How to use rsmf


You need to tell rsmf how you set up your document by invoking rsmf.setup. This can be done in two ways. Either, you give rsmf the \documentclass string used for setting up the document, as in

import rsmf
formatter = rsmf.setup(r"\documentclass[a4paper,12pt,noarxiv]{quantumarticle}")

The r in front of the string is necessary so that \d is not mistaken for an escape sequence. If you have your document stored locally, there is an even more convenient way: you can just supply rsmf with the path to your main tex file (the one containing the document setup) and it will find that out for itself:

formatter = rsmf.setup("example.tex")

This is especially cool because rsmf will automatically adjust the plots when the underlying document class is changed without any needs to change python code! This makes swapping journals a lot easier.


If the document class you’re preparing figures for is not supported by rsmf you can still use it to prepare your figures. In this case you will have to measure the column widths yourself. To do so, you have to insert the following command into your text


This will give you the width of a single-column figure. If your document class also supports two-column mode, you also need to extract the width of wide figures via


Both commands will output something along the lines of 246.0pt. As matplotlib expects measurements to be in inches, rsmf does too. You therefore have to multiply the measurement in points with 0.01389 to get the correct measurement in inches.

It is also important to see if your document class loads packages that change the rendering of fonts, e.g. \usepackage{times}. If this is the case, you have to provide them as a separate preamble that is then used in the PGF backend.

With these informations at hand, you can invoke rsmf’s CustomFormatter:

from rsmf import CustomFormatter

formatter = CustomFormatter(
    columnwidth=246 * 0.01389,
    wide_columnwidth=512 * 0.01389,


The setup routine will return a formatter. This formatter can then be used to create matplotlib figure objects by invoking the method formatter.figure. It has three arguments:

  • aspect_ratio (float, optional): the aspect ratio (width/height) of your plot. Defaults to the golden ratio.
  • width_ratio (float, optional): the width of your plot in multiples of \columnwidth. Defaults to 1.0.
  • wide (bool, optional): indicates if the figures spans two columns in twocolumn mode,
    i.e. if the figure* environment is used, has no effect in onecolumn mode . Defaults to False.

This is the place where you set the width of your plots, not in the LaTeX document. If you include the resulting figure with a different width, the font sizes will not match the surrounding document!

For example, a regular figure is created via

fig = formatter.figure(aspect_ratio=.5)

# ... some plotting ...

and included via


A wide figure that spans 80% of the page on the other hand is created by

fig = formatter.figure(width_ratio=.8, wide=True)

# ... some plotting ...

and included via the multi-column figure* environment:


Note that you should always save your figures in some sort of vectorized format, like pdf and that calling plt.tight_layout() before saving usually makes your plots nicer.


If you want more control about the creation of your figure, you can make use of formatter.columnwidth and formatter.wide_columnwidth to create them yourself.

Other features

You can access the underlying fontsizes via formatter.fontsizes. The nomenclature follows that of LaTeX itself, so we have


This is especially useful if you want to tweak titles, legends and annotations while still having proper (LaTeX) fontsizes.

Using rsmf with other frameworks

You can use rsmf together with your favorite plotting framework, for example seaborn. There is only one catch: if you use matplotlib styles or seaborn styles, you might overwrite the settings imposed by rsmf, especially regarding font-size. To this end, the formatters have a method formatter.set_default_fontsizes that only change the underlying fontsizes. An example use would be

fig = formatter.figure(wide=True)

# ... some plotting ...

Sometimes these styles also overwrite other things, like the font family (serif/sans-serif). There is no correction method for that yet.