Consider the following bolded recommendation for arranging graphs and tables for an IEEE submission

Because IEEE will do the final formatting of your paper, you do not need to position figures and tables at the top and bottom of each column. In fact, all figures, figure captions, and tables can be at the end of the paper. Large figures and tables may span both columns. Place figure captions below the figures; place table titles above the tables. If your figure has two parts, include the labels “(a)” and “(b)” as part of the artwork. Please verify that the figures and tables you mention in the text actually exist. Please do not include captions as part of the figures. Do not put captions in “text boxes” linked to the figures. Do not put borders around the outside of your figures. Use the abbreviation “Fig.” even at the beginning of a sentence. Do not abbreviate “Table.” Tables are numbered with Roman numerals.

Till now, I use to think that it is the burden of the author to properly align figures and tables. Although the IEEE guidelines are not instructing to not take the burden, they are recommending the author to leave the burden.

With this context, I want to know the practice of taking or leaving the burden by the majority of authors. Do authors generally leave the burden to IEEE or arrange all of them by themselves?

  • 2
    A quick warning: The document you link to is explicitly for IEEE conferences, not for journal submissions, and it's from 2015. IEEE conference papers are nowadays normally not reformatted and instead checked automatically for whether they do not contain text on the margins and the like (in my experience).
    – DCTLib
    Nov 25, 2021 at 8:09

3 Answers 3


As Allure and Sursula's answers explain, the typesetters will take care anyway of floats' placement.

However, I usually try to have anyway a decent placement of figures and tables before submitting to facilitate the work of the reviewers: in my experience, given the same scientific content, a well-presented paper has more chances of being accepted. Moreover, I had sometimes received remarks where a reviewer asked to move a figure. I usually reply that typesetters will take care of figure placement, but with a minimum of work I try to have my figures and tables well-placed: after all, in the economy of a paper, 10 min spent in adjusting floats' placement is virtually nothing.

  • 2
    +1 Exactly, presentation matters a lot, for reviewers and also when (as is very common in many fields) uploading to a preprint server.
    – cheersmate
    Nov 25, 2021 at 13:35

Authors can arrange the tables and images, but they don't have to, because whatever they do will not help the typesetters and in fact the typesetters will largely ignore them anyway. It's like wondering if you should write in blue ink or black ink when the document is going to be scanned using a black & white scanner. If you really want to use blue ink, then by all means, but it doesn't really change anything for the scanner.

If you really want to arrange the tables and images yourself, then sure, but you would not be "taking the burden" - the amount of work they have to do remains the same.


In my experience with different publishers (not only IEEE), the tables and figures are often rearranged, repositioned or even reformatted after submission to fit in with the specific journals' style. This is done by the journal editors because, well, they know what an article at their journal should look like much better than you, the author. If all figures and tables are properly referenced in the text, placing them at convenient points in your article is not a big issue for the editors.

So I would not call placing tables and figures a "burden", rather part of the normal job of an editor.

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