Manuscript guidelines

What do you need to know to prepare your manuscript efficiently, to produce the highest quality content possible, and to give your book the best chances for being discovered by readers?

Below you will find the most pertinent information on templates and guidelines, on book structure, and how to optimize your manuscript for search engines.

Templates and macros

To produce the best structured manuscript efficiently and in adherence with requirements, you can rely on manuscript preparation tools or follow Springer Nature’s guidelines. 

  • If you’re comfortable using temples, you can choose between Word and LaTeX templates to help with structuring and style formats. 
  • If you’d rather not use templates, just follow the relevant guide below to ensure your manuscript is precisely prepared.
  • See our key style points manuscript guide for additional advice on layout and formatting of your manuscript

Book structure

To guarantee a smooth publication process and a seamless transformation of your manuscript into the final layout and various electronic platforms, the manuscript needs to be structured as follows:

Front matter

Title page*

  • Dedication
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the book/conference

Table of contents*

  • About the author (for authored books)
  • About the editor/list of contributors
  • List of abbreviations
  • List of figures and/or tables

*The title page and table of contents must appear in the manuscript’s front matter, while all other sections listed above are optional.

You should note that the above order is not flexible. We have defined this order as our house style and optimized our publication process to follow it strictly

Title page

Please include all author/editor names, their affiliations and ORCID, the book title, and the subtitle. Ensure that the sequence of the author names is correct and the title of your book is final when you submit your manuscript. 

Once the manuscript has been delivered to Production, changes to title, subtitle, or authorship are no longer possible.


If you intend to include a foreword, please submit it with the manuscript.

  • A foreword is usually written by an authority in the subject and serves as a recommendation for the book
  • The name of the foreword’s contributor is always given at the end of the foreword; affiliations and titles are generally not included, but the date and place of writing may be.


The preface should be about the book and it should stimulate interest in the book. Why it is important, why it was written, who it is for.

  • The Preface should not be an introduction to the subject matter of the book. The Introduction does not belong in the front matter, but should appear as the first chapter.
  • A preface should not contain a reference list.
  • Acknowledgment of support or assistance in preparing the book can be included as the last paragraph(s) of the preface.
  • If the acknowledgement is longer than one page, start a separate page with the heading “Acknowledgements”.​​

Table of contents

  • Front matter material is not listed in the table of contents.
  • List all parts, chapters, and back matter material (e.g., an index) in their final sequence.
  • If your chapters are numbered, use Arabic numerals and number the chapters consecutively throughout the book (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.), i.e., do not start anew with each part. The introductory chapter must be listed as Chapter 1, if your chapters are numbered. Please do not use subchapters.
  • In authored books we present two heading levels under the main chapter titles. In edited books, we present the chapter titles and the chapter author names.
  • If there are parts, use Roman numerals for parts (Part I, Part II, etc.). Parts consist of a short title and can contain a short introductory text (optional). Please don’t use subparts.

List of abbreviations

  • A list of abbreviations and/or symbols is optional, but it may be very helpful if numerous abbreviations and special symbols are scattered throughout the text.

Text body/chapters

Chapters contain the actual content of the book, i.e., text, figures, tables, and references. 

Chapters can be grouped together in parts; subparts are not possible. Only one chapter (e.g. an introduction) may precede the first part and would be the first chapter.

  • Decide the numbering style for the chapters and apply this style consistently to all chapters: consecutively numbered (monographs or textbooks) or unnumbered (edited books).
  • If an introduction to the subject of the book (historical background, definitions, or methodology) is included, it should appear as the first chapter and thus be included in the chapter numbering. It can contain references, figures, and tables, just as any other chapter.

Chapter title and authors

  • For edited books, please include each chapter authors’ names (spelled out as they would be cited), affiliations, e-mail addresses and ORCID (if available) after the chapter title. 
  • Ensure that the sequence of the author names is correct, the corresponding author is highlighted, and the title of your book is final when you submit your manuscript. 
  • Please supply all emails, telephone numbers and address of each author and editor. Once the manuscript has been delivered to production, changes to title or authorship are no longer possible.


Chapter abstracts are strongly encouraged because they have been proven to significantly increase a book’s visibility. 

These will appear online at SpringerLink and other sites and will be available with unrestricted access to facilitate online searching (e.g., Google) and allow unregistered users to read the abstract as a teaser for the complete chapter.

