Q: Tips on general manuscript formatting

Detailed Question -

Are there any standard formatting rules that I should follow in my manuscript?

1 Answer to this question

If you have already selected a target journal for your paper, it is best to read the author guidelines and follow the house-style recommended by the journal. However, if you have not yet identified a target journal, it is preferable to follow either the MLA style or the APA style as these are the most commonly used formatting styles for scientific papers.

Making style decisions in the manuscript might seem a daunting task. So here are some general formatting guidelines for a standard format which you can follow to give your paper a neat and professional look: 

  • Use a single font throughout your paper; do not mix different font styles.
  • Always use a clear and legible font, preferably 12 point Times New Roman.
  • Double-space the text of your paper.
  • Use clear black text on a white background.
  • Text should be left justified.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks. 
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. Use the tab key for indentation. Do not leave extra space between paragraphs.
  • Create a header with your last name and the page number on the upper right-hand corner.

You can also read the post Scientific writing: Tips on capitalization in bullet point lists to know how to make the bullet point lists more presentable.