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Formatting Documents: Worth-While or -Less?

The thought of formatting any document usually brings on a sense of a huge and generally unnecessary task, imposed on one by authority. But one couldn’t be more wrong in harbouring such a sentiment. Formatting results in a document that is well presented (not taking into account the scientific /technical content) and generally urges the reader /audience to pay attention.

The crucial question is when should one format a document – after it is completed or at the beginning? Logic and experience suggest the latter. The reason being that once formatted as per requirement or intent, the document takes on the final form in real time. This does away with the need to revise /rewrite the document, especially Power Point presentations, to conform to requirements, at a later point. Some basic suggestions for formatting documents are enlisted below.

Word Documents

  • Consider and select font type and size
  • Define line spacing
  • Set alignment of text (left, centre, right or justified)
  • For emphasis, change font style (bold, italics, underlined)
  • To generate the Table of Contents, classify text (Header 1, Header 2, Title, Subtitle, etc.)

Excel Documents

  • Consider and select font type and size
  • Define page setup
  • Format cells (vertical and horizontal location of data, wrap text, orientation of text)
  • Fix the number of digits after the decimal
  • Headers of columns should be in bold text
  • Include units of measurements in the column headers to avoid having to repeat them with each data point

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By | 2017-05-17T11:30:46+00:00 September 30th, 2014|Categories: Scientific Writing Tips|Tags: , |Comments Off on Formatting Documents: Worth-While or -Less?

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