  • Begin each chapter with an abstract that summarizes the content of the chapter in no more than 200 words.  
  • Please note that abstracts will not always appear in the print version of the book. For further details, please consult your editor.

If no abstract is submitted, we will use the first paragraph of the chapter instead.


  • ​Each keyword should not contain more than two compound words, and each keyword phrase should start with an uppercase letter.   
  • When selecting the keywords, think of them as terms that will help someone locate your chapter at the top of the search engine list using, for example, Google. 
  • Very broad terms (e.g. ‘Case study’ by itself) should be avoided as these will result in thousands of search results but will not result in finding your chapter.
  • When required we allow three to six keywords per chapter.

Headings and heading numbering

Heading levels should be clearly identified and each level should be uniquely and consistently formatted and/or numbered.

  • Use the decimal system of numbering if your headings are numbered.
  • Never skip a heading level. The only exception are run-in headings which can be used at any hierarchical level.

Terminology, units and abbreviations

  • Technical terms and abbreviations should be defined the first time they appear in the text.
  • Please always use internationally accepted signs and symbols for units (also called SI units).
  • Numerals should follow the British/American method of decimal points to indicate decimals and commas to separate thousands

Formal style and text formatting

Springer Nature follows certain layouts and standards with regard to the presentation of the content, and the copy editors make sure that the manuscript conforms to these styles.

  • When you receive the page proofs during the production of your book, please do not make changes that involve only matters of style.

Emphasis and special type

  • Italics should be used for emphasized words or phrases in running text, but do not format entire paragraphs in italics. 
  • Use italics for species and genus names, mathematical/physical variables, and prefixes in chemical compounds. 
  • Bold formatting should only be used for run-in headings and small capitals for indicating optical activity (D- and L-dopa). 
  • Sans serif (e.g., Arial) and nonproportional font (e.g., Courier) can be used to distinguish the literal text of computer programs from running text.


  • Take note not set entire pages as boxes, because this affects online readability. 
  • For additional didactic elements such as examples, questions, exercises, summaries, or key messages in textbooks and in professional books, please use a consistent style for each of these elements and submit a list of the styles used together with your manuscript. 
  • For LaTeX users please use the Springer Nature macro package to highlight these elements.

Equations and program code

  • In Word, use the Math function, MathType, or Microsoft Equation editor to create your equations. Please don’t include the equations as images.
  • In LaTeX, use the Math environment to create your equations.


  • Give each table a heading (caption). Add a reference to the table source at the end of the caption if the table was not created by yourself.
  • Number tables consecutively using the chapter number (e.g. ‘Do not write “the following table”, instead write “see table 1.1” or “as table 1.1 shows”) and ensure that all tables are cited in the text in sequential order. Do not write “the following table”.
  • Use the table function to create and format tables. Do not use the space bar or multiple tabs to separate columns.
  • Please do not use Excel to create tables as this can cause problems when converting your tables into the typesetting program and other formats.

Figures and illustrations


  • Number the figures using the chapter number (e.g. ‘Do not write “the following figure”, instead write “see figure 1.1” or “as table 1.1 shows”).
  • Ensure that all figures are cited in the text in sequential order. Do not write “the following figure”.

Figure captions

  • Give each figure a concise caption, describing accurately what the figure depicts. Include the captions at the end of the text file, not in the figure file.
  • Identify all elements found in the figure in the figure caption; and use boxes, circles, etc., as coordinate points in graphs instead of color lines.
  • If a figure is reproduced from a previous publication, include the source as the last item in the caption and ensure to deliver the corresponding permission forms from the rights holder.

Figure and illustration files

  • A figure is an object that is drawn or photographed; it does not consist solely of characters and thus cannot be keyed.
  • Do not submit tabular material as figures.
  • Graphics and diagrams should be saved as EPS file with the fonts embedded. MS Office files (Excel or PowerPoint) can be submitted in the original format (xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx). Scanned graphics in TIFF format should have a minimum resolution of 1200 dpi.
  • Photos or drawings with fine shading should be saved as TIFF with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi.
  • A combination of halftone and line art (e.g., photos containing line drawing or extensive lettering, color diagrams, etc.) should be saved as TIFF with a minimum resolution of 600 dpi.


