Microsoft Word: Using Word for Your Research Writing Project

Why not make Word do the formatting work for you?

This class is for all graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty who are interested in finding out how MS Word — often the source of much cursing during a writing project — can actually assist them in their academic writing. Although the exercises outlined in the class documentation are based on the Graduate School's dissertation/thesis requirements, the techniques learned by using templates, styles, and special document breaks can greatly assist in using Word more efficiently for research papers, journal articles, proposals, lab reports, or any other writing project.

What you should already know

This class assumes that you are able to do the following:

  • Perform basic functions of Microsoft Word such as copy and paste, apply styles, and change page setups
  • Insert graphics and tables into a document

What you will learn

This class will show you features of Microsoft Word 2013 can help you simplify and standardize your document formatting. At the end of this class you should be able to:

  • Use templates
  • Create and edit styles
  • Change the page setup
  • Understand when to use a Page break and when to use a Section break
  • Create a multi-page section with different headers and/or footers
  • Restart page numbering in the middle of a document
  • Insert and format footnotes
  • Create and update a table of contents
  • Insert figure captions and table titles
  • Create lists of figures/tables
  • Use Word's cross-referencing function to refer to figures and tables

Getting Help

The Help menu

Click the Microsoft Help icon in the upper right-hand corner to get an overview of help options.

Use the Connection Status dropdown (bottom right corner) to choose to view help offline or online. Using online help will allow you to access additional Microsoft Office resources.

Help Desk

For general assistance using MS Word, please contact the Help Desk at 631-8111.

The Graduate School

If you are working on a dissertation or thesis, please consult the Graduate School's Guide for Formatting and Submitting Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses for the official formatting guidelines. While we covered many of these formatting techniques in this class, we did not cover every detail included in the guidelines.

For questions specific to the formatting of a doctoral dissertation or master's thesis, contact the Graduate School formatting editors at or call 631-7545 (Shari Hill Sweet). For formatting and submission requirements and additional information, visit their Web site at: