Thesis Formatting for MES

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The following (and linked pages) are tips to help MES students build and format their thesis. These guidelines are based on the MES Thesis Handbook and suggestions from former students. This assumes Microsoft Word 2007 is being used, other versions may vary. If you have other solutions, even using different editors (such as open office), feel free to contribute!

Preformat your document before you start

Format a blank document with all the necessary components, sections, pagination, etc. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Don't copy and paste from another Word Document

Word transfers formatting from one document to another often. Copying from a preformatted document can clash with the formatting of your current document and screw up it's formatting. This is hard to fix, but you can prevent it by copying text into a text editor (notepad, textmate, etc.), to strip out the formatting. Copy it again from there, and paste it into your current document.

Excel data gotchas

Excel and Word play nicely together but beware when pasting excel spreadsheets and graphs into Word that you do it right. You can copy and paste directly from excel to word, and this will create a word table. Nice if you don't want it to look like excel. You can inset the worksheet as an object from file, and this can either paste it as an object into Word or it will let you link the spreadsheet into word which has good side and bad. The good side is that you can edit you excel spreadsheet and it will be reflected in your document. The bad side is that they are linked, and if you move or delete one of the files, the word document can get corrupted to the point of being A pain to recover. Bottom line, if you want to insert excel data, copy and paste it, or create an image first, this way you run less risk of corrupting your data.

Additional Help: word to excel]

Do tabs right

Although you can set tabs on the fly and to specific paragraphs, if you have sections which have consistent tab requirements, it pays to set these first before you start adding content. By using the format>tab feature at the beginning of each section, you can set appropriate (and consistent) tab stops for each section.

Use Reveal Formatting

Whenever you find yourself in a bind, format>reveal formatting will show you exactly where you are and what formatting is being applied to the page you're on. For additional information it's also helpful to go to view>thumbnails to see where you are in the document.

Associated Word pages you might find useful