CMH Publication Guidelines


Preparing a Journal Article or MUIA Text
for Desktop Publishing

When preparing an article for the Journal or for an MUIA text, the main thing to bear in mind is that the esthetic appearance of your hard copy, or manuscript, matters not at all to the editors. It will be subject to an initial editing and, marked up and scribbled on, retained for future reference.

What does matter, however, is the con­tent of your word processor computer file. This will get imported into a page layout program and reformatted for printing in the Journal. Whatever typeface you prefer to use, in whatever size, it will be con­verted automatically.

However, the computer forgets noth­ing. A lot of unwanted baggage—extra space-bar spaces, extra "carriage" returns, extra tabs-will get imported as well. For the most part, there is no way to discard these automatically. Each has to be lo­cated and deleted individually, which is time-consuming. One of our goals, then, should be to leave things out of the file that don't belong.

Typewriting vs. typesetting

Many of us came of age learning how to operate a typewriter. Two of the typewriter's prominent characteristics are a limited keyboard and monospaced char­acters. Every character, from a period to a capital W, takes up the same amount of line space as every other character. These particular features called for certain conventions that have become almost second nature to us.

But the type you create on your com­puter has more in common with commer­cial typesetting than it does with typewriting. The difference is that the pro­portionally spaced characters of commer­cial type-the kind your computer produces-opens up a whole new set of conventions and capabilities. We are go­ing to look at some of them here.

Invisible characters

Many word processors have a function that reveals, on screen, every space (•), return (¶) and tab (→). These are called "invisible characters" because they don't get printed. If you have this function, turn it on and leave it on. Once you get used to working with it (which will take very little time), you will not feel comfortable com­posing the simplest note without it.

New conventions and capabilities

One of the first things we learned in typing was to put two spaces between sentences, and doing so has become al­most an article of faith. That's fine for monospaced typewriting, but not for pro­portional typesetting. Now is the time to get used to putting just one space between sentences-or anywhere else. No longer use double-spacing for any reason.

Your typewriter couldn't make italics, so you had to use underlining instead. But your computer can make italics, so use italics everywhere you would have used underlining before. That includes pub­lished titles. For emphasis, use italics in­stead of underlining or boldface.

Your computer keyboard has virtually doubled the number of characters you could find on your typewriter keyboard. Find out what they are and where they are, and use them effectively.

Use typographer's quotes (“ ”) and apostrophes (’). The only place for type­writer quotes (") and apostrophes (') is in symbolizing inches and feet, or in using ditto marks.

Your typewriter could only give you a hyphen. Your computer can give you a hyphen (-), an en-dash (–) and an em-dash (—). Use the en-dash to separate dates (3–15 May) or page numbers (133–137). Use the em-dash where you used to use double hyphens—like this. Incidentally, there is no space on either side of the en-dash or em-dash.

To denote a missing passage within a quotation, use the ellipsis character (…) instead of three periods, so it won't get split up if it falls at the end of a line. If the ellipsis is used within a sentence, put a space before and after (like … this); if at the end of a sentence, place it after the period (like this.…). When using non-English words or names, determine if they require diacriti­cal marks and apply them if they do (René, señor, Mütze).

Title and Byline

The title of your article is always in upper and lowercase; never in caps. Don't use tabs or spaces to center the title on the page; leave it flush left. Don't use an extra return between the title and the byline.

Don't use the word "by" in the byline. If you have military status, use the military style of abbreviation.

Put an extra return between the byline and the text. This will be helpful when the title/byline gets "unlinked" from the text during the layout stage.


Never indent any paragraph with spaces or with a tab. If you want indents, use the word processor's indent tab.

Never put an extra return between para­graphs. If you would like extra space be­tween paragraphs, use the paragraph settings provided by your word processor; don't use the return key to accomplish it.

Whenever you use the return key, the computer assumes you are beginning a new paragraph. So never put a return at the end of each line as you would on a type­writer; let the computer "flow" the text from line to line until the paragraph ends. In short, don't put a return anywhere within a paragraph.

