Handling & Formatting a Manuscript

Editing stage

There will be a lot of back and forth between you and your advisor/co-authors before your manuscript is ready for submission. Therefore it is important to keep things simple when your manuscript is in the editing stage. This avoids time wasted on formatting and program incompatibilities.

  • Use the set of ‘lab’ programs and “lab” file formats when editing manuscripts
  • Avoid extensive formatting (tabs, double spacing, columns) until the very end of editing the manuscript (submission stage).
  • Do not include images in the manuscript text
    Make one odt/doc document that contains images with the image captions
  • Do not include tables in the manuscript text
    Make one odt/doc document that contains all the tables
  • Do not use EndNote or other reference managers, as your advisor/collaborators may not use the same program. Just go with a place holder, e.g. [BigCheese(2001)_Science] until the editing stage is completed.
  • If there are more than a couple of files you send to co-authors, send all files (manuscript, images, data, etc) in a zip container.

Naming conventions

Manuscripts should indicate the author and date associated with it and also a ‘revision history’.


Svein is the first author of the manuscript and the first version is sent to his colleague ‘Olav ‘on the 1st of January 2012.

  • Svein(2012_01_01)_PhotoSynthRes_S.odt

After ‘Olav’ edits the manuscript and sends it back the next day, then the manuscript should have this new name:

  • Svein(2012_01_02)_PhotosynthRes_S_O.odt

If you have manuscript versions you create in one day you can use characters with the date:

  • Svein(2012_01_02)_PhotosynthRes_S_O.odt
  • Svein(2012_01_02a)_PhotosynthRes_S_O.odt
  • Svein(2012_01_02b)_PhotosynthRes_S_O.odt

Images & tables

Separate image and table files should be named following the same conventions as the manuscript.


  • Martin(2012_01_01)_PhotosynRes_Table_M.odt
  • Martin(2012_01_01)_PhotosynRes_Figures_M.odt

Final Editing & Submission

Check the guidelines for writing of your thesis / the journal you want to submit your manuscript to:

  • accepted text format (font, font size)
  • accepted images format and resolution (usually tiff and eps)
  • spacing (usually 1.5 / double spacing)
  • style of referencing

Before submission

  • include page numbers
  • include line numbers
  • insert references
  • check that “Results”, “Introduction” etc. start on a separate page.

If possible, do not submit individual images and tables, but (in addition) a table summary and images summary (in pdf format), which also contains all the captions. This will make it more convenient and enjoyable for the reviewer to read your manuscript.