How To Write A Paper In IEEE Format?Well Explained With IEEE Citation Examples

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The IEEE format is a widely acknowledged style for writing academic pieces related to computer science, information technology, and other disciplines. If you are a student majoring in any of these, you will come across this format often. Furthermore, there’s a high possibility that you’ll have to submit your paper in this format.

While it is common knowledge that computer science papers use this style, not everyone knows how to use it. If you are one of them, pay attention to this article as we discuss how to write a paper in this format so that you’ll be able to use this style without any confusion. 

What Is IEEE In Simple Words?

IEEE, pronounced as Eye-triple-E, stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This association was established in 1963 based on the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. It is touted to be the world’s largest organization of technical professionals, especially in electric engineering and other associated disciplines such as computer science. 

According to the official website, “IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.” The IEEE reference style is developed based on the Chicago Manual of Style and is used in writing, editing, citing, and formatting research papers. This format is mainly used by researchers and students in technical fields of study (Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, etc.).

Importance Of IEEE Citations

Citations are an essential part of academic work. Although citing is time-consuming and complex, one must not underestimate its importance. Here are some factors that explain the significance of IEEE citations:

  • Offers acknowledgment: One of the significant reasons to use citations is to offer credit. Giving credit in the form of citations is nothing but acknowledging the effort and hard work that the person has put into the work. And not giving credit can lead to issues like plagiarism.
  • Strengthens academic integrity: Lack of citations in research papers can lead to plagiarism and discredit the paper. This also results in the misinterpretation of the work. Overall, both these issues can award you a low grade. 

Furthermore, IEEE depicts plagiarism as utilizing another’s ideas, opinions, research findings, or words without attribution to the actual author and source. In short, plagiarism is a serious violation of professional ethics, and in most cases, it has severe, ethical, and legal consequences.

  • Provides credibility: As established in the earlier points, including citations is strengthens your academic integrity. This means that citations add credibility to your work. Moreover, citations compliment your work or offer a fresh perspective to your arguments. In short, citations make your paper reliable and cement your place as an authority.
  • Helps in further research: Ultimately, citations assist the researchers in easily locating the relevant information and also help you in further study.

Standard IEEE Format

The standard format or template of IEEE paper consists of the following sections:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract – should be one paragraph long (preferably between 150 to 250 words)
  3. Index Terms
  4. Nomenclature (optional)
  5. Introduction
  6. Body of Article
  7. Conclusion
  8. Appendix(es)
  9. Acknowledgment(s)
  10. References
  11. Photos and Biographies

Title page: The font size of the title must be 24 and it should be placed in the top center of the first page. This page must include the article’s title, byline, membership, and first footnote.

Byline: The font size of the byline must be 10, and it must be placed below the title after the line break. It must consist of the following details in a separate line:

  • Author’s name(s)
  • Author’s affiliation(s)
  • City & country location(s)
  • E-mail address(es)

Main body: The content in this section should be displayed in two columns, and the font size must be set to 10. Furthermore, the columns on the last page should be of equal length, which means you require a column break. 

Abstract & Index terms: The paper must begin with the abstract and index before the main body section. 

Apart from this, the paper may comprise the following sections (depending on context/ subject):

  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendices
  • Note to Practitioners
  • Nomenclature

Note: 1) IEEE papers must begin with a two-line drop cap, followed by the next 8-12 characters or 1-2 words (whichever is more appropriate) in all caps.

2) The paper must be divided into sections and subsections with proper formatting.

3) All tables and figures must be numbered consecutively in the center of the column.  

These are some basic formatting guidelines for an IEEE paper. 

Other Important Sections


An IEEE abstract is a concise summary of the paper that is just a paragraph long. It must be approximately 200 words (give or take 50 words). Please note that the abstract should not be more than 250 words and lesser than 150 words. It should be brief, accurate, and must contain three to four key phrases to grab the reader’s attention. 

Overall, the abstract must represent the whole paper at a micro level and give an idea to the reader about what the paper is about. Format the abstract according to the IEEE guidelines. Furthermore, do not include footnotes, equations, graphs, tables, figures, abbreviations, and references here. 


