Formatting your dissertation (or thesis) will likely take more time than you expect. But using the special features described in this Guide will save you a great deal of work, particularly if you use our template. The earlier you begin to use these tools, the more time you'll save and the less stress you'll have as your submission deadline approaches. Students at the University of Michigan are also encouraged to contact the experts at the Library's ScholarSpace anytime you run into a problem or have a question.
To meet Rackham’s Dissertation Formatting Guidelines – as well as any set by your school or department – you will need to modify the default, standard Word document. This online guide is intended to show you how to use the tools to make the necessary modifications. While we do follow the requirements from Rackham’s formatting guidelines to demonstrate the tools, in the end, you are responsible for verifying that your document meets the requirements that Rackham sets.
To save yourself time and effort, please consider using our Dissertation Template (link available in the box to the right). Many of the settings discussed in this Guide are already included in that document.
Please note that, as a University of Michigan student, you have free access to the Microsoft Office suite of tools -- including Microsoft Word. Visit this link to learn more and to download Office to your own computer.
Word for Dissertation Content and Resources
Finalizing Dissertation Without Styles
Automatic Table of Contents and Lists
Dissertation Formatting Checklist
Rackham's list of formatting issues to check on your dissertation.
Members of the University of Michigan community can get dissertation & thesis formatting assistance from the experts at ScholarSpace:
Please visit this link to make an appointment, or send an email to email@example.com. We're here to solve any formatting problems you've run into, and can give you guidance about captioning figures, solving numbering issues, creating a List of Tables/Figures/Appendices, and more.