Reference citations

Cite references in the text with author name/s and year of publication in parentheses (“Harvard system”)

  • One author: (Miller 1991) or Miller (1991)
  • Two authors: (Miller and Smith 1994) or Miller and Smith (1994)
  • Three authors or more: (Miller et al. 1995) or Miller et al. (1995)

If it is customary in your field, you can also cite with reference numbers in square brackets either sequential by citation or according to the sequence in an alphabetized list:
[3, 7, 12].

Reference list

  • Include a reference list at the end of each chapter so that readers of single chapters of the eBook can make full use of the citations. 
  • References at the end of the book cannot be linked to citations in the chapters. 
  • Please do not include reference lists at the end of a chapter section, at the end of a book part, in a preface or an appendix.
  • Include all works that are cited in the chapter and that have been published (including on the internet) or accepted for publication. Personal communications and unpublished works should only be mentioned in the text. Do not use footnotes as a substitute for a reference list.
  • Entries in the list must be listed alphabetically except in the numbered system of sequential citation. 

The rules for alphabetization are:

  1. First, all works by the author alone, ordered chronologically by year of publication
  2. Next, all works by the author with a coauthor, ordered alphabetically by coauthor
  3. Finally, all works by the author with several coauthors, ordered chronologically by year of publication
  4. For authors using EndNote software to create the reference list, Springer Nature provides output styles that support the formatting of in-text citations and reference lists.
  5. For authors using BiBTeX, the style files are included in Springer Nature's LaTeX package.

Reference styles

Springer Nature follows certain standards with regard to the presentation of the reference list. They are based on reference styles that were established for various disciplines in the past and have been adjusted to facilitate automated processing and citation linking. This allows us, for example, to easily cross link the cited references with the original publication. References will be revised in production in accordance with these house styles. 

Choose the appropriate style for your subject from the list below. Please note that the adapted and standardized forms are based on, but differ slightly from, certain recommended styles (e.g., APA, Chicago)

Springer Nature style

Discipline examples

Key style points: reference styles

Basic style
Based on Harvard style and
recommendations of the Council of
Biology Editors (CBE)

Medicine, Biomedicine, Life Sciences,
Chemistry, Geosciences, Computer
Science, Engineering, Law and Economics

Basic style

Vancouver style
Based on NLM guidelines Citing Medicine

Medicine, Biomedicine

Vancouver style

MathPhys style

Mathematics, Physics, Statistics

MathPhys style

Physics syle
Based on the reference list style of the
American Physical Society (APS)


Physics style

Social sciences/psychology

Adapted from the reference list style
that was established by the American
Psychological Association (APA)

Social Sciences, Psychology

SocPsych style

Humanities style
Based on the reference list style as
suggested by the Chicago Manual of
Style (15th ed.)

Humanities, Linguistics, Philosophy

Humanities style

  • Springer Nature follows certain standards with regard to the presentation of the reference list. They are based on reference styles that were established for various disciplines in the past and have been adjusted to facilitate automated processing and citation linking. This allows us to easily cross link the cited references with the original publication.
  • Always select one of the reference list styles that are supported by Springer Nature and suits your publication best or follow the instructions received from your responsible editor. There are, however, recommended styles depending on the discipline.

Back matter

After the last chapter, the back matter of the book can contain an appendix, a glossary or an index.

Do not include a reference list containing the cited literature in the back matter, as references are then not linked to citations in the chapters. Instead, please include reference lists at the end of each chapter. A list of further reading may be included in the back matter.


An appendix cannot include a reference list.

  • Include important original content in a chapter or a chapter appendix, not in the book appendix because any appendix in the back matter of a book will appear with unrestricted access in the eBook on SpringerLink.

Index (if applicable)

If an index is desired, please submit the entries with the manuscript.

  • Use the indexing function in Word or the index command in LaTeX to identify the index term as your write your text and indicate, on average, one or two index entry terms per manuscript page to be included in the index.
  • Information should be listed under the term that most readers will probably look at first. Use cross-references to list variations or written-out versions and abbreviations/acronyms.

Optimizing for Google

Contribute to your book's success, long before it's published. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about relevance. You can help Google and other search engines present your book to the right audience and give these readers what they are looking for.

By following our tips on how to optimize your manuscript for SEO – when thinking about your book’s title, the back cover description, and unique selling points – you can make sure that potential readers are able to find your finished book.