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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.

How to get the two-inch margin

This is perhaps the most-reported problem we see. If you're using a properly formatted Heading 1 for your section or chapter title and still not getting a 2-inch margin at the top, you almost certainly are missing a "Section Break (Next Page)".  Read below for more info.

Rackham requires a 1-inch margin throughout your document, but a 2-inch top margin for chapter titles and major headings like Dedication and Acknowledgments. Using a Heading 1 style and modifying the style to create the two-inch margin is the best method for doing this. Our template already has this built in.

Please note, too, that you must have a "Section Break (Next Page)" immediately ahead of your section or chapter heading for the Heading 1 style to insert that additional space, with no extra paragraphs or other characters between the break and the next chapter's title. If your Heading 1 properly includes the additional inch of space, but you're still not getting a two inch margin, it's most likely because you're missing the "Section Break (Next Page)". Toggle on the invisible characters  to look for that Section Break. 

If it's missing, then place your cursor immediately before the first word of the misbehaving section, go to the Layout tab, open the Breaks button, and select "Section Break (Next Page)":          (If the animation below is only showing a black screen, then just reload this webpage to start it up again)



If you're not using our template, you should modify your Heading 1 style.  By adding 1 inch (or 72 points) of extra space before the Heading 1, you combine the default one inch margin from the document with the one inch of extra space on the heading to achieve your two inch margin. This is already set for you if you are using our dissertation template.


See Setting Up a Heading 1 Example for the step-by-step instructions for modifying your Heading 1 style.