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Formatting Your Thesis or Dissertation with Microsoft Word

This guide includes video tutorials designed to help you get most of the formatting of your thesis correct the first time. Using these videos to format your thesis will save a lot of time when it comes to having your format checked.

Using Microsoft Word to format your thesis or dissertation

[If you want to use LaTeX instead of Microsoft Word, see the Formatting in LaTeX section, below.]

UM-Dearborn Microsoft Word thesis template

Most students use Microsoft Word to write their thesis or dissertation. For previous assignments, you likely did not use some of Word's advanced features such as styles, section breaks, rotated pages, automatically generated table of contents, automatically generated list of abbreviations, etc. Some of these things are required for your document, others just make formatting and updating your document much easier, and still others may be needed for your particular document. It isn't intuitive how to do many of these things. Moreover, the University of Michigan-Dearborn has specific requirements for formatting your document and following videos or using templates from other universities may lead to more work fixing formatting issues later, after you have submitted the thesis for the final format check.

The video series on the following pages demonstrates how to use Word to make formatting your document easier while following the UM-Dearborn guidelines. While designed specifically for CECS thesis format using a modified IEEE style, much of what is covered in these tutorials also can be applied to or modified for CASL theses as well as CECS and CEHHS dissertations. Please make sure that you check the requirements for your discipline, program, department, or college regarding formatting and which style guide to follow.

Note: Different versions of Microsoft Word were used in these videos. The first slide in each video will state which version was used. Most things are done the same in different versions of Word, but finding some of the features might vary slightly.

Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines

Your Master's thesis or Ph.D. dissertation should be formatted according to university guidelines. See the Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Checklist for items that your format checker will look for.

Formatting in LaTeX

Some CECS students use LaTeX to write their thesis or dissertation.  There is no official or sanctioned LaTeX template. Ann Arbor's Scholar Space directs students to the LaTeX template at According to Scholar Space, this template "has proven to be the most actively maintained and accurate that we've seen".

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