Tips for word processing, typography and layout design for scientific theses.
Your word processor should be your best bet, if possible before writing your scientific text. OpenOffice offers as free open source software everything that modern word processing needs. Nevertheless, Word is recommended to you. Word may have been invented while you were still in diapers. Despite all the prophecies of doom, this software is extremely mature. Therefore, in the following also not closer to OpenOffice, but Word 2007 is discussed.
Styles and templates
Before writing a scientific paper, it makes sense to create a template. Document templates or templates for Word are documents that already have the most important layout settings and already contain the basic structure of the work. A complete template for scientific papers with corresponding instructions can be found here: Template for scientific papers.
Styles for Word are templates that control the appearance of an entire paragraph (paragraph style sheets) or individual characters (character style sheets). The palette of already existing templates in your document can be displayed by clicking on the symbol under Styles in the tab “Start”.
In this section of the toolbar, you’ll also see a selection of so-called “Quick Style Templates” that are commonly used and therefore listed at the top of the toolbar. Clicking on the icon at the bottom right opens a window on the right-hand edge that displays all important styles.
Of particular importance are the templates “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, etc. These are used to honor all headings in your document.
It should not be explained in detail here how you have to deal with the templates. Try it yourself. Create new templates and test what you can do with them. Own experience is the best teacher, this also applies to Word.
Essential to the document template, the template for your scientific work is that you format each element of your text with styles. These elements can be:
- Text in headers,
- Footnote text,
- References text,
- the first paragraphs of normal body text,
- normal paragraphs in the body text,
- Citations in the text,
- Pictures etc.
The advantage: If each element is provided with a template, the layout can be quickly adapted to your needs.
More Word Tips
Invisible Control Characters: Click the Pilcrow or Paragraph character once in the toolbar. This will show you every space in the document, every paragraph. They also make page breaks visible.
Insert page breaks in Word 2007
Page breaks give Word the command to wrap the following text to a new page. So you do not need to press Enter 20 times to start a new chapter. Insert a page break either with the key combination CTRL + ENTER or via the toolbar (“Insert” – Page break)
Shortcuts: Use shortcuts to simplify the work. For example, add a new footnote. For example, use CTRL + ALT + F. Attached to this book is a list of common shortcuts for Word.
Is your monitor wide enough? Click on “Document Structure” under “View”.
This outline view is a blessing; It allows you to quickly jump between documents in the document, without the hassle of scrolling. The prerequisite for it to work, however, is that your document has been structured accordingly so that you have labeled all the headings with the templates “Heading 1”, “Heading 2” etc.
Page layout or type area
Type area is used in typographic jargon to denote the area used for the text. Footnotes and header or heading are part of the type area. Creating a beautiful type area is an art in itself. In some cases traditional dimensions are used in the golden ratio.
For your diploma thesis or bachelor thesis this effort is not necessary. Typesetting margins or margins are often specified by the institutes. Usual are margins of 2.5 cm to 3 cm. Keep in mind that the margin should be slightly larger on the left side because your work will be tied in place. The margins should also not be too low, because too long lines make reading much more difficult.
To set up a page in Word, click on the little arrow under “page setup” in the tab “page layout”. In the following window you can make appropriate information.