Writers- Do not use Tab indent!

indent01As I am compiling this anthology, I’ve come to realize that many writers take for granted the little thing we call formatting; they automatically double space, two spaces between sentences, or they add 5 space indents manually.

What I mean by manually is that you use the TAB button each time you indent a new paragraph.

Why is this an issue? Simple- it’s a nightmare for editors to format consistency in an anthology when submissions vary their formatting, and changing those formats can be a nightmare when anything is done manually.

indentIf you indent with the TAB button each time, that means someone like me must go through the entire document, changing the indents to fit the guidelines, when MS Word provides a paragraph format tool to change indents automatically for the entire document.

I also now realize the importance of following guidelines. I tried to be basic, but still find myself having to adjust and re-format the documents sent to me.

Some writers use a different font, double space (or single space), while others prefer the 1.25” margin rather than the 1” margin. Some prefer 5 space indents, while others use 3 space indents, while others use full block style.

This is just a short rant as I return to working on the anthology. It has grown a bit larger than I expected, with more work than I anticipated. It will, however, get done.

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2 Comments

Filed under Editing, tip, Writer

2 responses to “Writers- Do not use Tab indent!

  1. Writers are taught in school to use MLA guidelines, and keyboarding classes teach 5 space indents, double-line spacing, 12 point font, and two spaces at the end of a sentence. Is publishing sticking to those familiar guidelines? Some
    I

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    • Times are changing. I’ve found several places that say no more to the two spaces at the end of a sentence, and double space can sometimes be triple space (depending on which publishing guidelines you follow). It bears to say, ALWAYS follow whatever guidelines is set by the publisher.
      As for self-printing via Createspace or a PDF, you don’t double space. The purpose of double (or triple) space is for the editor to put in marks for revision.
      I also found that formatting for self-publishing also requires specific margin formatting, such as a ‘gutter’, and mirror margins. Some programs and I know Createspace can fix the formatted for you.
      As for indents, some places want 3 space indents, but self publishing requires no indent because the program or web sites select the indent option for you. My point of the post is that you should never MANUALLY indent- but you could use the feature in words processing that creates a hanging indent.
      Manually inserted indents are incredibly time consuming to ‘fix’ for self publishing, and some publishers don’t want them at all. I might do a follow up blog post on this subject. So thanks for the question, and thanks for commenting
      😉

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