Fonts, Formats and You – Making You and Your Coursework Look Good

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It’s hard to remember when precisely it happened, but computers really have revolutionised how nearly everything is done today. Whether you tap it on a tablet or key it into a keyboard, computers have made it easier to get things done right. Ofcourse, they’ve also made it so much easier to get things spectacularly wrong. For example, launching a spaceship to Mars while giving it instructions in meters that it understands in terms of feet…

Memo to Mission Control – the difference between meters and feet is actually quite important on a 286 million km journey”

Fortunately, none of our students are involved in launching satellites to distant worlds (yet). Nevertheless, the presentation of your coursework is always a matter to bear in mind when putting together an assignment you intend to send in for your tutor. While it’s true that you aren’t in general being marked on your presentation, making your assignments difficult to read by neglecting sensible font choices and selection may result in your tutor failing to understand your work and your efforts not being correctly recognised.

Here’s a few tips to bear in mind before submitting your masterwork to make sure all your effort gets the result it deserves:

 

1. Pick Your Format Wisely

The Scientists at CERN are well known for their work in searching for the elusive Higgs-Boson particle. Called the God Particle, they believe that it’s discovery will unlock some of the very secrets of creation itself. They also earned world-wide derision and mockery for their decision to use Comic Sans as the font when giving a major presentation of their discoveries to the world:
 

This is how you announce a triumph in Science!
 

A playful and jovial font, Comic Sans is largely regarded as something for less serious occasions, and using it in serious work is the equivalent of going to a funeral in a clown suit.

In a similar manner, it’s best to pick a font that’s appropriate for the tone of the work you are writing. We recommend fonts such as Courier, Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri and Verdana as fonts for submitting your reports in. While you are free to use whatever font you wish, bear in mind that more exotic fonts may not display correctly, or indeed at all, on your tutor's computer.

2. Our Tutors aren’t blind (but they don’t have super human vision either)

You're not fooling anyone about the length of your assignment by writing in 36pt.
 

Keep your font size to something sensible. Generally 10-12 is appropriate depending on the precise font you are using, with larger sizes reserved for section headings and chapter starts. We really don’t recommend writing in anything smaller or larger than this for general assignment work.

3. Formatting a document is like adding spices to food – over do them and you’ll ruin the whole thing.

You can do some amazing things with bold, italic and underline formatting for making key points in the body of your text stand out. It’s really great for drawing emphasis to some particular idea or concept you want to convey to your reader.

However, remember to use it sparingly! If you completely over-do it you’ll end up with an unreadable mess and that’s not good for anyone.

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