Resolved Academic Standard for Word Processing

Shift Option K

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 26, 2013
128
0
OK, so I want to bring this up because I just want to.
But here is the academic standard for word processing, used by high schools, colleges, and universities.

Font: Times New Roman
Size: 12
Spacing: Double
Program: Microsoft Word

Now why? For my own typing I use 12 size, but prefer the Apple Garamond font, single spaces, and Pages. I'm a university student so this applies to me. So I only have pages and I use what the profs and specify to type but even when I save in Word format they can tell I didn't use word and it's off to the library to copy and paste into Word. Why is this academic standard so strict down to what program you use? Some people just can't afford Word! Others like me just like to save. And confining us to a single font makes us lose individiality and making us doublespace wastes paper! Why does this standard exist?
 
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Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
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OK, so I want to bring this up because I just want to.
But here is the academic standard for word processing, used by high schools, colleges, and universities.

Font: Times New Roman
Size: 12
Spacing: Double
Program: Microsoft Word

Now why? For my own typing I use 12 size, but prefer the Apple Garamond font, single spaces, and Pages. I'm a university student so this applies to me. So I only have pages and I use what the profs and specify to type but even when I save in Word format they can tell I didn't use word and it's off to the library to copy and paste into Word. Why is this academic standard so strict down to what program you use? Some people just can't afford Word! Others like me just like to save. And confining us to a single font makes us lose individiality and making us doublespace wastes paper! Why does this standard exist?
Because 12 point Times New Roman is a font, and size, that is easily read by people of most eye strengths. Your favored font might not be as easily read by somebody with weaker eyes due to certain factors.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
OK, so I want to bring this up because I just want to.
But here is the academic standard for word processing, used by high schools, colleges, and universities.

Font: Times New Roman
Size: 12
Spacing: Double
Program: Microsoft Word

Now why? For my own typing I use 12 size, but prefer the Apple Garamond font, single spaces, and Pages. I'm a university student so this applies to me. So I only have pages and I use what the profs and specify to type but even when I save in Word format they can tell I didn't use word and it's off to the library to copy and paste into Word. Why is this academic standard so strict down to what program you use? Some people just can't afford Word! Others like me just like to save. And confining us to a single font makes us lose individiality and making us doublespace wastes paper! Why does this standard exist?
Because when a teacher says a paper needs to be X pages, they want everybody to have a level playing field and not have people screwing around with font sizes and spacing to make their paper take up the required number of pages.

Which I did all the time. And never got caught :p
 

0007776

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Jul 11, 2006
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Somewhere
It exists to make sure that all the papers are readable, can be opened by the teacher, and if the teacher gives a number of pages that they want all the students write the same amount in those pages. And the student version of Word is pretty cheap, if you can afford university you can afford it. As for the font choice making you lose individuality unless you are doing a project for a design class the content of the paper matters a lot more for that than your font choice.
 

ideal.dreams

macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2010
2,304
826
Ohio
Which I did all the time. And never got caught :p
13 point periods and 1.25" margins all the way around. None of my high school teachers ever caught on but boy did it make the difference to me...until the professors at my university told us word count instead of page length :D

It exists to make sure that all the papers are readable, can be opened by the teacher, and if the teacher gives a number of pages that they want all the students write the same amount in those pages.
This. It's just standard, so there's uniformity among all of the papers.
 

Shift Option K

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 26, 2013
128
0
You realize that what you write expresses your individuality far more than the font you write it in, right?
Yes I do but I also count the font.

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It exists to make sure that all the papers are readable, can be opened by the teacher, and if the teacher gives a number of pages that they want all the students write the same amount in those pages. And the student version of Word is pretty cheap, if you can afford university you can afford it. As for the font choice making you lose individuality unless you are doing a project for a design class the content of the paper matters a lot more for that than your font choice.
I can afford a lot of things, or else why do I have so many Apple products, a $40,000 minivan, and the plan to get a new BMW? My parents pay for my university.

I want extreme brand loyalty to Apple so I am sticking to pages on my Mac, so I guess it's time to buy a Surface or whatever cheap Windows machine I can find just for MSO.
 

Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,199
722
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Because it matters once you start getting into things like research papers that have to have things included in certain ways, plus cited work pages in MLA/APA formats.

If you were to do a cited work page in 14pt, it would look terrible and take up more lines per citation. With 10pt, it would take up one line, and the page would just look just as weird. So 12pt is that middle of the road size that works.

Times New Roman is the better printed font compared to the other universal fonts.

Double spacing is good for notes. And it's also easier to read a paper when it's done like that.

Just export to Word format with Pages. You'll be fine.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,861
382
Hilo, Hawai'i
I was a professor for 30+ years.

The other posters have made good comments. I'll speak to something else.

Apart from "institutional" requirements (which may or may not make sense to anybody) a lot of it is practical.

Professors get tired. They get cranky. The papers are harder and harder to read as the day or night goes on, because the prof's eyes are getting tired.

Now ask yourself: is it in your self-interest to make the professor work harder on your paper than on the others? A not-really-Word format that might or might not open and display properly (if you're handing it in electronically)? Single-spaced? Ugh for reading, and double ugh for writing comments. An odd font? "Why, why, why," says the prof and neither being saintly nor superhuman, he or she is going to be down on your paper regardless of its content -- especially when tired.

A nicely laser-printed paper on good stock, with the standard font and spacing, or a grubby one printed on an inkjet in need of a new cartridge in a splashy font that's not rendered well . . . which would you prefer?

(I like Garamond, as a matter of fact, and have just set up an e-book using it -- but that's not the point.)

In a perfect world, this wouldn't happen. But if you think university is a perfect world, then you probably haven't attended one for long. It's not perfect for us, either (save us from university IT departments).

It's just silly to put yourself in a hole before the prof's even settled in to think about what you've written.
 

malman89

macrumors 68000
May 29, 2011
1,651
6
Michigan
13 point periods and 1.25" margins all the way around. None of my high school teachers ever caught on but boy did it make the difference to me...until the professors at my university told us word count instead of page length :D
Changing margins is dangerous (at least more than something like 1.1") because that is easily noticeable when comparing two papers side by side. The period trick, however, is pure gold. Even size 14 is fairly unnoticeable.

Teachers are weird. The oldest teacher I ever had (in his mid to late 80s) who you would've thought may have had trouble seeing, required Times New Roman size 10 at 1.5 spacing justified. It actually looks much neater than 12 double spaced. Ever since then, if I have no standard to use, I use 1.5 spaced and justified.

College/HS tip: Type everything single spaced first. It's much more rewarding to get to where you need to be, double space it, and see you have more than enough rather than worrying about adding on nonsense to meet your page quota.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,062
Toronto, Ontario
Because your instructor probably doesn't have pages and uses Word like most of the country. If you complain about something as standard as a font size/type you are probably already getting on the instructors nerves.

Pages has an export to Word feature, use it.

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I can afford a lot of things, or else why do I have so many Apple products, a $40,000 minivan, and the plan to get a new BMW? My parents pay for my university.

I want extreme brand loyalty to Apple so I am sticking to pages on my Mac, so I guess it's time to buy a Surface or whatever cheap Windows machine I can find just for MSO.
So what's the problem again? Get mommy to buy you Microsoft Word.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,408
I want extreme brand loyalty to Apple so I am sticking to pages on my Mac, so I guess it's time to buy a Surface or whatever cheap Windows machine I can find just for MSO.

So, instead of buying Word Student Edition for under $100, you're going to buy a Surface for several hundred dollars more. Careful, your extreme brand loyalty is showing.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
I can afford a lot of things, or else why do I have so many Apple products, a $40,000 minivan, and the plan to get a new BMW? My parents pay for my university.
Good for you. If you think you're impressing any of us here with the $40,000 minivan your parents probably bought for you, you're wrong.

I want extreme brand loyalty to Apple so I am sticking to pages on my Mac, so I guess it's time to buy a Surface or whatever cheap Windows machine I can find just for MSO.
Installing MS Office on your Mac will not make it any less of a Mac. But, if you have your parents' money to blow, why not get a cheap PC just for Office?
 

ejb190

macrumors 65816
I don't want to sound mean, but what I type is going to.

