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  • Formatting a Major Document

    Writing a long document requires more care and greater preparation than writing short ones. Usually these are formal documents for assessment or publication, often with strict formatting requirements and layout instructions. Investing time and effort at the beginning before starting to write will mean than the formatting requirements can be met and will avoid last minute format changes when you should be concentrating on finalising your content. Good initial design will lead to straightforward and trouble free generation of table of contents and an index.

    What is Formatting

    Formatting refers to the appearance or presentation of your essay. Another word for formatting is layout. Most essays contain at least four different kinds of text: headings, ordinary paragraphs, quotations and bibliographic references. You also have to consider the fonts, page numbering and margins that you use.

    Why is formatting important?

    Formatting is important for the following reasons:- 

    • It makes your essay look like an essay (rather than a letter or a note to a friend). 
    • It helps to make your essay more readable. 
    • It allows you to navigate more easily within a large document, making it easier to format and amend.

    Lecturers do not usually give extra marks for the formatting of an essay. They are more interested in the content. But all readers are influenced by the presentation of a text. If your essay looks like an essay and is easy to read, the reader will be more likely to have a favourable attitude to what you have written.

    This link takes you to an easy to follow document which will show you how to format a sample document using Microsoft Word.

    Visit the resources on the Academic Skills Learning Zone for guidance on formatting major documents. 

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