Guidelines for Preparing Electronic Manuscripts
The closer these guidelines are followed, the faster your job can be turned
around and the less it will cost. I realize that word processing programs
allow you to do your own formatting. However, most commercial printers will
have great difficulty printing from these files. Even today many typing traditions
have come to us from the typewriter and its mono-spaced type and are inappropriate
for the computer and its proportional and varied type. These guidelines will
help to make the process of going from manuscript to printed project more
Learn to use tabs and tables. The most time-consuming correction—and
the most error prone—is removing spaces that have been used to line
up columns or move text away from the left-hand margin. And anyway, they
will rarely line up properly on the printed page.
What to Format — Do
- Format individual words within paragraphs of body text as bold or italic.
For special characters not available on your keyboard, use a unique code
(characters that don’t otherwise appear in your document, ie “zx”).
Then make a list of the codes you’ve used such as “replace
* with bullet (•)."
- For bulleted or numbered lists, type the desired character or number
followed by a TAB (not spaces), then the text to keep the left edge even.
(MS Word's automatic bulleting and numbering does not transfer well to
- Mark indented text (hanging indents, quotes, etc.) in the margin of the
hard copy or preceed that text with something such as [hang indent] and
follow with [end indent]. Style sheets will be used to format them so they
will all line up properly.
- Your three periods... will automatically be converted to an ellipsis
that won’t break at the end of a line . . ., "typewriter" quote
marks will be changed to “curly” left and right quotes, ' will
be be changed to ’, and -- will be changed to —.
- Apostrophes before a word or number must curl to the right, and word
processors only do that automatically after a letter. To do it before press
option-right bracket (Mac) or alt-right bracket (PC). Option (Alt) and
left bracket will produce the right double quote.
- Type the true numbers 0 and 1, not lower case letter l and the capital
letter O so you get 1990, not l99O.
- Use one space after periods for better looking typeset copy (but don’t
worry, this can be changed easily if you can’t break old typewriter
habits). This is a holdover from monospaced type where all letters have
the same horizontal space (i.e., there's more empty space around an i than
an m and the extra space made the sentence break clear).
- Closing quotes should come after commas and periods (American style)
rather than before (English style).
- [TYPE NOTES TO ME IN ALL CAPS WITHIN BRACKETS]—They will stand
out and can be removed easily.
- Footnotes can either be typed in a separate paragraph immediately after
the paragraph containing the reference, or at the end of the chapter (At
the end is preferable if there are footnotes on most pages, whether or
not you wish them to appear on the page where referenced.)
- Indicate the various levels of headings by placing a letter or number
in brackets—[A], [B], [C], etc.—after each heading, or use
Style Sheets for repetitive formatting (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.).
What to Format —Do Not
- Never use spaces instead of, or in addition to, tabs
to line up text. They will not line up when typeset and
it is difficult to see them on the screen to remove them all! This is the
most time consuming—and error prone—correction. If you don’t
adhere to any of the other suggestions, please follow this one.
- Don’t use tabs or spaces to center text. If it’s part of
a headline style, don’t worry about it at all; if it’s a special
case, just mark it on your printout, or type [center] in the document.
- Don’t use tabs to make hanging indents (like these paragraphs).
The additional tabs for each line will need to be removed because the text
will flow with different line breaks.
- Don’t use a Return at the end of each line, but only at
the end of each paragraph. The ones after each line will need to be removed.
Let your word processor flow the text the way it wants because it will
come up differently in the final page layout. (A one line heading is considered
a paragraph as is one line of a poem.)
- Don’t place listed paragraphs side-by-side to save space; they
must then be cut and pasted individually since the finished page size and
the font used are different from those used in the manuscript. Type lists
as one long column. I can then flow them easily into as many columns as
needed. Or use your word processor's table function.
- Don't hyphenate at the ends of lines. Let your word processor hyphenate
automatically because, until the type is in it's final layout, you can't
predict where the lines will break.