Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Appeasing the Formatting Gods...

I am on the brink of despair.

I presented my MA Thesis a couple of weeks ago. It was an oral defense and relatively painless. Thinking that I had only to print it out in its final form and turn it in, I spent my $20 on watermarked 25% cotton paper and printed the thing out. There was much rejoicing. But Alas! I was unaware of the Formatting Gods, whom I must yet appease before my thesis will be accepted.

Having taken a class which specifically addressed the issue of formatting, as well as having dually noted, and conformed to, the 12 point formatting checklist, I did not anticipate a problem. How wrong I was.

I received back my thesis, marked profusely and furiously, along with 2 1/2 pages of single spaced, personalized notes that read along these lines:
since you are using a Times Roman font, right tab chapter numbers so the periods after chapter numbers line up 0.5 inches from the 1.25 inch left margin with chapter titles beginning 0.7 inches from margin... 1st level subheads indent 1.0 inch from margin, each successive level of subheading is indented 0.3 inches more than the previous level... vertically line up all last dots on leader lines two spaces left of the longest page number... measure after printing and adjust until it prints correctly.

Over two pages of this stuff. I have about 10 hours (no exaggeration) into this whole formatting thing, and I'm not even done with the first page of corrections yet. I’m literally sitting here with a ruler, printing out the same page over and over and over again, trying to get the left, right, top and bottom margins to match in print what it says on my computer. But the worst of it has been that one fix undoes the formatting for the previous fix. It’s like a Rubix Cube. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had to readjust the title of each chapter so that it is “immediately below the 2 inch margin.”

And God Lord in Heaven! Does anyone know how to reset the default font size for footnotes in Microsoft Word?! I beg you…

3 comments:

Dave Cleland said...

Ah! Finally a post to which I can respond! My question is, who sits around and thinks of these guidelines? With all the suffering in the world, the good deeds to be done, and the golf to be played someone is sitting around in a room with no windows thinking about formatting. I say, type it all in braggadocio, leave out all tabs and line breaks, and turn it in with a post-it note attached (this is key) that says, "Can't we just focus on content please!" That'll teach 'em.

Gerald said...

Thanks Dave. That's very helpful. I'll let you know how that all turns out.

Scottie P said...

I'm sorry that you are having such difficulties. That's Word for ya! That's one problem I've never been able to solve either. Formatting on Word is very tedious indeed.