Ivo Welch, June 1, 2015.

Non-Computer Related Style Instructions

  1. The most unusual aspect of the CFR (compared to the JF or RFS) is that we want most exhibits (tables and figures) to have a "description" section followed by an "interpretation" sentence or two. What should an interested reader looking primarily (only) at this exhibit learn from and remember about it?
  2. We use standard U.S. English. Neither British English nor Australian English, mate. Most importantly, this means that "end quotes" follow punctuation marks, and do not precede it. We do not follow the University of Chicago dictionary or style slavishly, but it usually tells us nicely what a reasonable approach is.
  3. Articles start without a section title called "Introduction."
  4. Before equations, you do not need to write something like: "Our comparative statics are as follows: ...". Instead, omit the empty "as follows:" and write "Our comparative statics are ...".
  5. Most equations are not preceded by colons. Usually colons can be omitted.
  6. The phrase "is given by" can almost always be omitted.
  7. Use "because" instead of "since" if you mean logic. Use "since" if you mean time-precedence.
  8. Trivially short footnotes (such as, "see Fama-French:1993 and Black-Jensen-Scholes:1972") should go into the text. Superlong footnotes should be avoided. Normal footnotes are no more than 50 words long.
  9. Spell out the word "to" instead of using ranges, when possible. What does "the coefficient is --0.23--0.05" mean? Does it mean --0.18, or --0.23 to 0.05, or even -0.23 to --0.05?
  10. Let's try to use capital roman "T" for the statistical T distribution. That is, let's not lowercase or italicize "t" in Student-T distribution.
  11. If there are standard abbreviations in the literature already, please try not to innovate but to follow them. Readers really don't need to be confused any further. For example, t is usually the best variable to use for a time index, w a good name for a weight, and so on. If you have many variables, please provide a glossary table. If they are empirical variables, this table can also list data source and availability in a consistent format. If they are model variable, provide the domain.
  12. Don't use & as an abbreviation for "and", unless customary or necessary (e.g., S&P500).
  13. Equations cannot contain footnotes. If you need to remark something, do so just before the equation.
  14. If you use emdashes—such as here—there is no space surrounding the quasi-parenthetical expression. However, you can often rewrite such sentences to be better without quasi-interruption.
  15. It is rare that you need a dash (—) to continue a sentence. Often, a period or colon is better.

CFR (LaTeX) Typesetting Instructions

If you use latex, we expect you to help us with the typesetting by following these instructions. We have used only standard latex styles and fonts, except for what we distribute to you (see below). If you run a reasonably new LaTeX distribution (say, 2012 or later), you should have zero problems helping us typeset the first draft of your article. You understand your paper better than we do.


To typeset CFR papers, you need to unzip nowauthortexmf.zip, which contains


These files all have to be moved either into your texmf tree, which has the same hierarchy (/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/tex/latex/NOW/author/) or all into your local directory. (Note that the nowsort.bst file sits in a different directory, but it is not used by the CFR.)

Here is a sample installation on OSX and linux.

        $ sudo bash
        Password: ....
        # zip -r nowauthortexmf*.zip
        # cp -a tex/latex/NOW /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/tex/latex/
        # texhash &> /dev/null
        # kpsewhich now-journal.cls
        # exit

2015: expect some rockiness in the process.


  1. CFR Issue 4 No 1 is the first printed issue that has moved to standard latex class and style formats. Please consult our distributed printed and electronic copies as your preparation templates. All our style and class files, as well as examples of the .tex and .pdf files, are conveniently available as a zip file. If you want to accomplish a visual effect, please look through the CFR Volume 4 issue, find an example, and mimick how we did it.
  2. The first page of your article has to fit title, authors, abstracts, keywords, JEL codes, thank you note, and some publication/copyright info. If your abstract is too long, rewrite it. (At beyond 150 words, it is getting ridiculous, anyway.)
  3. We want your names, email addresses, and institutions on the front page, one author each on one line. If an author does not fit, we will have to neuter him/her.
  4. If your article title is too long to look nice on the header, use the optional "header" argument in the title argument.
  5. For work purposes, name your file cfr-0001. We will rename it later.
  6. All your own definitions and macros should go into cfr-0001.sty . Your manuscript should not contain any \newcommand, \newcounter, \providecommand, \renewcommand, \def, etc.

    Please do not show off even in the cfr-0001.sty file. We do not want to see super-clever latex macros. We know you can redefine any letter in latex to anything you would want it to be. But we want to be able to understand what you are doing without getting another PhD degree. Please use only TeX hackery you reasonably need. Of course, if you reuse something dozens of time, it is often better to define one macro to ensure consistency. This is what this is for.

