No matter how well written your paper, it must also be presented in a way that encourages reading. The actual appearance may not seem like it is important, but it contributes a lot to the readability of the paper. Consider how likely you are to read something that is in tiny print or one giant paragraph from side to side with no relief. Professors provide instructions that are similar to those you will find in the professional world, but also enable them to read the material easier. As you progress through school and out into the working world you will notice some common features, like one inch margins, sans serif fonts, and justified print. Double spacing allows for comments.
Another factor that improves readability is paragraph length. Short paragraphs of four to five sentences create bite-sized pieces of information for a person to absorb. Then they can move on to the next piece of information. This is easily attainable if your paper is well organized. You present a piece of information then support it with two or three bits of evidence. A series short paragraphs like these present all the facts you need for your thesis and the evidence to support your claims.
The rest of this guide and other pages in this group demonstrate tools you can use to make your presentation as professional as possible.
Very often a paper will have a title page requirement. Each style has their own standards. In general, put the paper title centered in the center of the paper with the author name underneath it. If you are including an image, it is next with its appropriate caption and citation. The student name, date, and class go near the bottom of the page.
Always update the date when you resubmit.
Always use a page break to separate the title page from the main content.
Many webpages have a citation builder. Always look for it and always look in it. It is not correctly formatted, but all the information you need to create a correction citation is there. It is obvious when students take the lazy way out and try to just copy from a citation builder. It is great to use as a base, but be sure you are checking their work.
Very often you will have to embed a graphic, table, or image of some type to support your points. This is not particularly hard. In the Insert toolbar, choose the type of graphic you want to insert. There are a lot of options, probably even things you did not realize you could insert. Play with it. You can always delete what doesn’t work.
A slightly more challenging task is wrapping the text around your graphic. This does give your work a more professional look, but don’t wait to learn this until the day an assignment is due. Options for this are at the end of the ribbon in the Layout tab.
Any graphic you use will need a caption and a citation, including ones you create yourself.
Captions are short bits of information that explain why an image or graphic is included in the work. You should include the image as close as possible to the place it is relevant in the paper to give them context. Sticking a bunch of images at the end makes them meaningless.
Captions are pretty easy to apply. After placing the image, select it and right click. The option Insert Caption is fifth from the bottom.
Your images will always need citations as well and the footnote can be added directly at the end of the caption, just like adding a footnote to the end of any other sentence.
Formatting includes a lot of different things. Your margins will be in here as well as the font type, size, and color. Most of the things specified in the formatting instructions can be set in the Home tab, but here is a list of the most common requirements and the tab they can be found in. Remember to always follow the instructions from your professor.