Tips for Using Word to Write Your ETDR

Microsoft Word is a powerful word processor, but it can be frustrating to use, particularly for long documents. To save time and frustration while writing your ETDR, follow the guidelines below.

Use the template
You're not required to use the template, but it has some great features:
  • automatically generates the table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables
  • automatically numbers figures and tables
  • contains all sections and the page numbering scheme required by the Graduate School

The template uses the Styles feature in Word, and it's easy to modify Styles if you want a different look for your ETDR.
Work with a single file
The automatic features in the template work only if your entire document is contained in one file.
Use Tables to present data
Don't try to format data by using the space bar and tab key. Instead, insert a table. Look in the Word help files for information on how to create and format tables.
Don't use TIFF images
If you're inserting images in your Word document, don't use images in the .tiff or tif. format. These files are extremely large and will make your Word document slow to load and respond. Instead, use .jpeg or .png format for photographs and .gif or .png format for simple graphics.
Don't include links to web sites
Your ETDR will be available online for perpetuity, but web sites you link to may not be. List web sites in your references or bibliography, but avoid placing links in the text of your paper.
.doc or .docx?
If you're using Word 2007 or Word for Mac 2008, the default format for saving files is .docx. Files in this format cannot be opened in earlier versions of Word without a special software plug-in. If you plan to share your file with your major professor or committee members, use Save As to save the file as a Word 97-2003 document (.doc). This will ensure the file can be opened with any Word version.
Consult with your major professor
Some departments have preferences for formatting beyond the Graduate School requirements. Check with your major professor to determine the preferred way to handle these formatting issues:

Formatting Element
Margins Top, right and bottom margin must be 1”. Left margin can be 1” or 1.5”
Font Times New Roman is most common
Font size 10 or 12 pt.
Line spacing Double or 1.5
Figure/Table caption location Above or below the figure or table
Figure/Table caption numbering Include chapter number?
Page number location Centered or right justified
Chapter headings and subheadings Chapter headings must be numbered. Formatting of headings and subheadings is open, but needs to be consistent throughout your paper

Deciding on these questions early in your writing will make formatting your Word document much easier!
Use good computing practices
Keep backup copies of your ETDR. Install and use antivirus software.
Check your flashdrive
Be sure to check your flashdrive for viruses, too.
Contact the IT Help Desk
If you have questions about any aspect of formatting your ETDR, or if you want to review the entire process before you get started, contact the IT Service Desk (Submit a Ticket or Start a Live Chat) to schedule an appointment with an ETDR consultant.