Also, let the text flow from page to page, without a break and without page numbers.

Don't manually hyphenate at the end of a line. If your word processor automati­cally sets hyphens, that's okay; but don't you do it. You can depend on it that the word will subsequently appear in the mid­dle of a line with the hyphen still attached.

All endnote citations should be in su­perscript12 like this. Don't enclose cita­tions in parentheses or brackets. If a citation is placed at the end of a sentence, there should be no space between the citation and the sentence. It follows immediately after the period, like this.12 Or, if there is any, after the close-quote, "like this."12

On that subject, all commas and peri­ods are placed before the close-quote ("like this,"). Colons and semicolons are placed after ("like this";), as is every other punc­tuation mark unless it is part of the quota­tion.

Block quotations

Create a block quotation if you think a quoted passage will run longer than three lines in the Journal.

Don't use the tab key or space bar to indent a block quotation. Use the tab set­tings provided by your word processor. As with the text, never put a return anywhere within the paragraph.

When inserting a word or a passage not in the original text, use brackets [like this] rather than parentheses.

Don't begin or end a block quotation with quotes (“ ”). Don't begin it with ellipsis points (…) unless it continues a sentence begun in the text that precedes it. End the quotation with a complete sen­tence and with an endnote citation.


Subheads should be in upper and lower case. Don't put an extra return between the subhead and the paragraph that precedes it or the one that follows.


It would be very helpful if you could put your endnotes into a separate file. Otherwise it will be necessary to "cut and paste" each endnote individually into an­other file, consuming time and enhancing the possibility of error.

When you do create a separate file, begin with the heading, "Notes" in upper and lower case. Use regular text, not superscript, for the endnote numbers. Follow each number with a period, and then one tab (1.→). Don't put any space-bar spaces between the number and the beginning of the endnote text; just the one tab.

Never put an extra return between endnotes.

Figure captions

Illustrations should be identified with a figure number. The caption starts with "FIG" (in caps) followed by a space, the number, and then a period and another space (FIG 2.). FIG has no period after it. The caption itself starts on the same line as the figure number.

Put an extra return between each cap­tion.

True fractions

There is such a difference between the Mac and PC platforms, as well as between word processors, that no blanket recom­mendations can be made for creating true fractions.

In general, the first number of a fraction is in superscript, and the second number in subscript. There is no space between a fraction and a whole number that precedes it (2½).

If your word processor provides frac­tions as individual characters, don't use them. They are not recognized by the page layout program.

If your word processor allows you to use a fraction bar, use it rather than the more common slash. Your fraction will then remain intact; if it falls at the end of a line, you won't find part of it on the next line. (Besides, it makes a more profes­sional-looking fraction: 2½ as opposed to 21/2).


As with true fractions, it is not feasible to give much guidance in the construction of tables.

In general, follow your word processor's manual for the setting of tabs. Try to get the columns to align without using the space bar.

Spell check

When you have finished keypunching your manuscript, use your word processor's spell checker to locate typos. But don't rely on it exclusively. Many misspelled words come out as correctly spelled words in another context, lake this.

Some highlights

• Use only one space between sentences- or anywhere else.
• Use italics instead of underlining or boldface.
• Place all commas and periods inside a close-quote; all other punctuation out­side unless it is part of the quotation.
• Do not use the tab key or space bar to indent a paragraph or to position a line on the page.
• Do not use the return key except at the end of a paragraph.
• Do not put extra returns between para­graphs of the text, between endnotes, or between pages.

A highly recommended book

For additional information on typogra­phy for desktop publishing, there is a slim and relatively inexpensive paperback book with alternate titles, depending on your platform: The PC Is Not a Typewriter or The Mac Is Not a Typewriter. The author of both versions is Robin Williams (not the comedian, although her style is lively and amusing). She will convert you from a typist to a typographer, using your own word processor. The publisher is Peachpit Press of Berkeley, California. See your book dealer for the price of the latest editions.

Prepared by Eric I. Manders



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