To answer your question, the specifications exist for two reasons. 1) Put all the students on a level playing field, and 2) so old guys like me can read it.

Get over your self-righteousness and do what you are told. You are not the boss in this situation and your stubbornness is going to hurt you in the long run. When I was in college, composition required MLS format, while biology required something else. And I did it that way. And I got through it.

Now that I'm the instructor, I can specify what fonts and formats documents are printed in. But I earned my way to that right and you haven't.

Something no one has mentioned. When I start grading papers - I don't want to know who wrote it. I'll probably figure it out soon enough, but sometimes I'm surprised as a paper is not what I expected from a particular student. When you consistently turn in work in the wrong format, you sabotage my ability to grade you anonymously and impartially.

If you really want to stand out in your classes, engage your instructors about class content, go to office hours, and participate in discussions. By actively participating rather then fighting over minutia, you will stand out from your peers and who knows, you might actually learn something.

Finally, it's been a while since I checked, but most colleges let you pick up a full version of Microsoft Office for dirt cheep though the school. It was $10 when I was an educator at Purdue.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,381
30,653
The Far Horizon
I was a professor for 30+ years.

The other posters have made good comments. I'll speak to something else.

Apart from "institutional" requirements (which may or may not make sense to anybody) a lot of it is practical.

Professors get tired. They get cranky. The papers are harder and harder to read as the day or night goes on, because the prof's eyes are getting tired.

Now ask yourself: is it in your self-interest to make the professor work harder on your paper than on the others? A not-really-Word format that might or might not open and display properly (if you're handing it in electronically)? Single-spaced? Ugh for reading, and double ugh for writing comments. An odd font? "Why, why, why," says the prof and neither being saintly nor superhuman, he or she is going to be down on your paper regardless of its content -- especially when tired.

A nicely laser-printed paper on good stock, with the standard font and spacing, or a grubby one printed on an inkjet in need of a new cartridge in a splashy font that's not rendered well . . . which would you prefer?

(I like Garamond, as a matter of fact, and have just set up an e-book using it -- but that's not the point.)

In a perfect world, this wouldn't happen. But if you think university is a perfect world, then you probably haven't attended one for long. It's not perfect for us, either (save us from university IT departments).

It's just silly to put yourself in a hole before the prof's even settled in to think about what you've written.
Interesting thread, and some very good replies.

Anyway, I, too, was a university teacher for over two decades, and I agree with you. Moreover, I have also worked as an editor.

For what it is worth, I, personally love Garamond, and, when printed out, it is easily one of the most legible fonts in existence; I love its elegance, and its legibility. In print, it is lovely, and it is what I use myself a lot of the time.

However, while it is fine on an individual's own screen, it doesn't seem to translate well in an online setting, whereas Times New Roman, which is a nice, solid, standard, does.

Again, here, while I admire your stance on Garamond, I suggest that you acquire Word, and turn in your essays in Times New Roman.

Mind you, I recall the days when we had to struggle with attempting to decipher illegible student hand-writing; along with LPs, and the dodo, a blast from the past….
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,861
382
Hilo, Hawai'i

Mind you, I recall the days when we had to struggle with attempting to decipher illegible student hand-writing; along with LPs, and the dodo, a blast from the past….
I thought MacRumors had a font size standard. I'm reporting you to a mod.

Remember the days of papers printed on dot-matrix printers badly in need of new ribbons? And the pinfeed paper with the margins still attached? Oh yeah.

Another tip for the OP or any other students reading this: if you're handing something in electronically, as in via email, embed your name or some other form of ID in the filename. I can't tell you how many times I got papers named "exercise.doc," or "ANT100.doc," and the like. I hope the OP knows why this is a bad idea.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
45,381
30,653
The Far Horizon
I thought MacRumors had a font size standard. I'm reporting you to a mod.

Remember the days of papers printed on dot-matrix printers badly in need of new ribbons? And the pinfeed paper with the margins still attached? Oh yeah.

