimal column must end with space before "&" and empty decimal columns must be indicated with a period ('.')

D) Split tables wide tables

Wide tables can easily be split horizontally into two or three continuing subtables. An author would invoke splittabular or splitdeluxetable to allow this functionality. A new "B" alignment token identifier is defined to tell LaTeX where to introduce the split. Up to two "B" identifiers can be used. The output is a centered split table with a full horizontal line separating the two or three components.

E) Automatic column numbering

The command \colnumbers can be included to automatically number each column in the header. Each column index number will be surrounded by parentheses. In a LaTeX table the \colnumbers should be invoked at the location where the author wants the numbers to appear. This should be after the last line of specified table header. In deluxetable this command has to come after \startdata. \colnumbers will not increment for columns hidden by the "h" command.

Note that when using decimal alignment the command \decimalcolnumbers must be used instead of \colnumbers and \decimals.

F) Rotating tables into landscape mode

To rotate a table into landscape mode in the table environment the following commands should be used


around the \begin{tabular} ... \end{tabular} calls. The process for the deluxetable environment, using \rotate, remains the same, however, there are some subtle differences in how deluxetables are treated in this version. The deluxetable environment uses the longtable package to split tables over pages. Unfortunately, this means that deluxetable are not traditional floats and thus LaTeX does not have its normal flexibility to optimally typeset the table within the article. Instead LaTeX will insert the deluxetable where it is placed with in the manuscript. Extra care may be necessary to achieve the desired placement results. An author can force a deluxetable to be a float by adding the command \floattable before the \begin{deluxetable} command. Note that no LaTeX float object can break over a page so the \floattable command should not be used for long tables that exceed a page length.

6. 3rd party repository and software citation support

A) The \software command

Authors should use the new \software command to highlight any software packages that were used in the production of the article. The use of \software will make it easier for programmers and organizations to obtain usage statistics about their software. Similar to the \facility command, \software should appear after the acknowledgments section.

\software{IRAF, AIPS, Astropy, ... }

There is no limit to the number of software that may be included in a manuscript.

B) Updates to \dataset command

Use the updated \dataset command to link to data sets hosted externally such as the DOI issuing Zenodo repository.


Where url is the URL link to the data. The bracketed argument is optional. When present the given text is used as the displayed hyperlink otherwise [DATASET] is printed.

C) New aasjournal.bst file for improved BibTeX support

The format for referencing digital objects in repositories is as follows:

{author*} {year}, {title}, {version^}, {publisher|howpublished~}, {prefix}:{identifier#}

                          author = {Lia Corrales},
                          title = {{dust: Calculate the intensity of dust scattering halos in the X-ray}},
                          month = mar,
                          year = 2015,
                          doi = {10.5281/zenodo.15991},
                          version = {1.0},
                          publisher = {Zenodo},
                          url = {}

The corresponding reference list entry built with aasjournal.bst would look like:

Corrales, L. 2015, dust: Calculate the intensity of dust scattering halos in the X-ray, v1.0, Zenodo, doi:10.5281/zenodo.15991

BibTeX will produce a citation in this format when the new aasjournal.bst file is used. The aasjournal.bst is an update of the old apj.bst file and is backwards compatible.

New in AASTeX v5.2

1. New Markup

Macros have been added to support new features in the electronic ApJ and AJ. The new macros for object linking and data sets will be used to create links in the electronic editions that will provide readers with easy access to fundamental information on the objects and archived data sets used in the papers. The facilities macro will be used to help readers track the effectiveness of their telescopes. Watch the AASTeX home page to learn when these features will be supported and for further details on their use.

For each of these new macros, the optional argument in square brackets is the identification key to be used when a link is constructed in the electronic edition. The text between the curly braces will be printed in the text of the paper and will form the link anchor in the electronic edition.