  7. Do not use deep TeX macros such as \tabcolsep2.3pt. Instead, please use \setlength{\tabcolsep}{2.3pt}. Similarly, please denote TeX macro arguments by curly paren. We know that \frac12 works, but we really prefer \frac{1}{2}.
  8. All your bibentries should go into cfr-0001.bib .
  9. For our bibliography, we use biblatex and biber. If you know bibtex, you already know biber. Your .bib files mostly remain the same. More advice:
    • Instead of \citeasnoun in your latex source, please use \textcite.
    • If you can, do not use year and month, but enter dates as YYYY-MM-DD.
    • Never use the \url macro in the .bib file. Instead, simply put the url in the url field.
    • You can use non-ASCII chars and encode the bib-file in utf8.
    • biblatex knows much more entry types and fields then standard bibtex styles. Check the documentation of biblatex or ask if you unsure how to correctly create a bib-entry for a reference
    • Instead of the command-line program bibtex, you use biber: Instructions how to configure your editor to use biber can be found here: http://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/154751/biblatex-with-biber-configuring-my-editor-to-avoid-undefined-citations
    Do not agonize over the details of how your references look in the text—if you have entered the information in the .bib file appropriately, we can fix it.

    Your workflow will be

     latex cfr-0001 ; biber cfr-0001 ; latex cfr-0001 ; latex cfr-0001 
    At this point, you should have a viewable cfr-0001.pdf file.
  10. Do not use \clearpage, \newpage, \eject, etc. You can use \Needspace, such as \Needspace{0.2\textheight}, if you absolutely need to break a page. Similarly, use \enlargethispage and \looseness only in the rarest of cases. Use \bigskip, \medskip, and \smallskip if you really need horizontal space. Do not use \vspace or \vskip.

    Please leave the final LaTeX visual fine-tuning to us.

  11. If some aspect of the formatting seems hard, just mark it for us with \sfix{message to CFR editors} and don't worry too much about it.
  12. TeX Fonts are confusing. Try to avoid \it and \bf. The reason is that these switch all attributes of the font. Instead, use \emph, \textit and \textbf, or \em\itshape and \bfseries. For the most part, emphasis means italic in most contexts, except that it can be nested. Use it when you want to emphasize a word or two—but only sparingly, please.
  13. For multiline equations, use amsmath and align, split, etc. You can find a quick guide at https://www.sharelatex.com/learn/Aligning_equations_with_amsmath. For more complete docs, see http://mirrors.rit.edu/CTAN/macros/latex/required/amslatex/math/amsldoc.pdf. Do not use eqnarray.
  14. For your convenience and use, we preload dcolumn, array, etc. defined:
    LaTeX Macro Explanation
    \nn \nonumber : abbreviation
    \mc \multicolumn : abbreviation
    \sfix tell us something
    \panel used in floats, \panel{Useful Information}. Has an optional argument if you want to override the numbering as "A", "B", etc.
    \nl \tabularnewline : use instead of \\ in tabulars.
    \emailto \emailto{#1} makes the email address clickable and allows otherwise forbidden characters in the text ?? undefined
    \Description used in floats
    \Interpretation used in floats
    \Source used in floats
    \sigone, \sigfive, \sigten   Non-space consuming stars, to be put on numbers in tables
    \explainstars Put below a table to explain significant stars.
    We have preloaded for you at least the following: the right fonts, needspace, booktabs, enumitem, expl3, bm, as well as textcomp, eurosym, microtype, ifthen, lastpage, refcount, keyval, xr, footmisc, trimspaces, array, csquotes, graphicx, rotating, dcolumn (with 'd'), amsmath, amsthm, geometry, xcolor, biblatex, fancyhdr, and caption.
  15. If there is any chance whatsoever of confusion whether $g(x+2)$ means multiplication ($g\cdot(x+2)$) or a function invokation ($g(\,x+2\,)$), please use these two parenthesized typesetting conventions. If you do not like the \cdot because it is surrounded by too much space, try {\cdot} instead. Frankly, whenever you mean multiplication, use {\cdot}.