Another tip for the OP or any other students reading this: if you're handing something in electronically, as in via email, embed your name or some other form of ID in the filename. I can't tell you how many times I got papers named "exercise.doc," or "ANT100.doc," and the like. I hope the OP knows why this is a bad idea.
Dot matrix printers badly in need of new ribbons? I remember portable type-writers in need of new ribbons! And blobs of something icky from leaking biros…..

Pinfeed paper with the margins still attached? But, of course. I even remember torn - nay, ripped - sheets from A4 notebooks with the, um, margins, still attached….

Actually, I well remember the sad whimper of gratitude I almost whispered when a student (not coincidentally, the best I ever taught) asked politely, before submitting her first essay to me, whether it would be accepted (and acceptable) if she typed it out.

This was at a time when some of them couldn't staple a set of pages together; indeed, I recall a student, galloping breathlessly down the corridor towards me, a few sheets of paper aloft in his hand, shouting 'These are the last few pages of my essay,' and my reply, which was something along the lines of 'Ah. Yes. I thought it had ended rather abruptly.' As in mid-sentence abruptly.

Ah, the Good Old Days. We'll not see their like again…...
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,344
6,213
The Anthropocene
Yes I do but I also count the font.
I too love Garamond, but you're not ceding much of your individuality in this case. There are probably bigger and better battles to fight. ;)

Frankly I think PDF should be the standard that is accepted at University. (In the beginning of High School I had to hand write my papers.) Word is the default because of its dominance in the market. I recently, grudgingly, and with extreme prejudice purchased Word because a publisher required it for one part of my submission. I made my opinion known to the editors, but I couldn't expect change to happen over night.
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
7,298
They say Word, but if you type it up with everything else and on Pages? They won't exactly know what program you use as long as you export to .docx (really, there's no way for them to know).
 

And

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2009
389
1
92 ft above sea level, UK
Because, further down the line in an academic career you'll want to publish something in an academic journal. If you send it in without the proscribed format, it'll be sent back unread. This then shifts the Q to why do they want it in that format, and the answer is, so they can publish it without messing around with hours and hours of editing. Those are the rules, if you want to get ahead that is.
 

ideal.dreams

macrumors 68020
Jul 19, 2010
2,304
826
Ohio
I can afford a lot of things, or else why do I have so many Apple products, a $40,000 minivan, and the plan to get a new BMW? My parents pay for my university.

I want extreme brand loyalty to Apple so I am sticking to pages on my Mac, so I guess it's time to buy a Surface or whatever cheap Windows machine I can find just for MSO.
And this is why people who own a Mac are not taken seriously. Brand loyalty? Seriously? Swallow your pride and use Word like everyone else does. I love Apple and Mac and iOS and whatever else just as much as the next guy here but I'm not going to use Pages when Word has been around and is the standard in most of the country.

Spending money on a Surface solely to use for Word is unfathomable to me. Why would you shell out more money on something for that purpose when your Mac can run Word just fine? Either you have no common sense or you're being a troll.

Also, I wouldn't be bragging about driving a minivan. No matter how expensive :D.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,861
382
Hilo, Hawai'i
They say Word, but if you type it up with everything else and on Pages? They won't exactly know what program you use as long as you export to .docx (really, there's no way for them to know).
I'm sure that's true for writing out, but what happens back in Pages if the instructor uses Track Changes and expects the student to see the annotations? (I don't know the answer . . . just asking.)

And it could get old quickly, for the Pages person. I was a dedicated WordPerfect user for years, in a college Word environment, but eventually I grew weary of constant conversions back and forth, and the occasional failure to remember I needed to make that Word conversion, and then I'd get (rightly) complaining emails, so I switched.
 

Michael Goff

Suspended
Jul 5, 2012
13,262
7,298
I'm sure that's true for writing out, but what happens back in Pages if the instructor uses Track Changes and expects the student to see the annotations? (I don't know the answer . . . just asking.)

And it could get old quickly, for the Pages person. I was a dedicated WordPerfect user for years, in a college Word environment, but eventually I grew weary of constant conversions back and forth, and the occasional failure to remember I needed to make that Word conversion, and then I'd get (rightly) complaining emails, so I switched.
Not sure.

Another answer is to just use the Office Online suite after you type it up on Pages. Would that work?