General FAQs

How do I know you’ve received my work?

You will receive an automated email once we receive your request for editing. You may also check in on the Submittable site to see the status of your document. Upon completion, you will also receive an email.

I haven’t received an email.

No email? Please check your Spam folder to ensure an email wasn’t automatically deposited there.

How can I contact you?

Use the contact menu on the upper right to send us an e-mail.

What is the typical turnaround period?

Depending on the length of the project, our editors can typically provide a full review of your document within one week from time of submission.

Can I expedite the turnaround period?

We do accept “Rush Orders” with a 24 hour response. Depending on the length and demands of the project, there is a $20 – $50 surcharge for this service.

Do you use computer software for editing of materials?

We provide authentic (not “canned”) feedback and our editors are real people. We do not utilize any electronic editing software in reviewing your materials. WEX is made up of real people dedicated to providing meaningful writing support.

What will my reviewed document look like?

Our editors use Track Changes (in Microsoft Word) to review your submission. Your document will have in-text comments as well. (See below for formatting tips on Tracking Changes.)

Why don’t the editors provide a “clean” document?

At WEX, we believe that the writer is the “owner” of the material and thus is responsible to accept or reject any of the editor’s comments or recommendations. This means that you’ll have to take a few minutes to review your document, but we’re hopeful that this extra step will impact your future writing. That is, WEX is invested in your learning and wants you to build upon your knowledge as a writer.

How do I incorporate changes provided through Track Changes?

When your document has been reviewed using Track Changes, you must take the extra step to “Accept” or “Reject” all changes and comments. If not, they will persist in appearing regardless of saving what you might think is a fresh document. Here’s some advice to help you move from “Tracking Changes” to a finalized version.

When working with tracked changes and/or comments to a document, you’re going to want to access the “review” section of MS Word. In more recent versions, this means clicking the “review” tab on the MS Office Ribbon; in older versions, this means clicking on the “review” menu.

At this point, you have multiple options regarding the “tracked changes.”

  1. You can accept the current change we have selected, or you can “accept all” (you may have to click the accept button and select “all” as an option).
  2. Once a change has been accepted, the document will be modified in the way the change indicated, and the highlighting/underlining will disappear.
  3. For comments, you repeat the above action, with a minor change. This time, you click the “delete” button under comments.  Again, you can delete one individual comment or you can select “all” and remove all comments from the document. Your success should be obvious, as the comment pane of the document should disappear.
  4. As a final measure, double check to ensure that you have saved a clean version of your document. Click “Accept All” changes. Then, save as Final and “Turn OFF” Track changes.

For more detailed information on track changes in specific versions of Microsoft Word, visit the online help pages at

FAQs for Dissertation Format Editing

This section covers final format and style editing on dissertations that have already been approved by the writer’s committee.

How long does this format process take?

The format process generally depends on the quality and quantity of the submitted dissertation and the precision in revision. WEX editors typically can edit a submission within a week.   The dissertation is returned to the student, and students have taken anywhere from a few days to a month to revise and correct. However, everything depends on the student’s careful attention to fix every error noted by the editor. After the student resubmits the revised dissertation, the editor will compare it to the original marked up copy.  If errors still persist, the dissertation is returned to the student for continued revising.

Students should also be aware that any changes they make on one page just might impact the formatting on another page. For example, if a heading on the bottom of a page was moved to the top of another page, please double-check to ensure that you don’t have any headings moving to the bottom of other pages.

Why can’t I just submit as a Word file and

Your dissertation has been formally approved by your committee and has been reviewed for copyright approval. As a result, it deserves protection. Putting it into PDF format secures your document as well as the format. And if you haven’t before, you should consider putting your professional writing into PDFs whenever you share them with others.

Why can’t I see any editing marks or comments on my dissertation?

We use PDF files to protect your dissertation, and you will have to install  Adobe Reader if you don’t already have it on your computer. It’s a free download and can be accessed on one of the links below:

For Mac:

For PC:

Will format be changed with PDF files?

At times, the formatting to PDF with embedded subfonts will impact your dissertation. It’s important that you check your file after you Save As the PDF. One common format issue concerns extra line spacing that might not appear in the Word file.

Should I be editing within the PDF?

No. You should use the marked PDF file for reference as you edit your Word document. When finished, Save the Word file and then Save As PDF. See “How to Create a PDF File” below for directions about PDF files with embedded subfonts.

The comment is written over the text and I’m unable to see what it is referring to.

If you have the Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you should be able to move comments around so that you may see the full text that it is referring to. You may also put it in “Read Mode” by going to View and scrolling to Read Mode. This way, the comments and the text are easily viewed.

How do I create a PDF file?

If you are using Word, simply go to Save As and scroll to PDF. Then follow the directions for embedded subset fonts (See below).

Why do I have to use embedded subset fonts?