\object[<Catalog ID>]{<text>}, \objectname[<Catalog ID>]{<text>}
To make AASTeX consistent with the markup used by A&A, the macro \object has been added as an alias to the already-exising \objectname command. Use either command to mark celestial objects to be linked to the data centers in the electronic editions of the journals.
\dataset[<Catalog ID>]{<text>}
Use this macro to provide links to archived data sets referenced in an AASTeX article.
Use this macro to mark the names of facilities used in the research for a paper. See the AAS Facility Keywords page for more information.

2. Improvements to deluxetable

A number of changes have been made to the deluxetable environment. These changes should eliminate the most common problems with deluxetable formatting.

Breaks allowed in table end notes
AASTeX will now break \tablecomments, \tablenotetext, and \tablerefs blocks to a new page if there is not enough room to place them after the table. In the past, end notes would run off the bottom margin.
The \tablebreak command has been reintroduced to give the user the ability to override default deluxetable page breaks
Improved function of \\[VSKIP] command
The deluxetable environment will now properly calculate the number of table lines per page when the optional argument to adjust spacing between rows is used.
Standalone tables
A bug that prevented processing of standalone tables was fixed.

3. Graphics

In previous versions of the package, the figure column width was not reset after the \plottwo macro was used with the result that if two \plottwo commands appeared one after the other, the second set of figures were sized too small. This has now been fixed.
The version 4.0 \plotfiddle macro for figure placement has been reintroduced. See the documentation for details on its use.

4. Other Changes

"longabstract" option for preprint2 style
A "longabstract" style option is now available for the two-column preprint2 style for instances where the abstract is too long to fit on the first page of the document.
New journal abbreviation macros
New journal macros have been added:

\actaa Acta Astronomica
\icarus Icarus
\caa Chinese Astronomy and Astrophysics
\cjaa Chinese Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics
\rmxaa Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica (RMxAA)
\na New Astronomy
\nar New Astronomy Review
\jcap Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (JCAP)
\pasa Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (PASA)

A complete list of the journal abbreviation macros is included in the Author Guide, which is available in the documentation section.

break after keywords in manuscript style
In manuscript style, AASTeX will insert a page break following the keywords. This is a return to the behavior of the old version 4.0 package.

New in AASTeX v5.0.2

New in AASTeX v5.0.1

New in AASTeX v5.0

1. About AASTeX v5.0

  • Version 5.0 is a LaTeX 2e document class, while v4.0 was a LaTeX document style. This means that v5.0 cannot be run under LaTeX 2.09. You are strongly encouraged to upgrade to LaTeX 2e, but if you must use LaTeX 2.09, use AASTeX v4.0 instead.
  • Because it is based on LaTeX 2e, v5.0 requires compliance with the changed markup conventions thereof. Consult Lamport's LaTeX: A Document Preparation System or Kopka and Daly's A Guide to LaTeX for information on using LaTeX 2e.
  • Version 5.0 is a single document class with corresponding styles, whereas v4.0 consisted of a number of different document styles. See below for details on what v5.0 styles correspond to what v4.0 styles.
  • Normally you use a \documentclass statement to select the aastex document class. However, it is still possible to use AASTeX in a sort of compatibility mode. If you use


    under LaTeX 2e, AASTeX will process your document under the aastex.cls document class just as if you had used


2. New and Enhanced Markup

A) Support for Hypertext


A general-purpose hypertext link tag, using the parlance of HTML.HREF is a full URI, including the scheme: designator (ftp:, http:, etc.). For instance,

\anchor{}{the AAS ftp site}
We provide \url with the HREF as an optional argument to support the case when an author wishes to express a URL in the text. In that case, HREF = TEXT. If the author supplies both arguments, this command looks like an alias for \anchor.

\url[]{the AAS home page}
Use this markup to identify email addresses anywhere in the text. ADDRESS should not contain the mailto: scheme designator. For instance,

This command replaces the AASTeX v4.0 \authoremail command, and unlike the v4.0 command, it can be used for any email address, not just an author's email address.
\objectname[CATALOG ID]{TEXT}
Using this command, celestial objects can be identified by the author to facilitate post-processing of articles by the astronomical catalog databases. In the future, software could construct queries to those databases in the online editions; hence, it may be useful for the author to supply a catalog identifier, although at this time the markup is not used by any of the AAS journals.

