Formatting and Presenting Your Assignments

Although your university may have specific guidelines regarding formatting, there are some general rules that you should follow. Presentation and careful attention to detail are important, not only to make your assignment readable but also to give a good impression. Careless mistakes suggest that you couldn’t be bothered to check your work or rushed it in order to meet the deadline.

Check university guidelines or course details for information on formatting and presentation. Consult your tutor if in doubt.

General formatting guidelines:

  • Work in MS Word or Open Office
  • Use a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial in 12 point. Avoid using difficult to read or ‘gimmicky’ fonts, unless you are creating a
  • PowerPoint presentation where a creative font may be appropriate and enhance the work.
  • Avoid overuse of quotes, as this can appear unoriginal and give the impression of being used as padding.
  • Check for consistency throughout. Are section titles in the correct font size? Have you cited books correctly in footnotes?
  • Use spell check, but read through your assignment carefully as well. This will pick up mistakes like ‘there’ for ‘their’ that a spell check function will miss.
  • Left-align your paper and use 1.5 or double-spacing so that your tutor has space to comment.
  • Place headings in bold, but do not underline.
  • Most assignments will not require headings. If you need them, use bold.
  • Create a title page, with the assignment title, course name and number, and your name and number.
  • Number all pages except the title page.
  • There should be a blank line between paragraphs.
  • Add a word count at the end, before references and appendices. Keep as closely to the required word count as possible, and avoid going well over it (edit your assignment down if that is the case). Appendices should not be included in the word count.
  • Appendices are a useful way to add information that supplements your content, or that are too lengthy for inclusion. If you have more than one appendix, label them A, B etc.
  • Aside from the title page, each page should include a header and footer, with your name, student number, course title, assignment number and page number.
Section Description
Font Times New Roman is usually preferred.
Margins 2.5cm wide.
Title 18-point font, bold, centred, in title case.
Author details 11-point font size, bold, and centred. Underneath add your name, your ID, and the name of your tutor, in separate lines.
Main text 12-point font size, regular, justified, single-spaced. Omit paragraph indents, and leave a blank line between paragraphs
Section titles
  • Main titles should be in 14 point font size, upper and lower case, and in bold. Number titles.
  • Secondary titles should be in 12 point font size, numbered, and in bold. Add a second number (1.1, 1.2, 1.3). Add a blank line before and after each title.
Tables and figures Tables and figures should be in the body of the paper, and numbered as Table 1, Figure 2, etc. Provide a short explanatory caption for each.

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