Your dissertation will be uploaded onto electronic databases, and the embedded subset font(s) provides additional format protection of the font. This way, your dissertation will appear as it should no matter the program a reader uses. This is especially helpful should you have international readers. If you don’t embed the fonts, the reader will view the dissertation according to the default font on their computer, possibly interfering with the format of the dissertation.

How do I create embedded subset fonts?

Follow these directions:

  • Save dissertation as a PDF and close the Word document.
  • Locate the new PDF and open the document.
  • Since you have Adobe Reader already installed, click on File and select Properties.
  • Scroll over to Select Fonts in the tab, and then look for the fonts without (Embedded Subset) at the end. If the fonts are already embedded, simply click OK.
  • More questions on font? Go to:

My WEX editor commented that I am using the wrong kind of dash and I am confused. What is an em dash?

Dashes can be confusing, and we have a useful blog on the different types of dashes that might be helpful for you:

To type an en dash (–) in Word for PC: hold down Alt key and type 0150.
To type an en dash (–) in Word for Mac: hold down Option key and press the Minus key.

To type an em dash (—) in Word for PC: hold down Alt key and type 0151.
To type an em dash (—) in Word for Mac: hold down Shift and Option keys and press the Minus key.

Should I re-label my dissertation with each revision?

It’s good practice to re-label each revision so that you have a personal archive of this process. Many people find using the following recipe is helpful: “Last Name_Abbreviate Dissertation Title _Specific Date.” (For example: Capo_ThrivingthroughWriting_81817)

My WEX editor instructed me to eliminate “widows” and “orphans” in my document, and I don’t know what this means. What are these?

The outdated, sexist terminology aside, these refer to a specific formatting faux pas. A “widow” is the last line of a paragraph left by itself at the top of a page; an “orphan” is the first line of a paragraph left by itself at the bottom of a page. Authors are advised to avoid both widows and orphans in documents, since they break up the flow of the text and tend to distract the reader.

Word allows you to automatically control single-line widows and orphans in your documents. To control widows and orphans in your documents, follow these steps:

  • Put the insertion point in the paragraph that has either the widow or orphan text.
  • Display the Paragraph dialog box. (Display the Home tab of the ribbon and click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group.)
  • Display the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  • Make sure the Widow/Orphan Control check box is selected.
  • Click on OK.

What is a DOI and why do I need it?

The digital object identifier (DOI) is a specific number assigned to each article. It is important because it provides a guaranteed way for digital copies of articles to remain accessible regardless of any changes to the journal domain name or publishing status. DOI numbers are typically listed on the article’s website hosted by the journal of publication. Sometimes the easiest way to find it is to Google “DOI” and the article’s name.

How long should I expect to wait to get an edited first revision?

Students should plan on the style editor needing two weeks for the first read especially at the end of the semester when multiple dissertations are all submitted at the same time.

Is there a way to see a running list of comments?

Yes, and it’s easy. In Adobe Reader, simply click on the icon for Comments. You should then see a side ribbon of the comments.

Can I print out the editor’s comments on my PDF?

Yes, follow the link below for instructions on how to summarize the comments on your PDF and print them.

When trying to align my Table of Contents pagination, the text comes with it. Why isn’t my Table of Contents lining up correctly?

You probably had to do the Table of Contents yourself. And when you type it yourself, you have to use tab settings to right align those page numbers. You should clear all tabs and then set a right tab at 6.49″ with a right leader (see picture below). Type each line up to the leaders (dots), hit the tab key, and that will position you to where the page numbers go, type the number.


Why does the abstract have to have separate pagination?

The abstract is listed in arabic numerals at the top right (usually it’s just one page, so just 1 appears; if more than a single page, it’s 1 and 2). There’s a reason for this: the abstract is technically viewed as a separate “entity” in the dissertation since it’s typically taken and reprinted elsewhere. You’ll also see this pattern when you submit articles. Make sure to have the small roman numerals continue before and after ​the abstract. Make sure to insert a page break for separate pagination.

I don’t see the “error” in my Word document, but the editor commented that there’s an extra line between paragraphs when there isn’t/everything is double spaced.

Do a cross-check between the Word and PDF file. Do you see the extra spacing in the PDF file? If so, you’ve added an extra line space and need to delete it in the Word file.

Things to consider:

  • Make sure there are no extra lines between paragraphs when double-spacing.
  • Word will throw in extra line if setting are not set to: Do not add extra space b/w paragraphs of same style.
  • Insert page break (instead of hitting return).
  • Make sure you have the most up to date version of Microsoft Word


  • Insert page break (instead of hitting return).
  • Make sure you have the most up to date version of Microsoft Word.

I’m getting confused with my documents. Is there an easy way to compare them?

There’s an easy way to compare your documents. Just go to and follow the simple directions.

Other Questions related to format?

WEX is here to make sure this process is as smooth as possible for you. If you have a question, we’re just an email away.

Email the Writers’ Exchange:

Or review this complete file of materials:

For further dissertation resources and tips check out our website: