IEEE Easy Style Guide: Getting 100% of your Technical Writing Right - Custom Scholars
Home » Blog » IEEE Easy Style Guide: Getting 100% of your Technical Writing Right

IEEE Easy Style Guide: Getting 100% of your Technical Writing Right

IEEE style for the technical disciplines. Photo by Sahand Babali on Unsplash

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers developed a formatting style for academic material. The association was formed in the 1960s and has since revised its formatting manual numerous times. The IEEE format is widely used in Computer Science and other technical disciplines. It was based off of the Chicago manual of style with a few tweaks and changes. Therefore, while it is not often used and hence can be difficult to apply it helps that it is based on a common style. We pride ourselves in helping our clients and friends navigate the trickiest parts of academic writing. IEEE paper formatting is one of those areas and thus this is a simplified and summarized version of the IEEE manual.

Formatting Text in IEEE


IEEE specifies how to design different level headings. Although, the specified designs do not apply to the appendix, references and acknowledgements. The heading for the appendix in the standard way without changing much. On the other hand, the reference and acknowledgement headings are formatted like first level headings but without the enumeration.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
IEEE Easy Style Guide: Getting 100% of your Technical Writing Right
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Just like other formatting styles for academic papers, IEEE also applies different levels of headings. The first level is characterized by centered, enumerated by Roman numerals, and followed by a period. The first letter is set to 10pt. font size, the rest should be 8pt., all caps. For example:


The second level is characterized by Flush left, enumerated by capital letters, followed by a period, title case, italics, and 10pt. font size. For example,

A. Formal Frameworks

Then there is a third level which is characterized by Indented, enumerated by Arabic numerals followed by a parenthesis, it runs into the text in its sections, upper and lower case, italic, and followed by a colon. All set to 10pt. font size, as is the whole text in the main body. For example,

1) Sample Design

Finally, there is a fourth level heading which is similar to the third level with the following exceptions: indented two ems, enumerated by lower case letters, and only requires capitalizing the first letter of the heading. For example,

a) Responses from male interviewees

Designing Publications in IEEE


Paper title – placed on the first page, centered at the top, and 24pt font size.

Byline – placed below the paper title after a line break, centered, 10pt font size. The byline has to include the following information (every point needs to be on a separate line):

Author’s name(s)

Author’s affiliation(s)

City & country location(s)

E-mail address (es).

Main body – all written in 10pt font size, the text should appear in two columns on the page. Columns on the last page have to be of the same length, which means the author may need to add a column break.

The paper should start with the abstract and index terms.

Depending on the subject and context, papers may include additional sections like:

    • Acknowledgments
    • Appendices
    • Note to Practitioners
    • Nomenclature

The main body of the paper can be divided into relevant sections and subsections. Each section and subsection should have a heading formatted according to the rules specified later in this guide.

All tables, equations, and figures have to be numbered in consecutive order and centered in the column.

IEEE papers should start with a drop cap two lines deep, followed by the next 8-12 characters or 1-2 words (depending on which is more appropriate) in all caps.

Points to Note about Writing in IEEE

  • An abstract is not exactly essential especially if you are writing a short paper but then IEEE requires it. An abstract should follow the Title Page of the document and appear in the text in boldface type. You should keep it simple and do not bother about citation in this part.
  • An index is like a list of descriptions. Index Terms should also appear in boldface type, in alphabetic order, and located within the Abstract as its final paragraphs. You should only define acronyms in this section if they have already been defined in the paper itself.
  • Technical papers will often include equations. When placing equations within the main body of the paper, one should number them in inconsequential order from the beginning of the work to its end.
  • Academic papers cannot be completed by only one writer. Therefore you can be sure that one paper will require input from numerous people. It is only courtesy to acknowledge all these people. The acknowledgement section is at the back after the appendices but before the references and should be in third person narrative. Names in this section should be in this format: Initial. Last Name.
  • IEEE citation format for figures and tables requires following numerical order. Citations of figures located within the paper should always be labeled by the abbreviation “Fig.” followed by the relevant figure number. Authors of papers should use this abbreviation even if it has to be put at the beginning of a sentence.

