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Writing & EditingFaculty & Staff Resources

In most cases, the originating office is responsible for providing the text to be used in a publication. Communications staff writers who do original work generally provide material only for major or designated college publications. However, an office staff member is usually available to provide ideas or suggestions to campus authors.

It is important that the manuscript brought to the Office of Communications be complete and have the final approval of all appropriate individuals. There should be no missing sections or extensive changes once office staff members begin work on your project. Making changes once production has begun will prolong the time it takes to complete the project significantly, and may force your job to be returned to the end of the job queue. It also affects the number of publications projects office staff members may undertake in a year.

While the writing style of any publication should be appropriate to the intended audience, the office is committed to plain talk in college publications. Staff members will try to eliminate academic or scientific jargon, gender-based or discriminatory language, wordy passages, and abstract words when editing.

Information on basic writer’s references used by the Office of Communications can be found at College Styles.

Manuscript Preparation

After writing and editing, please prepare your manuscript carefully according to the guidelines to facilitate the work of Communications editors and designers. Clean, complete, and well prepared copy can save considerable production time.

  • All manuscripts should be provided in digital form in a compatible word-processing program. News and Pubs uses Microsoft Word for the Macintosh as its standard word-processing program. Compatible programs include any other Mac-based word-processing software and most popular IBM programs, including Word or Office for Windows. Contact the office if you have questions about software.
  • The author/originating office should supply Communications with two clean printed copies of the manuscript (one for the editor and one for the designer).
  • Text should be double-spaced with generous margins on all sides of the page on 8-1/2x11 inch white paper. Every page should be numbered consecutively.
  • Separate chapters of your publication, or distinct pieces (e.g., a list of your Advisory Committee members) should be saved in separate files. Discuss with Communications staff which sections of your manuscript should be saved in separate files.
  • Please do not use elaborate formatting in your word-processed text. Don't try to make it look like your version of a printed publication. Most likely, the designer will change your specifications and your effort to make this material pretty will increase the editing, preparation, and layout time for the publication.
  • If you have material that should be emphasized, or have specific requirements or preferences for the material’s presentation, discuss this with the Communications staff, and indicate it in penciled margin notes on one copy of your manuscript.
  • Tables of information and other columnar material (such as spreadsheet or budget data) sometimes present problems when moving text from a word-processor document to page layout software such as Adobe PageMaker or Quark Express. If you have such material in your publication, bring it to the attention of the Communications staff before you begin typing so that we may advise you on how best to proceed.
  • Use only one space between sentences (or words). The typesetting software will insert additional spacing appropriate to the type size and style.
  • For instructions on revising an already published piece, contact Communications.

Direct any questions about manuscript preparation to the office.