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General instructions for Word

This section can also be viewed in .pdf format.

An objective of the McGill e-Thesis Project was to create a means to ensure the long-term preservation and long-term accessibility of theses created at McGill University. The submitted theses will be archived as XML, which is a subset of SGML, a markup language for the interchange of structured data.


The McGill EDT Menu

The basis for SGML/XML is the description of the contents, not the layout. Because of that, there are criteria which a Word document must meet. Since SGML/XML documents are structured on content, the required information must be contained in the Word document, which is achieved through tagging certain sections of text by applying McGill ETD styles. This is why the tags are so important and must be used correctly. If an element is not properly tagged, the XML converter cannot correctly function. Tags cannot be used for elements for which they were not designed since the XML converter will handle them differently and errors will arise. The McGill EDT menu provides the necessary tags for marking up a McGill Electronic Thesis. When working with the McGill EDT, you can see which tag has been applied to a given section of text by placing your cursor on the text and looking at the style dropdown box which is located on the left side of the toolbar. The style underneath your cursor, whether a character or inline style, will always show in the style dropdown box. The current paragraph, heading or block style will show on the left-hand side of your screen if you are in Normal Layout view.

Title Page Sub-Menu

The title page of the McGill Dissertation Sample illustrates how to use the tags found in the McGill EDT Title Page sub-menu. Please note that all tags in this sub-menu must be present in your document.

The Front Section Sub-Menu

The Dedication, Acknowledgements, Abstract and Abrégé/Résumé (French abstract) of the McGill Dissertation Sample illustrate the application of the tags found in the McGill EDT Front Section sub-menu. Note that the texts following these headings use special body tags. It is important to use these tags rather than the Normal Paragraph Style (also known as McGill_BodyText style) used to identify the main body of the thesis. The McGill EDT Front Section sub-menu also contains heading tags for Table of Contents, List of Figures, List of Tables, List of Objects and List of Symbols. Please use the Insert Table of Contents, Insert List of Figures and Insert List of Tables buttons to create content for these sections. Do not create them manually. List of Objects and List of Symbols on the other hand can be created manually.

The Headings Sub-Menu

The McGill Dissertation Sample also illustrates the application of chapter and subheadings found in the McGill EDT Headings sub-menu. Note that it is important to apply these headings according to the function which they serve. Do not use them for their visual formatting in a context not intended for their use, e.g. using Subheading 3 for emphasis in the middle of a paragraph. Subheading 3 should only be used for the third level of subheading within a chapter.

Lists, Tables, Figures and Formulae Sub-Menus

Use the items in this menu to identify these elements in your document. Tables must be created using the Tables sub-menu. Please do not use the Tab key to create columns in your document, otherwise the table will be lost during the conversion process. Every table and figure must be accompanied by a caption, one per figure or table.

The Special Cases Sub-Menu

The Special Cases sub-menu provides support for text such as inline quotes, e.g. "To be or not to be" and inline verse, e.g. "There was a McGill PhD / who used the McGill EDT / ...", and also block verse and block quotes, e.g.:

The two principal advantages of submitting an electronic thesis are that students can present their research in more interesting ways and their research can be more easily and widely disseminated, particularly since electronic theses can be full-text searchable.1

Endnotes, subscript and superscript can also be applied by using this sub-menu.

The Appendices Sub-Menu

The Appendices sub-menu is similar to the Front Section sub-menu. It provides a way of applying heading and body tags to any appendices and list of abbreviations you may wish to include.

The Bibliography Sub-Menu

It is important that bibliographic references be correctly tagged. Amongst other things, correctly tagged references will allow targeted searching for cited authors or works. The Bibliography should use the Heading - Bibliography tag, and each bibliographic reference should be enclosed in a Bibliography Entry tag. You must, at a minimum, tag authors and titles, you may also tag publisher, place of publication, date of publication, and a number of other components of a bibliographic reference. You can see the available tags in the Bibliography sub-menu. An example is given at the end of the McGill Dissertation Sample. Use Normal Layout to see how the tags are applied.

The Emphasis Sub-Menu

As was stated at the beginning of this section, SGML is a markup language which describes contents and not layout. The McGill EDT provides a way of applying formatting such as bold, italics, and underline to your document, while preserving the semantic importance of the document. The Sample Dissertation provides numerous examples.

Normal Paragraph Style, Normal Layout and Print Layout

Normal Paragraph Style is the tag applied to the main body of the thesis text. You can apply this tag by highlighting the appropriate text and choosing Normal Paragraph Style from the McGill EDT menu. Other tags may be applied to text within a paragraph. See the McGill Dissertation Sample for examples. Normal Layout and Print Layout provide two ways of viewing your document. In Normal Layout you can see which tags have been applied to which portions of text in the left hand margin. In Print Layout, you can see your document as it would normally print, including end notes.


It is important to use the pagination function of the McGill EDT, rather than numbering your pages by hand. This allows us to capture and preserve page breaks during the conversion process. In order to use the McGill ETD pagination function you must first use Word's page numbering feature to insert page numbers into your document ( Choose "page numbers ..." from the Insert menu). You only need to apply this function once, after you have finished the final edit of your thesis. If you make subsequent changes which affect page numbers, first use the McGill ETD pagination function to remove all pagination tags, and then reapply them.

Table of contents, list of figures and list of tables

As was mentioned above, the insert/update table of contents, list of figures and list of tables functions should be used to create and update these components of your thesis. Again, if you create them by hand, they will not be correctly converted.

Dissertation sample

The McGill Dissertation Sample button generates a thesis template which can be used as a starting point for creating your own thesis. It also includes the explanations provided in this section, along with illustrations of how the tags should be applied. Make sure you open a new window before choosing this option, otherwise this document will be inserted in its entirety into whatever document you currently have open.

Validation check

The validation check provides very basic checking to ensure that key components of your thesis have been tagged. This function checks that all the components of a title page exist as tags in your document, along with abstracts in both official languages, bibliographic references, at least one chapter heading, and pagination.

NB You will get a message that the validation check has failed if you have used tabs, text boxes, drawing object, background colours, columns or nested lists. You will have to remove these invalid elements.