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Document setup

Create a separate page for every chapter in your thesis

When creating a long document such as a thesis, it is best practise to work with separate sub-documents of no longer than fifty pages each, until you’re ready to submit the final thesis document. They are easier for your computer processor, and Word, to manage. They are also far less likely to get corrupted if you work this way.

See the final steps page to find out how to combine these together to make the final thesis document.

Display ruler and non-printing formatting

While working in your document, you may want to verify the margin settings, or table column widths, etc. Turning on the ruler lets you see the exact sizes of these.

It is also a good idea to display all the formatting, even the features that will not print, like spaces, page breaks, etc. You can always turn it back off when you are writing.

Set up margins and gutter

Do these in every document in your thesis.

Add Page Numbers

The preliminary pages (Preface, Abstract, etc) require lower-case roman numerals, and the first chapter (or Introduction) begins on page 1.

Also, you do not display the page number on the title page, but you still count it.

Modify styles and create a style set

These are critical to formatting your thesis. Follow instructions on the Styles page.


If you are using EndNote as your citation management software be sure to look at the excellent EndNote resources provided by the University of Otago Library. You can also contact your Subject Librarian for help with EndNote.