Lit211B Standard Format - Leroy Searle Department of...

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Leroy Searle Department of English University of Washington Seattle, WA 98115 [email protected] Standard Manuscript Format A very high percentage of college graduates eventually write for publication. Whether the writing consists of a company report or an article or book that will be evaluated and screened for publication, this means that the document you produce will have to be handled by several other people (including a copy editor and the printer). This will in every instance involve a complex and exacting process. How your document looks and how it is formatted are very important, not merely for aesthetic reasons, but because if will affect the editing and publishing process. Please examine this page closely. Note that the author’s name appears in the upper left hand corner, single spaced, above an address and an email address. This assures that if your printed document is lost, it can be returned to you, or if the file strays it can be forwarded electronically to you. Next you will notice that everything else is double spaced, without exception, and that nothing at all appears in the upper right hand corner of the first page. Note also that the title is not marked in any way: no bold face, no different font, and is centered. The right textual margin is ragged, not right-justified. The reasons are simple but compelling. The area at the upper right is reserved for editorial instructions, either to you as the author, or to the typesetter or printer. The spacing between words and lines should be uniform throughout. In current document handling systems, your writing will probably be scanned optically or converted by typesetting software—which may be different from the program you used to produce the
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Searle / 2 document. Optical scanners respond exactly to the visual properties of your page. If you change line spacing, fonts, or leading between lines, the OCR software will insert into the file a very long and irrelevant string of formatting marks, section breaks, style descriptions, and so on.
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