Formatting: An unexpected challenge of thesis-writing!
As spring approaches, so do some important deadlines for graduate students. For many of us, we’ll be submitting an initial draft of our thesis in April, which is (eep) less than a month away!
As I putter on, editing my manuscripts, polishing my introduction and conclusion, I can’t help but notice something I truly didn’t expect. Who would have thought formatting could take up so much time?
Maybe you Word-savvy readers would scoff at the reality I’m facing. What’s odd is that I always found myself to be pretty competent at copy editing and formatting. Maybe it’s the size of the thesis that is making things a little complicated. For one, my citation management software, EndNote, is acting a little funny; like it’s tuckered out and can’t handle more than 70 citations at once. Or, maybe it’s that my table of contents is three pages long and his having a little meltie.
All I know is this should be a cautionary tale for those of us thesis-writers who wait to the last minute to submit and forget to budget time for unexpected challenges such as formatting issues.
Luckily, McGill students do not have to use form-like style sheets anymore for the electronic submission of our theses. This should make our lives easier. I tried using a style sheet for a little while a few weeks ago and gave up when a figure suddenly showed up in my table of contents.
After several Youtube views and forum searches, here are my top three tips for formatting issues I ran into.
The table of contents
Have something showing up in your table of contents that doesn’t belong there?
- Select the section in the text that is showing up in your table of contents
- References > (left hand side) Add text > “do not show in table of contents” (thank you, captain obvious)
Your EndNote bibliography is centered and you can’t figure out why?
- Select your bibliography
- Right click > Styles > Apply Styles > Endnote Bibilography > Modify
- Click “left” alignment > Apply > OK
Have some big tables that won’t all fit in a portrait-style page? Want to turn only certain pages into landscape orientation?
- Click your cursor where you want to insert text.
- Insert > Page Break
- Insert > (another) Page Break
- Click your cursor after the first Page Break (sometimes it’s easiest to see where that is when you hit the “show/hide” button (Home > “¶”)
- Page Layout > Open Page Setup Window > click on “landscape” orientation” > Apply to “this section” > OK
Good luck to all of your writing your thesis right now. We’re all in this together!