LDS&F (Long Documents Structuring & Formatting)

Let’s distinguish between two types of documents:

  1. Short documents ( 30 pages )
  2. Long documents (50 page and above).

To handle longer documents we need techniques called LDS&F (long documents structuring & formatting ) techniques. To write a long document using the basic knowledge in MS Word requires a time that is exponentially proportional to the log of the number of pages. The relation between the number of pages and the time to properly format these pages is not a linear relation e.g. if it takes you 1 hour to write and format 50 pages, then it takes you 2½ hours to write and format 100 pages.

Most of the university don’t pay much attention to LDS&F. For two reasons:

  1.  Most  journal papers are considered short documents, total length of 90% of the journal papers are less than 3000 words . Hence to write a journal paper you don’t need LDS&F.
  2.  The hypothesis or pre-assumption that the students know MS Word very well, and that they don’t need any support.

In fact there is a general confusion between the basic skills required for daily tasks in MS Word, and the advanced skilled required for LDS&F.

I want to ask a question, your answer is very important:

How many of the following ‘MS-Word-tools’ do you use in a daily basis?

  1. Section breaks
  2. Styles
  3.  Cross reference
  4. Landscape pages
  5. Captions
  6. And finally, do you know the difference between dotx files and docx files.

If your answer is less than 4 then I advise you to consider LDS&F revision or training.

I have been working with many Postgraduates and some faculty members, many of them are so busy and consumed by the research problems. They don’t have time to learn LDS&F methods or they are underestimating the topic.

A good university will direct its faculty members to learn LDS&F in an early stages of their academic career and the PGs to learn it in early stages of their thesis writing. The point here is that a systematic effort must be mobilized by any academic institutions to promote and implement the LDS&F methods amongst their faculty members and students… This will save a lot of the time and efforts spent on minor LDS&F using improper techniques. And believe it or not , this will lead to an advance in the university Ranking !

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