Zijun Zhang Bioinformatics Researcher @ Simons Foundation

A note on writing a PhD thesis in MS Word


A note on writing a PhD thesis in MS Word

Below is a simple note on a few formatting tricks in Microsoft Word for PhD thesis writing. Briefly, this needs to account for how to make a proper page numbering, table of contents, and references to list of figures and tables.

Page Numbering

  1. use “Layout” –> “Breaks” to insert “Sections/Continous” to separate different Chapters into different sections.

  2. Go to the very first page. Under “Insert”, use “Page Number” –> “Bottom of Page” –> “Plain Number 2”. We shall return to format the prefix into Roman numbering later in a few steps.

  3. Find the first page of Chapter 1, then double-click on the footer page number; this will pop up a ribbon “Design” on top. In “Design” tab, find the highlighted “Link to Previous”, click to uncheck it. This will allow the page numbering to start fresh for this section.

  4. In the “Design” tab, find “Page Number” –> “Format Page Numbers”, then in the poped-up window, set “Start at: 1”. Now the Prefix and Chapters have separated numbering.

  5. Go back to the first page of the Prefix, again use “Format Page Numbers” and set “Number Format” to Roman Numbering for the Prefix.

Add Table of Contents

  1. Format the Section and Subsection heading by “Home” –> “Heading 1/2/3”.

  2. In the ToC page, click “References” –> “Table of Contents”.

  3. In “Home” tab, right-click on the “Heading 1/2/3” and “Modify..” to change the heading to the same style of the main texts. This includes font, bold, and paragraph (which usually is double spacing).

Add List of Figures

  1. Set cursor at the first chapter location (e.g. “Chapter 1”), then in “Home” tab, select “Multilevel list” –> “Chapter”. (“Multilevel list” is in “Home/Paragraph” group and above “Aligning” buttons.) This will create a list for all chapters and the corresponding sections/subsections.

  2. Select the caption of a particular figure, then “References” –> “Insert Caption”. In “Numbering..”, select “Including chapter number”, and set “Use separator” is “. period”. Make sure the label is “Figure” as not to be mixed with “Tables”.

  3. In the Prefix/List of Figures page, from “References” –> “Table of Figure Dialog”, insert the list.

  4. Format the Caption in “Home” tab, similar to the above.