Tables, Floats, Tabulars

  1. Tables that continue for more than one page use \ContinuedFloat before the caption.
  2. To separate panels in tables, where each panel has its own tabular, use \panel{A}{header}
  3. Standard style is to add an explanation sentence.
  4. For horizontal space in a tabular (between columns), use 's' (for space). For more space, use more than one s. For decimals, you can use 'd'. You can also load the siunitx package and use its facilities to align numbers.
  5. Have mercy on us: we cannot reasonably figure out how to typeset your tables with 15 columns and 100 rows in 6-point font. Good tables should fit into one page in the same font as the text. Unless you have a compelling reason, the reader cannot digest more than 100 numbers in a table, anyway. Think about how to present your point(s): Can you break your table into two tables? Do you need all the information in the printed table, or can you provide one version for the journal and one extended version for the web for the connoisseurs who really need to see what you did.
  6. All exhibits should have both a "Description" and an "Interpretation" area. Use our macros for this.
  7. Figures must be in high-quality pdf format. We hate most Excel graphs. We can barely stand Mathematica graphs. Use a good typesetting program, like pgf/tikz (much better than latex picture), or R.
  8. If you use fixed-name variables (such as HML or CapEx), please use our "variable" macro: \vb{HML}. This also works in math. If it is not a reused name for a variable name, but you need non-math text in an equation, then use a \text macro.
  9. If you leave your tables at the end of the document, then please mark in the text for us where they should go with the \instblhere{ref:tbl1}{the caption of table one again}.
  10. Every regression table needs R2 and N. Preferably, it is also possible in the paper to infer the magnitude and sd of all variables used in the regressions.
  11. Use \addlinespace to leave a blank line between rows in tabulars, not a lot of &. Use \\[1pt] if you just want to adjust visual spacing.
  12. We want latex to be reasonably "factored" and similar. First, if applicable, please start the table with \smalltable. Second, set any \tabcolsep lengths. Third, start the tabular, usually with \begin{ctabular}...\end{ctabular} (which means centered tabular). Use \cincludegraphics for including graphics, which is just a centered \includegraphics.
  13. Use only one appendix. If you need more, use sections in your one appendix.

Bibliography Contents

  1. To cite an article in the text, use \textcite{mybibtexname}. If possible, use as mybibtexname the form author1-author2:year, such as fama-french:1992. Under no circumstances handformat references (such as "See Fama and French (1992)" or "Fama and French (\citeyear{fama-french:1992})" or "Fama and French, \cite{fama-french:1992}." We would prefer it if you ignored the printed output and just followed our latex instructions.
  2. To cite a page, use \textcite[232]{fama-french:1992}. To cite a figure, \textcite[Fig 1]{fama-french:1992}
  3. To add a prenote like "see" use \textcite[see][232]{fama-french:1992} or with an second empty optional argument if there is no postnote like a page number \textcite[see][]{fama-french:1992}
  4. Use equivalent entries as what you see in our existing bibliographies. Always spell out first names of authors (as they existed in the original article) and provide complete references. This includes the number of the journal.
  5. The most common entries are: @article, @book, and @techreport (alias: @workingpaper @wp).
  6. In your bibtex entry, this is correct but we do not like it: author = {Fama, E. and French, K.}. Instead, you must use the word "and" to disambiguate uniformly among authors. Here is how we like it:
    author = {Eugene F. Fama and Kenneth R. French}
    . For Jr., you can use either author = { Ingersoll, Jr., Jonathan E. } or author = { Jonathan E. {Ingersoll, Jr.} }
  7. Do not put complex latex macros into your .bib file. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

LaTeX Contents

  1. Do not use any internal absolute references in your document. Instead, always use \label and \ref.
  2. To hot-link to a URL, use \href{mailto:webmaster@google.com}{Web Master at Google}.
  3. Do not hand-create description environments. It exists for a reason. Do not make funny tables to mimick the logic in the text, or create your own funny lists.
  4. Never use \hrule in tables. Always use \toprule, \midrule, \bottomrule.
  5. Avoid tinkering with table counter and figure counter settings, unless you have to. If you miscount, we have a mess.
  6. I cannot imagine why you would ever have to use \rm, \it, or \bf in your article .tex source. If you want to get a variable in math mode, but it is roman, you should probably use the \text{} macro instead.


We expect you to provide the (basic) computer programs you have used, as well as a sample data set. The computer programs should make it possible to replicate your key results, not all results. (We do not encourage (or expect) you to offer support to everyone from the web who does not understand your computer programs. You are not obliged to help them further.) If the data is proprietary, please provide a random-number data set that makes it possible to run your programs. For purchased data (e.g., CRSP and Compustat), please provide at least a few sample observations (e.g., 5 stocks), so that readers can purchase the data and then replicate your and check their own calculations. Providing a few data points is not only permitted by copyright law, it is also not against commercial data vendor policies.