Formatting Your Thesis

Thesis layout and presentation

University guidelines on the layout and presentation of your thesis are available. It is recommended that you consult them if you are unsure of how to present your thesis. You should also check with your School if they have any specific requirements for thesis presentation.

For further help with preparing your thesis you are strongly encouraged to attend the course on 'Using Word to prepare your thesis' run by IT Services. This course is primarily based on the University guidelines mentioned already.

Conversion to PDF

The required format for deposit in the Theses Service is PDF. It is assumed that you will be using a standard piece of software to create the electronic version of your thesis, e.g. Microsoft Word, OpenOffice Writer or LaTeX. Before you deposit your thesis you need to convert it to PDF format. Ideally your thesis should consist of a single PDF file. However, it is acceptable to deposit a small number of individual files if you experience major difficulties in producing a single file for conversion to PDF. Before converting to PDF you need to ensure that you have incorporated any elements of the thesis created in programmes such as Excel, Access, PowerPoint etc. into the main body of the thesis. If using Microsoft Word to produce your thesis, you should do this by using the Insert>Object, Insert>Picture or Insert>File options rather than by copying and pasting. However, if there are e.g. multimedia elements that you are unable to incorporate into the main body of your thesis it may be possible to to upload these as a separate file. See Depositing associated multimedia files for more information on what can be deposited. Details of how to deposit associated multimedia files can be found in Depositing your thesis.

For help and advice on preparing the electronic version of your thesis you will find it extremely useful to attend the course on 'Using Word to prepare your thesis' run by IT Services. The course will include information on how to convert your thesis to PDF. While you are strongly encouraged to attend this course, the documentation for the course can also be accessed here:

Main course notes [PDF - campus only]

University thesis preparation guidelines [PDF - campus only]

List of thesis styles [PDF - campus only]

Template 1 - to be used when ready to combine chapters and create complete thesis [Word template file Thesis1_2010.dotx - campus only]

Template 2  - to be used to create all individual chapters [Word template file Thesis2_2010.dotx - campus only]

To access these files login with your GUID. If you still cannot open the files e-mail

If you have any questions about the use of these files, please contact Judith Harriman-Hunter ( ext. 4858).

This documentation is for the use of University of Glasgow students only.


You should save the PDF version of your thesis using the following filename format:

year - name - degree.pdf e.g. 2007smithphd.pdf or 2008jonesmphil.pdf

If you need to deposit two files, one complete and one with 3rd party copyright material edited out you should give them different filenames using the following format:

Public version: year - name - degree.pdf (e.g. 2007smithphd.pdf)

Full (not for public view) version: year - name - degree internal.pdf (e.g. 2007smithphdinternal.pdf)

If you need to deposit additional multimedia files that cannot be incorporated into the main PDF file you should use the same file name with the addition of information about the type of media being deposited. e.g.


File size

If you are concerned that your PDF file is very large please contact for advice on the options available. The online deposit system can cope with very large files being deposited, but from the point of view of people trying to access your thesis it is best if PDF files are kept to a reasonable size.

Instructions for conversion to PDF

To convert your thesis to PDF format using a CSCE PC or a PC running the Standard Staff Desktop you have various options. If you have access to a computer running Office 2010 you can use the Save as PDF option in Word. In addition, all PCs in the Library offer access to PDF Creator. To use PDF Creator:

  • Open your thesis in Word or Writer
  • Choose File- Print
  • In the drop-down box opposite Printer name choose PDF Creator
  • Click OK
  • You will then be asked to supply various pieces of information including document title and author. You do not need to complete the subject and keywords fields
  • Click on Options and then on the link to PDF under Formats
  • Next click on the Security tab
  • Click on Use security
  • Ensure that the option to disallow copying text and images is selected
  • Click on Save
  • You will now be back at the original screen - click on Save
  • Name your file according to the convention specified
  • Choose where you want to save the file to.
  • Click on Save
  • A box will appear asking for a password - click the Cancel button
  • A box will then appear saying that the document is not protected - this is fine (it means that user of your thesis will not be asked for a username and password to read it). Click on Ok
  • Your thesis will then be saved as a PDF file. Note that it may take several minutes to convert a large file. If you have problems converting to PDF because your file is very large it may be necessary to spilt it into chapters and to upload each separately.
  • The PDF file will be automatically opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader so you can check it.

If you have created the electronic version of your thesis using LaTeX then you are probably already proficient in producing PDF output. The main routes are by (1) distilling postscript output, for example using PDF Creator described above, (2) using dvipdfm to convert the standard dvi output from LaTeX or (3) using pdfLaTeX to produce PDF output in a single step. Further information can be obtained from the UK List of TeX Frequently Asked Questions: "Making Acrobat PDF documents from (La)TeX".

If you have used a Mac to prepare your thesis you should be able to create a PDF version by choosing the option to Print to PDF.

If you have access to the full version of Adobe Acrobat you will also be able to use this to convert your thesis to PDF format. The full version of Adobe Acrobat is now available on the scanner PCs on Level 3 of the Library. If you are having difficulties using PDF Creator to produce a PDF version of your thesis it is recommended that you use the full version of Adobe Acrobat instead.

If you are off campus you can download a free copy of PDF Creator and install this on your own computer.

Depositing associated multimedia files

The main body of your thesis, including associated images, data, tables etc. must be deposited as a PDF document. However, if your thesis has associated multimedia e.g. sound file or video clips these can be uploaded separately. There are no restrictions on the type of multimedia files that can be uploaded, but no guarantee can be give that such files will continue to be accessible in the future. The relevant software for playing such files will not be provided by the Thesis Service. If you are providing the full text of your thesis on a CD-ROM/memory stick you must include on the disk a separate file that explains what the associated files, i.e. name of file, what type of file it is, what the file consists of, so that when your thesis is made publicly available Library staff know what the files are. If you do not include this we may not be able to upload the files. Note that you should only upload multimedia files where you own the copyright, or where you have cleared any necessary rights.

Creating an edited version of your thesis

If you have been unable to secure all the necessary third party copyright permissions for your thesis you will not be able to make the full version available online. You will still be required to deposit this copy, and it will be held securely. However, you may wish to make an edited version publicly available. If this is the case you should save an additional copy of your thesis, remove the relevant material and insert a place holder at this point in the document, e.g.

Figure (Text/Chart/Diagram/image etc.) has been removed due to Copyright restrictions.

Remember that you need to deposit both the full and the edited version of your thesis, and that these should be given different Filenames.

Presentation of the print thesis

The following guidelines apply specifically to the print version of your thesis:

  • Good quality paper (range 70g/m2>100g/m2) of A4 size should be used. Margins should be not less than 15mm, and 40mm at binding edge.
  • The thesis should be firmly sewn and securely attached to its boards to ensure sufficient rigidity to support the weight of the work when standing on a shelf. The boards should be of dark coloured cloth. The author's name and title of the thesis should appear on the front cover; and the author's name (including initials), the degree for which submitted and the year of submission should appear on the spine, lettered from top to bottom. The volume number (if any) should also be given on the spine.
  • Illustrations of all kinds should normally be bound in with the thesis. Any material which cannot conveniently be bound should be packaged so that it can be kept with the thesis, and should be labelled in a similar way.

A list of local bookbinders is available.