Abstract – Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Adipiscing enim eu turpis egestas pretium aenean. Urna duis convallis convallis tellus id interdum velit. Praesent semper feugiat nibh sed pulvinar proin gravida hendrerit lectus. Eu non diam phasellus vestibulum. Integer feugiat scelerisque varius morbi. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse.

Index Terms:

The index terms must be included after the abstract in a separate paragraph. These terms are very similar to keywords and are included by the writer to assist journals, editors, and readers in categorizing, archiving, or locating the paper. Furthermore, the index terms must be included in alphabetical order, with the first capitalized and the rest lowercase, except if they contain acronyms or other components that require capitalization.

Here’s an example of how to format a list of index terms:

Index Terms – Aerospace engineering, biometrics, CMOS procedure, damascene integration, evolutionary computation, fuzzy logic.

Various Heading style Formats

IEEE prescribes using distinct heading styles to differentiate the title and various other levels of heading in your paper.

Primary heading – These are enumerated with Roman numerals followed by a period. This heading is centered above the text and set in small caps.

Example: I. Primary Heading

Secondary headings – These are enumerated with capital letters followed by a period. They are unindented, left-aligned, set in italics, and in title case. Moreover, they are separated from the text by a line break.

Example: A. Secondary Heading

Tertiary headings – These are enumerated with Arabic numerals followed by a close parenthesis. They are set in italics and title case, left-aligned, indented one em, and separated from the text by a colon. Moreover, there is no line break between the heading and the text. 

Example: 1) Tertiary Heading:

Quaternary headings – These are enumerated by lowercase letters followed by a close parenthesis, set in italics and sentence case, left-aligned, indented with two ems, and separated from the text by a colon. Additionally, there is also no line break here.

Example: a) Quaternary heading:

Section heading enumeration is preferable but not required; the writer may use their preference. However, the format chosen should be followed consistently throughout the paper.

Special Heading Formats

In addition to section headings, there are Appendix, Reference, and Acknowledgement headings, each of which is formatted differently:

Appendix Headings: These headings must be organized separately. They are formatted in the same way as primary headings if there is just one appendix (it is not named or numbered, but is just labeled as Appendix. 

However, if there are multiple appendices, they must be titled and numbered consecutively. But, just keep in mind that the numbering of the appendix headings is different from that of primary headings. Appendix headings may be enumerated using letters or Roman numerals (ex: Appendix A or Appendix I), but a Roman numeral must not precede them. 

Note To Practitioners: This comes below the abstract (if included). The goal of the Note is to illustrate the practical applications of your work without using jargon and without reiterating any of the information from the abstract. 

This is done so that engineers without strong knowledge in this field working on these practical problems will be able to understand how your work applies to theirs.

Furthermore, “Note to Practitioners” can be more than one paragraph long, and formatted similarly to the abstract.

Example: Note to Practitioners – Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Enim sit amet venenatis urna cursus eget nunc scelerisque. Feugiat vivamus at augue eget arcu dictum. Lorem donec massa sapien faucibus et molestie. Pellentesque nec nam aliquam sem.

Vel quam elementum pulvinar etiam non quam lacus suspendisse. Velit scelerisque in dictum non consectetur a. Phasellus vestibulum lorem sed risus ultricies tristique nulla. Gravida neque convallis a cras semper auctor. At elementum eu facilisis sed odio morbi quis commodo.

Reference and Acknowledgement headings: Must be formatted in the same way as primary headings. However, these must never be labeled or enumerated.

Other Sections Of The Paper

Text Equations IEEE format

When arranging equations in the main body of the paper, they should be numbered in random order from the beginning to the end. Moreover, the writer can employ any numbering system. For instance, (1.1), (1.2.1), is permitted (A1).


The Acknowledgement section must always come last, after any Appendix(es), and before the References section and must be written in the third person.

If you want to cite names in the Acknowledgement section, avoid using full names and honorifics such as Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms. Instead, only include first initials followed by a surname. You can still use titles like Prof. and Dr., but only in the singular form, next to each name separately.

Include information about any financial support in the first paragraph of the first footnote rather than the Acknowledgement section.


All references in IEEE papers should be numbered, with a separate entry for each number. Moreover, using the same reference number for multiple IEEE citations is not permitted.

