Thesis Formatting for MES

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The following (and associated pages) have been compiled as technical resources that might be helpful for MES students in building and formatting their thesis. These guidelines are based on the MES Thesis Handbook and suggestions from former students. This assumes Microsoft Word 2003 is being used, other versions may vary. For those who wish to compose alternative solutions or solutions using different editors (such as open office), please feel free to contribute!

Quick Tips

Preformat your document before you start

The guidelines for formatting your document are laid out. Take the time before you begin assembling your thesis to format a blank document with all the necessary components, sections, pagination, etc.. Life will be easier if you set it up right ahead of time.

Don't copy and paste from another Word Document

Word is notorious for transferring formatting from one document to another. If you copy from a document that has pre-formatted components (margins, spacing, fonts, etc..) this will then crash into the formatting of your current doc creating a mess of formatting junk which can often be extremely hard to recover. Best rule of thumb; Copy text into a text editor (notepad, textmate, etc..) that will strip out the formatting and then paste this straight text into your 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