Documentation Status Project License Open Issues PDF Latest

Downloading and Creating your own Paper

Author: Victor Calderon (

Description: An easy, reasonably standardized, but flexible template for creating paper for the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical society

Requirements to use cookiecutter templates

The minimum rquirements for creating cookiecutter templates are:

  • Python 2.7 or 3.5
  • Cookiecutter Python package >= 1.4.0: This can be installed with pip or conda depending on how you manage your Python packages.

You can install it by typing this on the terminal

pip install cookiecutter

or via Anaconda:

conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda install cookiecutter

Now you can use cookiecutter to create new templates for projects and papers!

Creating a new Paper

After having done the steps in Requirements to use cookiecutter templates, you can start creating the skeleton for the new MNRAS paper.

To start a new paper, run:


This will prompt you to answer a few questions like:

Next, it will prompt you for some answers. The different prompts are:

Question Description

Author’s first name. author_first_name will be used for the title of the paper


  • Adam
  • Rose

Author’s last name. last_name will be used for the title of the paper


  • Calderon
  • Piscionere

Author’s first name. author_name will be used for the title of the paper


  • Adam Sanchez
  • Rose Roserberg

Author’s first name. author_email will be used for the title of the paper



Name of the department. Should not have ‘_’ (underscores) symbols


  • Vanderbilt University
  • Some other University

Title of the thesis. Should not have ‘_’ symbols in it.


  • Understanding Exoplanets and Other Sources
  • The Clustering of Galaxies on the Smallest Scales Across Cosmic Time

Year of the publication. Must be numeric.


  • 2018
  • 2017

Name of the directory/repository, paper will be saved. This name is selected by default, but can be changed. This field should not contain spaces


  • Calderon_Victor_Astro_PhD_Thesis
  • Szewciw_Adam_Astro_PhD_Thesis

Author’s Github username. This will be use to link to the paper to the Github repository.


  • username
  • username2018

Name of the project on Github


  • Awesome_Paper_username_2018
  • Another_awesome_paper

Type of License for the paper. Without this, one cannot use any of.


  • MIT
  • BSD 3-Clause
  • GNU GPL v3+
  • Apache Software Licence 2.0
  • BSD 2-Clause*

Using the Template

Now that one has answered the questions from Creating a new Paper, you just need to fill in the documents in the Section_files directory according to your project’s needs.

The structure of the finalized project can be found in the Project Structure section.

Uploading your Project to Overleaf

Once you have completed setting up your paper, and are ready to start the writing process, you can upload your paper to Overleaf.

Overleaf, as explained on their website, is:

Overleaf is a free service that lets you create, edit and share your scientific ideas easily online using LaTeX, a comprehensive and powerful tool for scientific writing.

—Overleaf Team

For a more in-depth tutorial on how to use Overleaf, you can visit Overleaf Tutorial and watch the attached video.

Steps to follow to upload your project to Overleaf

In order to upload your project to Overleaf, you need to follow the following steps:

  • Compress the output of cookiecutter template to a zip file.
  • Create an account on Overleaf. Go to Overleaf Sign-up
  • Create a new, empty “New Project”
  • Click on “Upload Project”
  • Drag and drop or click on Select a .zip file
  • Connect your Mendeley account. Open one if you don’t have one. This will link your bibliography with Overleaf. See more here
  • Remove the current ‘Mendeley.bib’ file from the project tree
  • Click on “New file” > “From Mendeley” and name it Mendeley.bib and put it in the root directory of the project.

For a brief video on how to do this, see the following video:

And now you have a new, working MNRAS paper

You can start writing now!

Project based on the modified version of the MNRAS LaTeX Template.