Formatting mistakes in scientific papers can be the reason why you do not get the hoped-for top marks for your work in the end. Because these factors are also included in the grading of your work. If you do not adhere to the specifications of your university or university, you must expect a corresponding deduction.

How do I avoid frequent formatting errors?

However, frequent formatting errors in scientific work can be avoided by correcting the work according to the four- or six-eyes principle. This means that there is a second person, or maybe even two more people, who look at the work before the final delivery and check those things. The most common mistakes when formatting a scientific paper can also be avoided with the help of the following tips.

  • Most common formatting errors in scientific papers – many students make these mistakes
  • Wrong font size
  • Some students choose a wrong font size to get bigger. It is a bad solution and it immediately stands out! Unfortunately, far too many students are not aware that the footnotes should use a consistently smaller font size than the main text of their work.

Wrong paragraph alignment

A fluttering text is not a good solution in a scientific paper. When fluttering (where the text is left justified), the reading flow is disturbed and visually the work does not look so good.

Incorrect line spacing
Too small or too large a line spacing also disturbs the reading flow. You should choose the usual line spacing (1.5).

Non-automatically generated directories
Non-automatically created directories will cause many problems each time you insert new figures, tables, headings, and so on. This will make your work confusing.

Wrong image formats

After all, it is the case with most printers that certain image formats are not supported. For example, if the student has incorporated a GIF file and not a JPEG file into their work, this image may not be displayed correctly in the finished print version of the work.

Non-uniform citation
Although each university creates an individualized guide for its students, one rule is constant: the work must be consistently formatted.

This is how scientific papers are formatted correctly
Below you can take a look at the most important formatting rules:

Correct font and size as well as line spacing
Main part of the scientific work: Font size 12 point and line spacing 1.5. Font: Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Computer Modern

Justify alignment
The text body and all quotes should also use a justified justification. For footnotes and bibliography, however, the left-aligned orientation is to be selected.

Footnotes and quotes

Footnotes and citations over several lines: font size 10 and a single line spacing

Heading: Font size 14 point and bold text, no punctuation at the end of the title

Automatic directories
Directories in a scientific paper should always be created automatically to avoid many formatting errors.

title page
The title page should be kept clear and structured. Unnecessary italics or bold of words should be avoided. Much more important is the larger font size for the title of the work, which should be put in bold.

Automatic hyphenation
The hyphenation feature guarantees even spacing between words while saving space in the Word document.


A sheet titled “Appendix” should be inserted in the back of the page (this page can not be numbered), followed by the contents of the attachment (all remaining pages in the appendix are numbered consecutively with Roman numerals).

Automatic page numbers
In a scientific paper you can automatically insert the page numbers in the following places: header, footer, margins, current position.

In Word, it is possible to customize or select predefined margin settings. The Word document automatically sets a page margin of 2.5 cm around each page.

Statutory declaration
Affidavit should be inserted on a separate page. The template for the affidavit can be found on the homepage of your university.

Avoid most common formatting errors
Most common formatting errors in scientific work can be a problem even if z. B. the bachelor thesis goes to press. Such very obvious mistakes are very annoying because they can cost a lot of money. However, if there is not enough time left for a second print job, the examiners will notice mistakes like this all the more clearly.

Close consultation with the printer
In any case, it is important to keep in close contact with the responsible printing company in order to avoid further possible mistakes. Every print shop publishes different guidelines, which for example also refer to the margin on the left, where the work is bound later.

Other important tips for correct formatting

To the correct margin, most universities and colleges issue their own guidelines. Incidentally, the entire document should be formatted uniformly. This means that the line spacing in the main part must not be reduced or enlarged, so that it is easier to display an image on the desired page. Underlines and a bold text should be avoided in the text. Capital letters belong only to the beginning of the word.

Italics are also reserved for the following words only:

• words in a foreign language (meaning no foreign words)
• Book title
• Neologisms
• Emphasizing / highlighting (alternatively an extended character spacing can be used)

As a general rule, these formatting requirements are best reviewed at the end and the work is then to be brought into a uniform form. It does not matter at all if you do not pay attention to these subtleties, provided that they are corrected before the final delivery of the work.

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