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 to 10 days. The edited dissertation is returned, 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 “widow/orphan” line or 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 that error moving to the bottom of other pages.
Why can’t I just submit as a Word file and get feedback via Track Changes?
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: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/install-reader-dc-mac-os.html
For PC: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/install-reader-dc-windows.html
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, using a new label (see below). 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
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 resource on the different types of dashes that might be helpful for you: To type an en dash (–) in Word for PC, hold down Alt and type 0150. In Mac, hold down the Option key and press the Minus key. To type an em dash (—), use the same commands but with the code number 0151 instead of 0150. In Mac, hold down the 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.
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. https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/print-comments-acrobat-reader.html
Many of the format errors are the result of manual insertion of spaces and line spaces. If you haven’t utilized the Word Tools, you might have inconsistencies in format.
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 do the front pages have a different pagination?
The front pages (including the abstract) are separated from the main text for a variety of reasons, most of which are inherited from the printing publication. 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.
My editor has written a cover note about a “global error” in my dissertation. Have all been corrected?
Probably not; however, the editor will mark a few to illustrate the error. Whenever the editor identifies a pervasive error, it is your job to correct all. For example, an editor might identify that you have additional spaces between sentences. As WEX editors strive for efficiency with the program edits, noting all errors would distract from other edits as well as be time- consuming. It’s your responsibility to correct all.
Things to consider:
○ WEX editors have a high accuracy rate of 97%, but they will miss errors. As you correct your manuscript, be sure to correct any other additional errors. You want your manuscript to be as polished and close to 100% perfect as possible
○ Make sure there are no extra lines between paragraphs when double-spacing.
○ Word will throw in extra line if setting is not set to: Do not add extra space b/w paragraphs of same style.
○ Insert page break (instead of hitting return). Use section breaks only with new format
○ Make sure you have the most up to date version of Microsoft Word.
Other Questions related to format?
WEX is here to make sure this process is as smooth as possible for you. We believe that the editing experience should be a dynamic exchange. If you have a question, we’re just an email away. Email the Writers’ Exchange: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further dissertation resources and tips check out our website: www.wex.antioch.edu