Thesis Formatting

Whether it is your honours thesis, your MSc thesis, or your PhD thesis, there are a few tricks and tips in word that may make your life easier. While universities may have templates (or at least should), it is possible that some of the tools you want may not have clear instruction. I hope that this helps you with your thesis writing. Have some suggstions? then reach out. We are always looking to add features that help you.


Why should I use Heading?

You want to use headings in your thesis. If you use words heading correctly, then word will know how to make your table of contents. Otherwise, you will have to make your table of contents by hand and this is neither fun or ideal.

How should I use Headings

In the Figure above, you will see the styles section of your word document. Below you will see the expanded style bar in word. This is the default styles that word has. Heading 1 is your primary heading (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Appendix A, Abstract, etc.). Heading 2 is your subheadings (Section 1.1, Section 1.2, Section A.1, etc.). As you can imagine, Heading 3 is for you sub-subheadings (Section 1.1.1, Section 1.1.2, etc.).

Editing Headings

The challenge with word headings is that the default may not be what you want it to look like. The blue 16pt font is not for everyone. You can change this. Start by writing out a word and formatting it with the appropriate font, colour, and size. For example, for my Chapter titles, I want 18pt Times New Roman and bold. To do this, I do the following:

  • Write a word (e.g., "Introduction") in your word document.
  • Set the font (e.g., "Times New Roman").
  • Set the font size (e.g., "18pt").
  • Set the font attribute (e.g., "Bold").

Once you have set this, select the word, right click on "Heading 1" in your styles and select "Update Heading 1 to Match Selection" (see Figure Below). Repeat this process for all the headings you are using (i.e., Heading 2, Heading 3, Heading 4, and even Caption for your figure/table captions.

Adding Chapter Numbers and Subheading/Sub-subheading Numbers

You may want your chapter name to be "Chapter 1 Introduction" and your subheadings to be "1.1 What is a MOF" and your sub-subheading to be "1.1.1 What is a node". To do this, start by defining a new multilevel list (see Figure).

You will get a new window (see Figure below) that shows up. In this window, you can define how you want each heading to appear in your thesis. For each list level, you can define the formatting. For example:

  • To change Heading 1 to say "Chapter 1":
    • Select level 1 from the top left hand selection.
    • In the area that says "Enter Formatting for number:" type "Chapter".
    • In the "Number style for this level:" select "1, 2, 3, ...".
    • Select ok if you are done.
  • To change Heading 2 to say "X.Y" (Where X referes to the chapter number and Y refers to the subheading number):
    • Select level 2 from the top left hand selection.
    • Clear the area that says "Enter Formatting for number:".
    • In the area that says "Include level number from:" select "Level 1".
    • Add a period after the 1 in "Enter formatting for number:"
    • In the "Number style for this level:" select "1, 2, 3, ...".
    • Select ok if you are done.
  • To change Heading 3 to say "X.Y.Z" (Where X referes to the chapter number and Y refers to the subheading number and Z refers to your sub-subheading number):
    • Select level 3 from the top left hand selection.
    • Clear the area that says "Enter Formatting for number:".
    • In the area that says "Include level number from:" select "Level 1".
    • Add a period after the 1 in "Enter formatting for number:"
    • In the area that says "Include level number from:" select "Level 2".
    • Add a period after the 1 in "Enter formatting for number:"
    • In the "Number style for this level:" select "1, 2, 3, ...".
    • Select ok if you are done.

You can also change your font, font size, and font attribute for this (select the "Font" Button). I would keep the same font, font size, and font attribute that you use in your heading definition. You can also change your indentation and alignment to fit your requirements (Edit in the Position section at the end). When you are done, you should see a new list (see Figure below).

Now every time you create a heading, you can set the new custom list you created (see Figure below). If your sub-heading are coming out as "Chapter 2", then just click onto the word "Chapter 2" and use the tab to shift from section to sub-section, or shift+tab to shift from sub-section to section.

Contact Details

Department of Chemistry,
Memorial University,
St. John's, NL
Canada

Phone: 1-709-864-8745
Email: mkatz@mun.ca
Website: www.KatzResearchGroup.com