In-text Citation in IEEE

In-text citation is necessary as it helps the reader identify which parts of the paper are borrowed from other material and which parts are original. It is the first part of referencing in academic writing which ensures that due credit is given to people who helped create a paper.

IEEE style is a numbered referencing style that uses citation numbers in the text of the paper, provided in square brackets. A full corresponding reference is listed at the end of the paper, next to the respective citation number. The in-text citations numbers start at the number [1], and continue in the ascending order they appear throughout your writing. If you wish to refer to the same source several times, simply repeat the earlier citation number and then use the same number in all subsequent citations throughout the body of the paper.

When citing a source, it matters whether it is a direct quotation or a summarization of the author’s words. In the case of a summary, the example above of the number in box brackets applies. However, when it is a direct quote then there is need for more details in the citation. In that case, you should include the page number. For example:

According to Wilde [5, p. 56], a woman does not mention her real age.

If you need to cite multiple sources then you may just separate the numbers with commas. For example: [1], [2].

Unlike other styles, IEEE does not condone citing separate sources. You should therefore find the original quoted source and cite directly.

Listing Sources in IEEE

Before crafting your list of sources at the end of the paper, remember the following:

  • Authors are always referred to by their surname and initials. Suffixes such as “Jr.” or “III” are included, but separated by a comma – for example, R. M. Booker, Jr.
  • Any IEEE journals cited should be referred to by their official abbreviations.
  • For references with up to six authors, list all authors in the order they are presented in the publication’s byline. Use the format “Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, Initial 1. Initial 2. Last

    Reference list sample in IEEE

    Name, and Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name”.

  • For publications with seven or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.”
  • Titles of books, journals, and publications of similar size are set in title case.
  • Titles of articles, technical reports, and publications of similar size are set in sentence case.
  • If you are unsure whether to use sentence case or title case, err on the side of following the original capitalization.
  • Names of months are shortened to 3-4 letters each: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.
Source Design of Reference
Book Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of Published Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, Country: Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. 6, sec. 8, pp. 15-20.
E-Book Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of Published Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, State, Country:

Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. x, sec. x, pp. xxx–xxx. [Online]. Available: link

Translated book Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of Published Book, Initial. Last Name, Ed., xth ed. City of Publisher, State, Country: Abbrev. of Publisher (in Language), year, ch. 5, sec. 7, pp. 58-97.
Journal Initial 1. Initial2. Last Name, “Title of paper,” Abbrev. Name of Periodical, vol. 8, no. 9, pp. 5-84, Abbrev. month, year, doi:



Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, “Title of paper,” Abbrev. Name of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx–xxx, Abbrev. Month, year. Accessed: Month, Day, Year, doi. [Online]. Available: link

Website Initial. Last Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. link (retrieved Date Accessed).
Report Initial 1. Initial 2. Last Name, “Title of Report,” Institution, City, Sate, Country, Report number, Year.
YouTube Creator Name, Location (if available). Title of Video. (Creation Date). Accessed: mmdd, yyyy. [Online Video]. Available: link
Podcast Initial. Last Name, “Title of Episode”, Name of Podcast, Year. [Podcast]. Available: link. [Accessed: mm. dd, yyyy].
Newspaper Initial. Last Name, “Title of Article,” Name of Newspaper, p. 6, mm. dd, yyyy.
Patent Initial. Last Name, “Title of Patent”, Country Patent Number, mm dd, yyyy.


While the IEEE format of presenting academic papers is based on a more commonly used format it is still quite complex. We can tell you how to do it right and how to make it easy on you. But then, it may still be too hard to grasp or take too much time to apply everything just right. Contact us, we can help you.


Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
Live Chat+1(978) 822-0999EmailWhatsApp

Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code BEGOOD