I've wasted about an hour trying to figure out how I'm supposed to categorise an ACM article using the new 2012 taxonomy here, and how I'm supposed to represent those categories in my article.

On the plus side, the 2012 taxonomy has some perfectly apt categories for my paper (unlike the previous 1998 version).

On the minus side, the instructions are abysmal with respect to how it should be used, it seems to be completely incompatible with the standard TeX macros provided with standard sig-* templates, and not only do the TeX macros provided by this interactive system not work (\begin{CCSXML} and \ccsdesc), they don't even seem to even exist (at least Google turns up little if anything).

Is anyone actually using this new 2012 taxonomy and if so, is there any good guide on how to use it with a standard LaTeX sig-* template?

(Otherwise I think I'll just go back to the 1998 version ... as weird and archaic and seemingly useless as it is, at least it's a straightforward way to fill in those pointlessly mandatory category fields. Grrr.)

  • 7
    +1 Because I also wasted an hour on this a month ago. I ended up using the old taxonomy, though the new one was more appropriate :( Hopefully someone will know the answer!
    – cabad
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 16:43
  • 1
    how I'm supposed to categorise an ACM article using the new 2012 taxonomy — I don't think you are.
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 23:37
  • @JeffE, I'm not sure I follow. From the homepage: "It replaces the traditional 1998 version of the ACM Computing Classification System (CCS), which has served as the de facto standard classification system for the computing field. [...] ACM will a provide [sic.] tools to facilitate the application of 2012 CCS categories to forthcoming papers and a process to ensure that the CCS stays current and relevant."
    – badroit
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 14:19
  • @cabad, good to know I'm not the only one at least. I thought that I was doing something stupid or missing something obvious since presumably the ACM would have clear guidelines but it seems to be a non-trivial question as to what this 2012 taxonomy is for and how to use it. :)
    – badroit
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 14:21
  • 3
    +1 to this. I can't believe this is still an outstanding issue, nearly 2 years later. By the time they start using the taxonomy, it might be as out of date as the 1998 one! ;)
    – Namey
    Commented Sep 6, 2014 at 23:49

3 Answers 3


If you're using sig-alternate.cls, this sample TeX file seems to have been silently updated in May 2015 to give an example of how to do this. Here's a precis:

  1. Download sig-alternate-05-2015.cls into your local TeX tree (or temporarily into the same directory as your project)
  2. Edit the first line of your LaTeX source to use it:

  3. Further down your LaTeX source, within the document enviroment (usually after your abstract), paste in the code that the 2012 ACM Computing Classification System gives you once you have chosen your categories, for example:

    \ccsdesc{Computer systems organization~Robotics}
    \ccsdesc[100]{Networks~Network reliability}
  4. Follow this with the line to print out your classification section:

  5. And finally, add your own keywords:

    \keywords{ACM proceedings; \LaTeX; text tagging}

I say this was added 'silently', because internally, the sample.tex file still says it was last updated April 2013, and it says This file should be compiled with V2.5 of "sig-alternate.cls" May 2012, whereas it actually compiles with "sig-alternate-05-2015.cls", which claims internally to have last been updated in Aug 2013, despite the date in its filename! No wonder everyone is confused.

Thanks to ayman's answer above, which has become broken, but pointed me in the right direction. (Could someone edit the broken link in ayman's answer to the sig-alternative.cls file from December 2014? --- I'm a newbie caught in the reputation catch-22 where I can't comment answers).

  • Thanks Bob. I guess this answer might change itself in future (esp. with all these updates and explicit dating of files), but I will accept since it's just a question of finding the most recent template from acm.org/publications/article-templates ... the rest of the procedure looks fixed. (Finally we have answers to this question!)
    – badroit
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 18:21
  • I've tried to follow these points, but I get the following error: LaTeX Error: File acmcopyright.sty not found. It's a pity that our time is wasted just like that by ACM's sloppiness.
    – pms
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 19:20
  • 1
    @pms, you just need to add the acmcopyright.sty file to the directory that your paper is in. A recent version of this file seems to be here: acm.org/publications/article-templates/acmcopyright.sty/view.
    – badroit
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 20:10
  • Note that to get the copyright boilerplate that appeared with the previous style file on the first page of your document by default, you must also add a setcopyright command before the start of your document, e.g. \setcopyright{acmlicensed}. Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 15:49
  • 1
    Is it usable with sigplanconf.cls?
    – khatchad
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 0:05

So it seems some rather recent documentation and code has been posted to the ACM site.


Has all the needed code in the cls file to generate the CCS macros (so actually use that more recent sig-alternative.cls file from December 2014). And the document:


Discusses how to include it in LaTeX and in Word. The SIGCHI template is being updated soon to reflect these changes as well.

For LaTeX, this document omits the code that is needed to generate visible output--it is \printccsdesc.

  • I get 404 not found for the HOWTO PDF.
    – Linas
    Commented Feb 25 at 0:10
  • Thanks, I updated the URL.
    – ayman
    Commented Jun 4 at 18:55

The only piece of official information I've been able to find regarding the status of the taxonomy is this notice at the bottom of ACM Computing Classification System toc [Retrieved 2014-07-24]:

Tools to help authors apply the 2012 CCS categories and concepts are being built. A new set of instructions will be issued in early 2013. Until then, authors please continue using the 1998 categories, following these instructions on how to classify your work: How to Classify Works Using ACM's Computing Classification System.

So it seems that the tools mentioned were long overdue already a little over a half a year ago when this question was asked. Not much of an answer, but as at the time writing Google turns up this question as one of the top results when searching for the 2012 CCS taxonomy, so I'm documenting what I was able to find out here.

The ACM Digital Library has shows both the 1998 and 2012 terms on the Citation Pages of all indexed articles, but this seems to be the result of the old scheme being mapped to the new one. I haven't seen any of the additional categories in the new taxonomy showing up.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .