Though this is going to come as a bit of a shock, any formatting that requires more than the font menu and line spacing, don’t do it on a Mac. Even with the most updated version of Microsoft Word for Mac, there is formatting that will not transfer from Mac to PC to PDF. In fact some of it breaks your file, and if your not careful, you’ll lose days of work. The only way to do everything the right way is by switching to PC. Save yourself the trouble and hold the more advanced formatting for when you switch to PC.
Don’t spend your time trying to export or save to PDF on your Mac, the process doesn’t work the right way.
This is the one exception to Tip #1. Either on Mac or on PC, use the Styles Menu in Word for your Headings 1 and 2. This will help you navigate your paper much faster as you go along.
Never open your document in Google Docs and then re-download it as a Word document. The conversion changes formatting so much that when you open it back up in Word there are more problems than you’d think possible. It can be bad enough that you have to strip all formatting from the paper and start over.
This is a rather small thing, but has caused many to have their ETD’s rejected. The name you put on the first page is the same one that shows up on your defense form. If your defense form puts your middle name down, that goes on your paper. If its only the middle initial, that’s what goes on your paper. Its small, but can save you a lot of time in the long run.
Edits can be done on the PDF (in Acrobat Pro) if it’s a line level change, like altering a name/date or correctly spelling a word. If the pagination changes at all, even by one line, the changes will need to be made in Word and then be re-exported to PDF. The one exception to this rule is the lines with your Table of Contents or List of Figures/Tables. The leaders (the …… between the section in your paper and the page number) are automatic in Word but not in PDF. So if something in those tables needs to change, don’t waste time by trying to change them in the PDF, it’ll be faster and look better if you change them in Word.
Wait to export to PDF until you have most of your paper finished. It will save a lot of time, especially since many don’t have Acrobat Pro to perform the necessary edits.
Make sure that your ‘All Rights Reserved’ and keywords line on your title page and abstract respectively, are flush with the bottom margin of your page.