B) Support for Tables


This command rotates a deluxetable into landscape orientation.

The canonical table line spacing optional argument will now function as expected in the deluxetable environment. The commands \tablevspace, \nl, and \nextline are no longer needed and have been deprecated.

C) Bibliographic Support

LaTeX's \cite command has been reimplemented to utilize the features of the natbib package. See the natbib package documentation for details on natbib's extended markup.

D) Special Symbols

The following special symbols have been added.

\sbond, \dbond, \tbond
Chemical bond symbols for single bonds, double bonds, and triple bonds.

A circle with a slash through it. Added for compatibility with A&A and MNRAS packages.

This is a synonym for \arcdeg. Added for compatibility with A&A and MNRAS packages.

E) Editorial and Production Support

\shorttitle{TEXT}, \shortauthors{TEXT}

These are new names for commands that permit authors to specify the abbreviated title and short author list for the running heads in the print journal. They replace \righthead and \lefthead.

3. Deprecated Markup

The following AASTeX v4.0 commands are not supported in AASTeX v5.0/v4.1.

\tablevspace, \nl, \nextline

These commands are no longer needed since LaTeX's native \\ end-of-line markup is now available in the deluxetable environment.

\lefthead, \righthead

Use \shortauthors and \shorttitle instead.

\authoraddr, \authoremail

Use \affil and \email instead.


Command is obsolete.

planotable environment

Plano tables are no longer supported. All tables must be coded in LaTeX and submitted electronically instead of in camera-ready form.

4. How to Convert your AASTeX v4.0 Manuscript to AASTeX v5.0

Follow the instructions below if you wish to convert your AASTeX 4.0 manuscript to AASTeX v5.0. If you prefer to convert to AASTeX v4.1, follow the same instructions but with the differences noted.

  • Replace your \documentstyle statement with an appropriate \documentclass statement and change the article documentstyle tpo the aastex document class. Then pick the appropriate style. (Version v4.1: Replace article with aastex as in v5.0, but do not replace the \documentstyle command with \documentclass.)
    1. If the aasms4 document style is used, replace it with the manuscript style, e.g.,
  • Old v4.0 command: \documentstyle[12pt,aasms4]{article}
  • New v5.0 command: \documentclass[manuscript]{aastex} or just \documentclass{aastex} since manuscript is the default style.
    • 2. If the aaspp4, aj_pt4, or apjpt4 document style is used, replace with the preprint style:
    • Old v4.0 command: \documentstyle[aaspp4]{article}
    • New v5.0 command: \documentclass[preprint]{aastex}
      3. If the aas2pp4 document style option is used, replace with the preprint2 style:
    • Old v4.0 command: \documentstyle[aas2pp4]{article}
    • New v5.0 command: \documentclass[preprint2]{aastex}
    • Replace the \lefthead command with \shorttitle and the \righthead command with \shortauthors.
    • Remove any \markcite commands and convert from the references environment to thebibliography.Insert parentheses around the year in the labels to your \bibitem commands, e.g. \bibitem[Abt (1990)]{abt90}. The LaTeX \cite command will behave like the natbib \citet in AASTeX v5.0/v4.1, producing a citation that looks like "Abt (1990)". Use \citep to produce a citation in parentheses, "(Abt 1990)". See the author guide and the natbib package documentation for more information on citation markup.
    • In the deluxetable environment, substitute commands as follows:

      v4.0 Command v5.0 Command
      \nl \\
      \nextline \\
      \nl\tablevspace{dimen} \\[dimen]

      If you have used \small, \footnotesize, or \scriptsize to reduce the font size of your table, enclose these commands in the \tabletypesize command, i.e. \tabletypesize{\scriptsize}.