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MS Word Template Instructions Windows

ETD Technical Support: Introduction to the MS Word Formatting Template

This tutorial is a concise introduction to using the Application Support Center's MS Word ETD Formatting Template.

Downloading the Template

We now offer two MS Word templates. Both are simply Word files that will work equally well on Mac or PC. The standard template comes first. This is the template most people should use! The second template will use Times New Roman as the Normal font. It is not a simple task to switch from one template to another so make this choice with care. Click on the link to the MS Word Template and you will be asked if you want to save or open the file. We recommend that you first save the file in a convenient location. While PC and Mac platform do have some subtle but significant differences in the final output, the same Word file will work with both. We Highly recommend that you immediately open the template and "Save as..." and rename your template file leaving your original template unchanged. This will allow you to generate additional copies of the template if it should ever prove necessary.

How the Template works

The template works by making use of the power of MS Word "Styles." Styles allow a user to apply several formatting rules with a single click. So the first thing you MUST do when working in the template is to open the styles palette. Click on the "Home" tab and find the small arrow indicated by the arrow in the image below. Click on this arrow to open a styles palette. Drag this palette to the side of the window and as your pointer goes out of the window side the palette will "dock" to whichever side you have chosen to allow an easy method of selecting any of the available styles. (Mac Office: If the Formatting Palette is not showing go to "View"; and choose "Formatting Palette," when the formatting palette is showing click the triangle next to "Styles" to open the Styles Palette.)

Please make sure you read this document thoroughly, attend an ETD Workshop, or sit down with an ASC Consultant in the Application Support Center. There are several things you should be aware of before you include your text in the template, and understanding how the template works will make your thesis/dissertation formatting experience much less stressful. If at any time you run into difficulties in using the formatting templates, feel free to view one of our online tutorials or contact us via e-mail at If necessary, we can make an appointment to consult with you regarding any technical challenges you may be having.

Working with the Templates

The preferred Thesis and Dissertation font is Arial. Research has shown that sans serif fonts are MUCH easier to read on a computer screen. However, if you feel the need to use a different typeface, Times New Roman is still an acceptable alternative. The lower resolution of the computer screen makes Times New Roman much more difficult to read in the electronic version. If you still wish to change the template font you should do it through the use of styles rather than selecting text and changing fonts.

Scroll down the styles Palette until you find the “Normal” style. Right-click (Mac users => “Control – click") and choose “Modify.” Change the font from “Arial” to “Times New Roman.” Click OK and most of the text will change from Arial to Times. (you may have to change a few other styles using this same technique. Select the Arial text and see which style is highlighted and modify the typeface for that style. We have based most of our styles on the "Normal" typeface but a few [page number and hyperlink among some others - sometimes] occasionally get stubborn.

The key to using the template is the application of MS Word "Styles." In the template we have created approximately 20 custom styles that, in addition to making the text look correct in the document itself, allow Word to sort through the document and locate text with these styles applied and place them in the Table of Contents (TOC), List of Tables (LOT) and List of Figures (LOF) with the correct indentation and spacing.

In addition to the creation of these tables, each item in the table is also linked to the corresponding item in the document and, when properly converted to pdf, this link is preserved and active in the final document as required by the Editorial Office. When you download the MS Word template file, do not touch the TOC, LOT, or LOF. There is also a hidden {TC ABSTRACT} field in the first paragraph of the Abstract that needs to be protected as well (turn the show/hide toggle [Show/Hide is the button with the paragraph symbol on it located in the Paragraph section of the Home Tab] on so the paragraph marks are showing and you will be able to see it then).

Once you have pasted your text in front or behind the template text (NOTE: DO NOT REPLACE OR DELETE THE TEMPLATE TEXT until you have applied all of your styles to your document. If you delete all instances of the custom styles they will no longer be available to apply) you need to go through your document and apply the 002 Chapter Title style to the chapter titles, the 003 First Level Subheading style to the first level subheadings; 004 Second Level to second level and 005 Third Level to third level. Apply the 013 Table Caption and 014 Figure Caption styles to the corresponding Table and Figure captions. Once those styles have been applied you are ready to generate the Table of Contents, List of Tables and List of Figures.

Updating the Table of Contents (TOC), List of Tables (LOT) & List of Figures (LOF)

Once all the pertinent styles have been applied, THEN you can go to the TOC, right-click (Mac users will “control – click”) on the table of contents (it should turn gray) and choose "Update Fields" from the sub-menu that will appear and your TOC should be re-generated with your headings. This process will help you determine whether or not you have applied the styles correctly. If images or body text get pulled into the TOC or the lists of tables and figures, then the style was accidentally applied. You need to go through your document and make sure the style is applied only to the text you want in the TOC, etc. Do the same updating process on the List of Tables and List of Figures and you should be in business. Note: there are a few details that can not be automatically created that need to be manually adjusted in all three of these tables. Each of the templates update differently so see our tutorial for the correct template for the process of Updating the TOC and Updating the LOF and LOT. These updates are critical. These are the first few pages the Editors look over and these updating details indicate your ability to follow instructions. If these basic steps are not followed correctly the Editors see no reason to continue to review 200 more pages.

