Tips for Formatting Long Documents in Microsoft Word

Everyone knows that writing a Senior Thesis is an exceptionally time intensive process. I expected that conducting the research necessary for a 75+ page paper and actually writing it would take months of work. However, what I did not expect was how time consuming other aspects of my thesis would be. As I was finishing up my thesis, I realized (the hard way) that one of these aspects is formatting. While exact requirements vary by department, most theses must include document elements, such as chapter headings, page numbers, and table of contents. Adding elements like page numbers may not seem particularly challenging, but, when you’re working in a very long document, it can be quite tedious.

In an attempt to save you all some time and stress, I have compiled a short list of tips on formatting long documents in Microsoft Word that I learned mostly through Google searches and trial and error.  Many seniors format their theses in programs other than Word, such as LaTeX (Alec has provided some helpful advice on how to use LaTeX in a past post). But if you are like me and are relying on Word, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Using the page break function in between sections allows you to vary the document elements you include in each chapter. In order to create a page break, select “Next Page” from the “Break” dropdown menu under “Layout.

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