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Monday, June 20, 2016 Common Formatting Mistakes

These formatting issues can land you a lower letter grade with tough professors. Making sure you’ve checked these off on your list can help you reduce errors. See if you’ve got any of these in your paper.

1. Wrong header font/size

Microsoft Word does not automatically change the header font, even if you change the font in the body of your paper. Double click your header and make sure it is the right font and size (and that you actually have a header!).

2. Incorrect line spacing

One of the auto-formatting things that Microsoft does is called “adding space between paragraphs of the same style.” This means that even if you write one line and press enter, Microsoft considers it to be a “new paragraph” and adds extra space. Look under the line spacing options to make sure that you have selected the box that says “don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.”

3. Paragraphs that are centered

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many students make mistakes with paragraph format. Make sure that all paragraphs are 12-point font, verdana font, and that they are left aligned. Indent the first line with a press of the tab key (1/2 inch) to help the reader identify when a new idea begins. Centering your paragraphs makes them really difficult to read!

4. Large margins

When your professor sees margins larger than one inch (yes, on ANY side of the page), they will know you were having a bit of trouble reaching the page count. Make sure to double check and ensure that your margins are one inch all around.

5. Incorrectly formatting your sources

Sources in your bibliography should have a hanging indent (top line is flush left and every other line following is tabbed over once). This way the reader can easily identify sources in your bibliography without having to look at the other things in the entry. Alphabetize them, too.

6. Title pages and headings

These can be tough, but don’t worry. We have some excellent sample papers for you to look at as well as other blog posts. Just make sure to double check the resources that you have on hand, follow your professor’s requirements, and make sure you are using the correct title page for the format you are using.

Posted at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)
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