These tutorials are found here:

Please let us know if you continue to have difficulties. Remember you're more than welcome to come in to the Application Support Center for a personal consultation at any time during our normal working hours. The latest versions of the template are the ones currently available on our web site:

One area that often causes problems during first submission is the Table of Contents, List of Tables and List of Figures. These updates are slightly different for each of the templates so make sure you're following the instructions for the template you are using. We also recommend that you attend one of our training seminars on template use. You can sign up for them here:

While the thesis/dissertation process is very challenging it is our goal to minimize the problems you will face as much as possible. Knowing the Editorial Office guidelines before you start writing is essential to avoid unnecessary labor and stress. These guidelines are found here:

We are located in the Hub, room 224. By phone 392-4357 - Option 5. And e-mail at please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

In working with the template, we recommend that you follow this advice:

  • Always work on a copy of your latest document. Every time you end a session of work on the manuscript make at least two backup copies of the document and save them to at least two different locations (Computers and/or Flash drives).
  • Always work with the show/hide toggle switch [¶ ]set to show. This will allow you to see the paragraph and section break marks. When inserting your own text, this will show you where the Section Breaks that control page numbering/margins are located. There is a Section Break (Next Page) at the end of each section or chapter. This is what tells MS Word that a chapter has ended and the footnotes need re-start back to the number 1 for the new chapter.
  • If you decide to cut and paste from another MS Word document, make sure you apply our styles to ALL of the text you include. This ensures that your formatting is in compliance with the Editorial Office rules. You chapter headings and subheadings will also appear in the table of contents.

Applying Styles

The formatting styles used by MS Word are what control text alignment, text spacing and paragraph indentations.

We have created 19 styles for the template. We worked closely with the Editorial Office of the Graduate School in programming the formatting so that it is in compliance with the Editorial Office's Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Requirements.

It is therefore highly recommended that you apply our styles to ALL the text you include in the document. Doing this will ensure that your text has the proper formatting, and your chapter and subheading text will appear in the Table of Contents upon demand, with the appropriate page number association.

To apply a style, first open the style pallet by clicking on the small arrow as shown above, then click in the paragraph where want the style applied, then click on the style you wish to apply. (Note: sometimes special formatting in the paragraph; such as bold, italic, superscript, or subscript text will be re-formatted when the style is applied – check your text carefully after applying styles.

Below is a listing of the styles contained in Version 11.0 of the formatting template. You should apply all pertinent styles to the corresponding parts of your document. Even simple styles like Body Text have small formatting parameters that are important.

StyleApply ToWhat you must do after the style is applied
001 CHAPTER NUMBERChapter numberNothing
002 CHAPTER TITLEChapter titlesCapitalize all letters
003 First-Level Subheading (BOLD)First-level subheadingsCapitalize first letters of all principal words
004 Second-Level Subheading (BOLD)Second-level subheadingsCapitalize first letters of all principal words
005 Third-Level Subheading (BOLD)Third-level subheadingsCapitalize the first letter of the first word and all proper nouns
006 Body TextParagraphsNothing
007 Body Text-No IndentParagraphs where indenting is not permittedNothing
008 Block Text-Block QuoteQuotes longer than three linesNothing
009 Short List-BulletsUsed for bulleted lists where none of the items are longer than one lineInsert a single blank line after the last list entry
010 Short List-NumbersUsed for numbered lists where none of the items are longer than one lineInsert a single blank line after the last list entry
011 Long List-BulletsBulleted lists where one or more items wraps to a second lineNothing
012 Long List-NumbersNumbered lists where one or more items wraps to a second lineNothing
013 Table CaptionTable titles/descriptionsNothing
014 Figure CaptionFigure titles/descriptionsNothing
015 Object CaptionObject titles/descriptionsUpload the object to the Institutional Repository and create a hyperlink to the object itself using Adobe Acrobat
016 Transcribed DialogConversations with identified speakers (interviews, movie dialog, theatrical script)Nothing
017 Reference BlockFor reference lists all lines flush leftNothing
018 Reference HangingFor reference lists first line flush left, each additional line indented 0.5"- DON'T use "enter" until entire reference is typedNothing

Making Backup Copies

When you've completed your day's work with the template, it always advisable to make a backup copy of your document. When you do this, there are several things you should keep in mind:

  • Have 3 backup locations. [ 1 on your computer's hard drive; 1 on a USB Flash/Jump Drive or other electronic storage device; 1 on a departmental server or e-mailed to yourself.
  • If possible, save editable copies of all figures and tables you are using in your document - If you need to re-generate a graph in a different font how difficult will this be?

This way, if anything should happen to your primary computer's hard drive, you will still have something you can work with.

Updating the Table of Contents TOC), List of Tables (LOT) & List of Figures (LOF)

Before you print your document or convert to PDF, you need to update your table of contents. For detailed instructions on this process, please review the following tutorials:

Making a PDF

Finally, we get to the task of converting your document to a PDF file. If your document is in order, just open your file, make sure "Track Changes" is set to "Final" NOT "Final Showing Markup" switch to View - Print Layout and your document is ready to print. In Word 2010 choose "Save As . . ." and in the Save Dialog Box, select the "File Type" as "pdf" and click "OK." The final version will have to be named Lastname_F where F is your first initial. Note! If you "Print to PDF" or use one of the third party pdf conversion tools there's a VERY good chance your links won't be preserved and your document won't make final approval.

There are multiple ways of getting information on how to use the formatting templates. Each one is in a different medium with a unique level of detail:

  1. This tutorial
  2. A Help Desk ASC hosted ETD Workshop
  3. A personal visit with an ASC Consultant

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