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Microsoft Word for Dissertations

Describes many of the special features of Microsoft Word you can use to make formatting your dissertation easier. While it's focused on dissertations, this information is useful for any long document.

Setting up Heading 1 Example

The Heading 1 style has already been set up this way in our template, so this information is presented as an example of some of the ways you can modify a well as for those wishing to use styles in a document apart from our template.

Rackham has very specific requirements for most elements in your document. You'll find Rackham's Dissertation Handbook and a number of other resources on their Navigating Your Degree page.

For example, your chapter titles and front matter titles (e. g., Dedication, Acknowledgements, etc.) need to be formatted in a particular way. Below is an example of how you can set that up using the Heading 1 style – please confirm your Heading 1 style with the Rackham guidelines to be sure nothing has changed and that we didn’t miss anything!

  1. On the Home Ribbon, in the Styles Gallery, right-click on the Heading 1 style and select Modify.
  2. In the Modify Style dialog box (see picture), in the Formatting: section,
    • Set the font to Times New Roman (or whatever professional-looking font you choose)
    • Set the font size to 12 point
    • Set the text color to black
    • Center the text
    • Select 1.5 spacing for the paragraph spacing
  3. Click on the Format button in the bottom-left corner of the dialog box and choose Paragraph (see below).
  4. Select the "Indents and Spacing" tab
  5. In the window that appears, enter 1 in. or 72 pt (these are equivalent values) in the Spacing Before: field. This provides the two-inch margin required for chapter titles (one inch from the default top margin, plus one inch from the value you just entered).
    • Important: Please note that in the body of your document, you must have a Section Break (Next Page) inserted before the title text for that extra inch to appear. See the Two-inch Top Margin section of this Guide for more information.
  6. Since the chapters and front matter have to start on a new page, you can build a page break into the style by going to the "Line and Page Breaks" tab and checking the box for Page Break Before.

Click OK until you are back to your document.