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Formatting a double-sided IS

For help on other formatting techniques, visit our I.S. Formatting post.

An independent study typically will have the following structure.

  • Front Matter
    • Title page
    • Abstract
    • Dedication (optional)
    • Acknowledgments (optional)
    • Table of Contents
    • List of Figures (if you have figures)
    • List of Tables (if you have tables)
  • Main Matter
    • Introduction
    • Chapters
  • Back Matter
    • Appendices (optional)
    • Bibliography
    • Index (optional)
    • Afterword (optional)

With this structure it is typical for the front matter to have lowercase Roman numerals for page numbers and the rest of the document to have Arabic page numbers. The exception being the title page and back of the title page which do not get page numbers but are counted in the page total.

So, the first step in formatting your IS is to go to the Layout tab in Word and choose the Mirrored option in the Margins drop down.

Choose the mirrored option for double-sided printing.

Once you have done this then you should enable the show hidden formatting characters option on the home tab. This will let you see spaces, returns, page break, section breaks, and much more. It is a handy way to see why things might not be behaving the way you want.

Show hidden formatting characters.

Now you can begin adding text to your document. You might put some generic text in for a title and then at the end of your title you will want to insert an Odd Page section break from the Breaks drop down in the Layout tab. This will create a hidden page (the back of the title page) and force the next page to start on the right of the document (the next odd page after the title page). This is standard practice for double-sided documents.

Odd page section break.

Now you can go about putting in the other elements of your document. So, you can put in the abstract heading (make sure to give it the Heading 1 style) and then at the end of your abstract put another odd page section break. Put in your dedication page (odd page section break at the end) and acknowledgements page (odd page section break at the end), which typically do not have any heading text. Continue by adding your Table of Contents heading (making it a Heading 1) with an odd page break, then your List of Figures heading (if needed and Heading 1) with an odd page break, and List of Tables (if needed and Heading 1) with an odd page break.

You’ve now reached the main matter and you’ll continue in pretty much the same manner. Add your chapter title for a chapter (appendix/bibliography) and give it the Heading 1 style and at the end of the chapter put an odd page section break to force the next chapter to start on the right-hand side of the document.

When you are finished with all of your writing (or when you feel like just tinkering instead of writing), you can go back to the Table of Contents page and insert your table of contents. To do this you’ll choose the Custom Table of Contents option from the Table of Contents drop down on the References tab. Notice also that the Insert Table of Figures(Tables) option is also on the References tab. Once you do this you should have a table of contents with all of your chapter titles and any sub-sections or sub-sub-sections (as long as you use the appropriate heading style) and their page numbers.

Adding a Table of Contents and List of Figures(Tables).

Now it’s time to add page numbers. For this you’ll need to refer to your guidelines. If your page numbers go in the center of the top or bottom margin then things are pretty straight forward. If your page numbers need to go on the outside of the page (really the only other option for double-sided documents), then it is a little more complicated.

For people with centered page numbers, you want to double-click somewhere near the top or bottom of the page depending on your specified location to activate the Header & Footer formatting options. You can then choose Top of Page or Bottom of Page from the Page Number drop down menu on the Header & Footer Design tab and choose the centered option. Now you need to go back to each header or footer section and go back to the Page Number drop down and choose Format Page Numbers to be able to format the front matter page numbers as lowercase Roman numerals and to start the page number of the first page in the main matter at one instead of whatever the current page number in the document is. Also make sure to go to the header and footer of section 2 and deactivate the Link to Previous option to make sure there are no page numbers on the title page and back of the title page.

If your page numbers need to be on the outside of either the header or footer, then you will need to select the Different Odd & Even Pages option. This will create odd and even header sections. You’ll want to go to an odd header/footer section and insert a page number on the right and then go to an even header/footer section and insert a page number on the left. If Outside is a position option for page numbers in your version of Word then choose that and you don’t need to do the right and left positioning mentioned above. You’ll still need to do the same formatting step as mentioned above to format your front matter page numbers as Roman numerals and start the main matter at one.

Outside edge page numbers.

At this point your IS should be all set for double-sided printing. If you need to do things like have numbered chapters (Chapter One (title of your chapter)), number figures/tables within chapters, restart footnote numbers at 1 in each chapter, or insert figures and tables into your IS, then feel free to stop by the Digital Media Bar where a Digital Media Assistant can help you.

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