Text Citation In Figures And Tables

The IEEE citation format for figures and tables requires the numerical order listed below. Citations of figures within the paper should always include the abbreviation “Fig.” followed by the figure number. Even if it has to be at the beginning of a sentence, authors of papers should use this abbreviation.


Biographies are typically divided into three paragraphs:

1st Paragraph: Must include author’s full name and their IEEE membership history. Furthermore, you can also add the author’s birth location details (if available). Next comes the educational details which must be written in lowercase letters.

Note: Add the word “degree” after a specific degree title and mention in how many years the degree was earned. Example: B.A., A.B., B.Sc. (Hons.), Dipl.Ing., Dr. Eng., B.S., M.Eng., M.S.(tech.).

2nd Paragraph: You add the author’s professional details and military experience (if any). The job titles must be in caps. Also, ensure to specify the location of the author’s current job (not required for previous jobs). The author’s affiliations with non-IEEE journals along with current and previous fields of interest, should be listed after experience.

Note: Avoid repeating the name of the author in the paragraph. Instead, use “he” or “she.” 

3rd paragraph: Should begin with the author’s title and surname (e.g., Dr. John, Mr. Black, Prof. Jack, etc.). The author’s memberships in professional societies (except IEEE) and status as a Professional Engineer should then be listed (if available). Next, the author’s awards, publications, and work for IEEE committees should be listed at the end of the paragraph. If the author’s biography is unavailable, a squib must be used.

Example: Frank J. Author (S’xx—M’xx), photograph and biography not available at the time of publication.

How To Cite References or Sources?

As previously stated, each reference has an IEEE citation within the main body of the essay or research paper. When a writer includes a citation, they should include a number within square brackets. Later, each citation should be assigned a complete reference on the References page. Relevant citations within the text and on the references page should be numbered to find the complete reference. The references page should be its own page in the paper.

The elements of an IEEE format reference are:

  • A corresponding number to the in-text citation
  • Author’s surname and initials
  • The full title of the work
  • Place of publication
  • Publication date
  • Minor information like page number, issue, or volume (if available)
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Digital Documents


[corresponding number] Author. (year, month, and day of publication). Book title. (edition). [Type of medium]. Vol. (issue). Available: http:// website URL [date accessed].


[6] S. Robert. (1989, June 10). Engineering. (1st edition). [Online]. 28(6). Available: http:// website URL [April 25, 2002].

IEEE Website Citation

[corresponding number] Website. “Title.” Available: complete URL, date updated, [Accessed: date].


[5] “Social Networking Reaches Worldwide.” Available: http:// website URL, Jan. 28, 2015. [Accessed: June.13, 2015].


[corresponding number] Author’s Initial. Author’s Surname, “Title,” Publication Title, Year Published. [Online]. Available: http:// website URL. [Accessed: date].


[8] R. Williams. “Leadership”, Sir Henry Murdoch Lecture, 2013. [Podcast]. Available: http:// website URL. [Accessed: Aug. 10, 2014].

Print References

Book: Single Author [corresponding number] Author. Book title. Location: Publishing company, year, pp.


[1] W.-L. Chan. Linear Networks. Sigmond, CA: Wadsworth, 1998, pp. 133-145.

Book: Two or More Authors

[corresponding number] Author, Author, and Author. Book title. Location: Publishing company, year, pp.


[2] U. M. Gilbert, Jr., S. K. Milton, and J. Fedrick. Business Information Technology. Cincinnati: South-Western/Thomson Learning, 2008, pp. 88-108.

Book: No Author

[corresponding number] Book title. Location: Publishing company, year, pp.


[3] The Oxford Handbook, 6th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp.15-25.

Article In A Journal

[corresponding number] Author. “Article title”. Journal title, vol., pp, date.


[4] G. Peter. “Infrared Community”. The Journal of Infrared Design, vol. 36, pp. 86-129, Jan. 1999.

Newspaper Article

[corresponding number] Author. “Article title”. Newspaper title, pp, date.


[5] P. Peterson, “Green groups fight to overturn gas strategy”, The American, p. 5, Sept. 9, 2011.

Note: If you can’t find certain information about the source, exclude it.


Writing an IEEE paper can be challenging, however, once the formatting guidelines are known it can be easy and straightforward. One may follow the guidelines given here to write an IEEE paper and format it as per the guidelines. 

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