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Use the menu below to review the basic elements of documentation styles:

Paper Formats

Almost all of the documentation styles offer guidelines for the appearance of your final draft.

However, all of the style guides defer to the requirements of the individual assignment. Therefore, you should follow your course instructor's instructions for preparing the final draft.

Page formatting

Most documentation styles call for a minimum of one inch of space on all sides, and for all elements of your text to be double-spaced.

The appearance of certain elements, such as page numbers, indented quotations, and title pages varies; check with the documentation style you're using for specifics.


You may find that dividing a longer paper into sections with headings helps you organize it more effectively.

If this is the case, you should find out if the documentation style you're using establishes standards for their appearance.

The APA style's headings structure, for example, is quite detailed, while the MLA style establishes no standard for headings.

Indexes and tables of contents

If your document is long enough to require an index or a table of contents, you should check the style manual for the documentation style you're using.

If that style offers no specific guidance, you may consult the Chicago Manual of Style, whose advice in these areas can be relied upon in the absence of other instructions.


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