Troubleshooting: Abstract FAQ

I keep getting this error: "Parameter 2 of function RemoveChars which is now 0 must be a positive integer" What am I doing wrong?

There are two causes:

  1. You are probably using either TextEdit on the Mac or Wordpad on Windows to edit the RTF template. Those two applications will cause that error every time. Microsoft Word works the best. Open Office will also work (although you won't be able to use the Preview Abstract Layout with that).
  2. You somehow altered the start or ending title delimiter.

I got this error: "An error occurred while attempting to find the designated START delimiter ( -abstract- ) in the uploaded file. Please follow the directions below." What does this mean?

It is very important when you are pasting text into your abstract that you do not delete the start/end delimiters for the title and abstract. Make sure you only replace text where it says, "Replace this text with your title/abstract." Sometimes if you delete it and retype it in, it still doesn't work, so you should start over with a fresh, blank RTF template.

I uploaded an RTF template, and it previewed fine when I clicked on "Preview Abstract Layout", but when I clicked submit I got the message, "An error occurred while attempting to write your submission data to the database. The system administrator has been notified." What happened?

Either you altered the title delimiter in the RTF template or your title is way too long (usually from including all your authors in your title. Remember, only the title should be put in between the title delimiters--do not put in your author list here).

I tried submitting an abstract, but every time I click on the "Start Abstract Submission" link, I keep getting kicked back to the very beginning / I just get a blank page! What is going on?

Most likely you have your browser or firewall set to block cookies. Our system needs to keep track of sessions since we have multiple users submitting abstracts all at the same time.

I submitted an abstract to a meeting, and I see the abstract in the session listing in the online bulletin, but when I typed my name in to search for it in the Author Index, nothing shows up.

If this happens, please email us at Most likely the author index needs to be refreshed.

Under what reasons may my abstract be rejected?

APS reserves the right to reject or alter abstracts based on, but not limited to, the following criteria: 1) Abstracts do not comply with style guidelines (do not attempt to override the system defaults by introducing your own formatting in your abstract), including excessive length (the abstract body text is limited to approximately 1300 characters. 2) Abstracts contain inappropriate content. 3) Abstracts fall outside of the topical scope of the meeting

I clicked on Preview Abstract Layout but it is just blank. What is going on?

If you are using Open Office, the Preview Abstract Layout will not work. However, it will submit fine. You also might have LaTeX in the title or affiliation fields. For instance, if you put "Green_Solar Corp" as your affiliation. The underscore is used for subscripts in LaTeX, so if you want it to show as an underscore, you must escape it with a blackslash, like this: "Green\_Solar Corp."

My email is Why is it messed up in my abstract?

Our system sees the underscore as the LaTeX command for a subscript. But in this case, you can't fix it by escaping it with a backslash because our system will reject it as not being a valid email. This is a bug.

When I preview my abstract, my affiliation, which is Queen's College, shows up as Queen039;s College? How can I fix this?

Actually, you did nothing wrong (#039; is the HTML code for the apostrophe). This will display correctly in the posted PDFs in the online bulletin, but the Preview Abstract Layout shows the HTML code in the affiliation field. This is another visual bug.

I submitted an abstract using the RTF option, and now my abstract has all these $\pard\backslash\fs20$ things throughout. How can I fixed this?

Those are stray RTF commands leftover when your abstract was converted to LaTeX (our system stores everything as LaTeX). Sometimes this happens if you copy your abstract text from another document and paste it into the RTF template--you end up copying and pasting formatting from the original document. There is no need to do anything--we go through all the abstracts and remove any stray commands.

Why does my title show up again as a footnote in my abstract?!

Believe it or not, it's because you put it there. Many people who choose the RTF option will put their title again in the title acknowledgement field. Anything in that field will show up as a footnote.