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Manuscript Preparation

Charles King's guide to manuscript preparation for authors and editors is available in two formats.

Printable version. (203k Acrobat PDF)

On-screen version. (Page by page in browser, 26 pages)

As mentioned in the guide, you can download the printable keyboard shortcuts for special character generation here:

Windows. (76k Acrobat PDF)

Macintosh. (87k Acrobat PDF)

Recommendations Discussed in the Guide

  • Use a style guide like The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Be consistent.
  • Review non-printing as well as printing characters.
  • A manuscript should be a single, comprehensive DOC or RTF word processing file.
  • Use simple {callouts} (instructions for the typesetter not intended to be printed) for image insertions, internal references and sidebars.
  • Use minimal effective formatting.
  • Restrain your word processor's "autocorrect" feature.
  • Use one space at ends of sentences.
  • Either single or double vertical line spacing is fine.
  • Prefer italics and small caps to the much more intrusive bold, underlining, and all caps.
  • Work on an index only after typeset is complete and approved as final.
  • Don't marry your formatting to the 8.5" x 11" page (especially poetry).
  • Use indents to begin paragraphs, not tabs or spaces.
  • Ellipses should have non-breaking spaces before and between the dots. Exception: where abutting quotation marks, no space between quote mark and first/last dot.
  • Use dashes consistently and use a correct symbol for them.
  • Use en dashes rather than hyphens to indicate ranges.
  • Make quotes, apostrophes, inch marks, and foot marks the proper shapes.
  • Make sure punctuation is correctly italic or not by context.
  • Avoid ordinals and blue website/email links.
  • Use page breaks rather than repeatedly striking the Enter key to advance to the next page.
  • And more . . .