February 2 2012

Watch out for tricky formatting requirements

by Barbie in Formatting

Every publisher or school has different formatting guidelines. Even if you’re submitting a typical Word document, you will need to adhere to specific margins, font sizes and types, and header/footer requirements, among other issues. It’s easy to make a mistake and overlook one of your client’s obscure formatting requirements. Even though requirements widely vary, here are a few issues that we often see writers overlook:

  • Page numbers: Make sure your page numbers adhere to the guidelines set forth by your client. Should they go on the bottom center of the page or top right? Does the title page include a page number? Does the frontmatter require Roman or Arabic numerals? Do your page numbers flow from chapter to chapter, rather than starting over at “1” in every chapter? Page numbers can be tricky to get right in Word, so check and double check them.
  • Location of figures and tables: If you have a lengthy table that spans more than one page, some guidelines want you to repeat the table header on the second page or include the table title followed by “continued.” Guidelines often also address where to place figures and tables relative to the text. Generally, you should place the figure or table as close as possible to the text that mentions it. Also, make sure that your table title or figure caption is on the same page as the table or figure.
  • Margins: Word has 1-inch margins as a default, but that is far from standard. In fact, there really isn’t a standard when it comes to margins. Often, the left margin is a little wider for printed materials to make room for binding. Some schools and publishers like a wider top margin. Make sure your margins follow the guidelines set forth by your client.

You don’t want to risk having your document rejected simply because you made some formatting errors. That’s why Carpenter Doc offers formatting services. We can format your document while we edit it, or if you don’t have time for a full edit, we can just focus on the formatting. Contact us today!