Arial or Times New Roman? Single spaced? Bold?
April 7, 2008 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Who wants to share their favorite MS Word 2003 Style themes for writing academic papers?

I am a terrible typesetter. All my writing looks ugly and I don't have time to learn LaTeX before May.
posted by billtron to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I will also accept links to sites where I can peruse themes in case you know of those and don't want to go through the effort of writing a bunch of stuff down.
posted by billtron at 7:09 PM on April 7, 2008

1. Find popular conference in your area of expertise
2. Visit conference website
3. Download their stylesheet/template
4. Write papers into that!

Nobody is going to dispute you using the same style as the predominant expert journal/conference in your field, and it's more specific than any advice you'll get from AskMe!
posted by ranglin at 7:25 PM on April 7, 2008

when you say you're a terrible type-setter, do you mean you have difficulty fiddling with word processor options, or you have difficulty "designing" your papers? If it's the latter, just pick any academic writing style, like APA or MLA. You'll find tonnes of style guides online.
posted by Xianny at 7:29 PM on April 7, 2008

Use a serif font like Times New Roman.
posted by amb at 8:26 PM on April 7, 2008

Georgia is good because is looks nice on the screen (if the reader doesn't print out) and on the page. 12 pt, 1 inch margins all around, double spaced.... I also always use the MLA format, except I put my pages numbers on the bottom right because it seems easier to flip through that way. Keep it simple.
posted by lalalana at 9:03 PM on April 7, 2008

LaTeX isn't as difficult as you'd think. LyX (with MikTeX) is pretty easy to use if you're willing to invest an evening.
posted by alby at 1:11 AM on April 8, 2008

Your university might have templates. Mine does.
posted by acridrabbit at 6:09 AM on April 8, 2008

Please don't use LyX. It creates weird source files that regular LaTeX folks can't open/edit, and this is frustrating. You might try ProTeXt with TeXnic Center. Their install documentation is this pdf with links you click to start installing the things you need, after you've got everything downloaded.

LaTeX is not actually that difficult to learn and I find it very rewarding. I highly recommend th e Not So Short Guide. It's long, but it might be all you need to get a good start. And I think you might be able to find the source corde too. In an academic setting you'll probably be able to find someone to give you a hand, too. And all sorts of publications have style sheets online.

Of course, if you're not going to do anything remotely technical ever, you may still find LaTeX isn't worth it. But it's fun!
posted by matematichica at 7:34 AM on April 8, 2008

12 pt. Times New Roman (there's a good reason why it's the default). Double spaced (for your poor teacher/professor's eyes and notations). Bolds only for heads. Never use underline; always italics for emphasis and book titles. Keep it classy and simple. Your teachers/professors will thank you.

The best part is, you won't have done pointless work if you have to reformat for a specific style for whatever publication.
posted by General Malaise at 9:46 AM on April 8, 2008

Font-wise, I'm pretty married to Times New Roman, 12 pt., but you might try Garamond as well. I'm in English studies, so we do everything in MLA style. Double-spaced, page numbers as running headers at 0.5" top right, in a "Lastname pagenumber" format. 1" margins all around. Double space everything. "Works cited/consulted". Abstracts tend to be single-spaced (this is at least what I've seen).
posted by exlotuseater at 6:51 AM on April 9, 2008

The new default serif font with word:2008, despite our hate of each other, is actually pretty nice. It's called 'Cambria'.
posted by oxford blue at 5:58 AM on June 9, 2008

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