How to save hours of frustration!

Structural requirements

A thesis has to be laid out properly. You will be given a style sheet by your supervisor as to how that department wants the layout. There are always different preferences. Do they want footnotes or endnotes? What style do you have to use for citations and the bibliography – Harvard or APA? What kind of numbering style must be followed?

Most theses have this layout:

Title page No headers or footers or at least different from the rest of the thesis
Prelims (preliminary pages before the first chapter) Roman numerals for page numbering
Table of Contents Set out properly 
Table of Figures Tables, illustrations, charts etc used throughout the document

Chapter headings and numbering

Different header and footer for each chapter

Tables, Diagrams, Charts, illustrations Each one must have a caption
Footnotes/Endnotes Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page; Endnotes appear at the end of the chapter
Citations Sources have to be acknowledged throughout the thesis
Bibliography An extensive bibliography of sources consulted throughout the work at the back of the thesis

 What do you need to know to produce this?

Styles to create a consistent appearance throughout the document.

Style Gallery 

Heading styles so that you can automatically create a Table of Contents. You never want to manually set up a table of contents. Life’s too short ……

Table of Contents

Section breaks. You have to divide the document into sections so that you can have different headers and footers and/or layout between the different parts of the document. That’s how people get different numbering on their pages. 

Tip: It is easier and less confusing to divide your document into sections as you go along than to come back afterwards and start adding section breaks.


Section Breaks

Captions. When you use captions they automatically re-number as you edit them. By using the captions feature you can get Microsoft Word to automatically produce a Table of Figures after your table of contents.


Citations/Bibliography. In later versions of Microsoft Word this can be automatically generated.

Citations and Bibliography

Consider taking our Microsoft Word Intermediate and Advanced courses to get you up to speed. We also do one-on-one training/consulting for people struggling with the formatting of their thesis. But remember it is easier to start out correctly than to try and fix it afterwards. Contact us!

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