Challenging life stages

Latest Issue: April 2014

How to format an article for AFP

Main text

Submit the main text of the article as a word document, double spaced throughout and include a title page, word count (excluding abstract, references and figures), text, a list of figure legends, a list of tables, and references. Submit the abstract as a separate word document. Use automatic page numbering but no footnotes, headers or footers. Do not include author details (including contact details) in the text or on the title page. Refer to drugs generically. Use acronyms and abbreviations sparingly and spell them out in full the first time they are mentioned. Indicate headings and subheadings, but avoid using all capitals in headings. Include a copy of written consent from any person who can be identified in the text or illustrations.

Tables, illustrations, figures and images 

Submit these as separate files, numbered and including a legend for each that is no more than 25 words. The preferred format for images is eps or jpeg, all at 300 dpi. Graphs must be supplied in their native form, eg. MicrosoftExcel. If native files cannot be supplied, please provide numeric data for graphs in case they need to be redrawn. A copy of written permission(s) (if required) must be provided.


AFP uses a modified Vancouver style for referencing. AFP variations to Vancouver style include:

  • For standard journals, AFP lists all authors (include all initials) when there are six or fewer; when seven or more, list the first three and add ‘et al’. The title of the paper should be given in full and the title of the journal abbreviated according to Index Medicus (if not listed by Index Medicus spell out in full). Include the year; the volume number and the first and last page numbers of the article, eg.

    1.  Paige G, Cooke MA, Fielding AJ, et al. Childhood development: the role of the general practitioner. Arch Pediatr 2005;12:863–5.

  • For websites, AFPlists the author, the title of the site, where it is available and the URL, with the date accessed in square brackets, eg.

    1.  Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Hepatitis C in Australia. Available at [Accessed 10 June 2008].

Further information about the Vancouver style of referencing is available at References must be limited to the work cited in the paper and should not be a bibliography of the subject. They should be numbered consecutively in the order in which they are first mentioned in the text. Identify references in the text and captions by Arabic numerals. Personal communications and unpublished material are NOT acceptable for references.

Books and articles

  • Albert T. Winning the publications game (3rd edn). How to write a scientific paper without neglecting your patients. Oxford: Radclyffe, 2009
  • Taylor R. Clinician’s guide to medical writing. New York: Springer, 2004
  • Sterk PJ, Rabe KF. The joy of writing a paper. Breathe 2008;4:224–32. Available at
  • Albert E, Hansen E, Cook C. Grassroots research: How to have a stab at your first project and succeed. Australian Family Physician 2005;32:564–7.