ETD Format

Main Content

Formatting the Front Matter

Organization of materials:  (See Templates)

  1. Title
  2. Approval Page
  3. Abstract
  4. Acknowledgement
  5. Preface
  6. Table of Contents
  7. List of Tables
  8. List of Figures

Formatting the Body Matter

Multimedia Objects

Multimedia object types include tables, complex equations, graphs, diagrams, digital pictures, digital video, digital audio, virtual reality, and even computer software that you have developed.

Simple Objects

Most simple objects like tables, graphs, and diagrams can be embedded in your ETD using your Word Processor. Here are some guidelines when you embed the objects.

Put the object at the point of reference or "float" it to the top or bottom of the page, or to the top of the next page. Center the object between the left and right margins of the page. Directly below the object for figures and above for tables, center the type and number according to its position in the chapter (e.g., in Chapter 5 we may have a Table 5.1, Table 5.2, and Figures 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3). Give the object a concise, descriptive title.

An example is provided below:

  • Figure 1.4, Example Multimedia Object (GIF, 1k)

Complex Objects

More complex multimedia objects, however, require special treatment. They either do not fit naturally on a page or the file size is too large to fit reasonably within a document. For complex objects, do the following:

Place the type and number of the object along with its concise, descriptive title, centered on a line by itself. In parentheses, include the media encoding (e.g., JPEG) and file size (e.g., 1.5 Megabytes).

See instructions below on how to connect object titles using the PDF link feature. Be sure to submit each multimedia object file you have linked when you submit your PDF file.

Note that many complex multimedia object types have a simple object version (often called "thumbnail") that is a reduction of the picture or one frame of video. If possible, we recommend that you include this reduction in the main document along with a PDF link to the complex object.

For help preparing multimedia objects, please contact the Morris Library Information Desk at 618-453-2818.

Formatting the Back Matter

  1. Appendix
  2. Vita

Recommended File Formats

Full Text of an ETD

PDF (.pdf)

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Adobe Systems developed the PDF standard and provides the premiere package for creating and manipulating PDF files, Adobe Acrobat. The process of converting to PDF takes instructions that would ordinarily be sent to a specific printer and prepares them to be viewed or printed on any computer with the free Acrobat Reader installed.

The Adobe Acrobat software can be purchased from or at any retail software store. You can download the latest version of the free Acrobat Reader.


PDF (.pdf)

See above for general information on the PDF format. PDF is best used to store vector-based graphics (i.e. graphics drawn using lines and curves rather than pixels). Vector graphics stored in PDF format will be much smaller, will read more cleanly, and any included text will be searchable. Equations, charts, and diagrams that combine text with vector-graphics are particulary appropriate to store in PDF format.

JPEG (.jpg)

The JPEG format is primarily used to store photographs. JPEG is a "lossy" format, meaning that some image quality is sacrificed in order to produce much smaller files. Images of higher quality should be stored in TIFF format instead (see below). Non-photographic images such as graphs and charts will be smaller if stored in GIF format instead (see below).

CompuServe GIF (.gif)

The GIF format, developed by CompuServe, is best used to store screen-quality images that do not contain many colors. GIF files are typically very small, but cannot reproduce the range of colors necessary to reproduce photographic images (use the JPEG format instead - see above).

TIFF (.tif)

The TIFF format is an archival format, meaning that it does not sacrifice image quality in order to reduce file sizes. TIFF images are excellent for storing detailed, high quality images. However, TIFF files tend to be much larger than either JPEG or GIF images, and cannot be opened using most web browsers without installing and configuring additional viewing software or plugins.

PNG (.png)

The PNG format is an open standard developed to replace the Compuserve GIF format. Like GIF files, low-color images stored in PNG format are typically quite small. Unlike the GIF format, the PNG format can also be used to store high-color images, which means it is also suitable for storing photographic content. The PNG format is not as widely supported as the JPEG or GIF formats, but its popularity is growing.

Suggestions regarding Images

For images that are only intended to be viewed on screen, a resolution of 72 or 75 dpi will result in a small file that can be easily downloaded. A resolution of 600 dpi is recommended for images that are intended to be printed.


MPEG (.mpg)

The MPEG format is the oldest and most widely supported format for movies. There are a wide range of viewers available for all platforms, including most UNIX variants. The MPEG format is most commonly used as an output format from UNIX utilities that generate video content.

QuickTime (.mov, .qt)

The Quicktime format was originally more of a Macintosh-specific format. These days, support for Quicktime movies is good on both the Macintosh and Windows, but not as good on UNIX.

Audio Video Interleaved (.avi)

The AVI format is more of a Windows-specific format and is not as well supported on other platforms.

Suggestions Regarding Video Content

Video is one of the most resource-intensive types of multimedia. Unfortunately, video content that is of even half broadcast quality is often too large to download from home. Consider including lower quality versions of video content in addition to high quality originals.


WAV (.wav)

The defacto standard for Windows sound files and is also supported for most other platforms.

AIFF (.aif)

The AIFF format is a Macintosh-specific equivalent of the WAV format. It is not as well supported on all platforms as the WAV format.

MPEG-3 (.mp3)

MPEG-3 (or MP3) format is one of the newest and yet also one of the most widely used modern sound formats. It eliminates sound data, which is not as strongly perceived by the human ear and brain, and as such creates files of reasonable quality that are as much as 10 times smaller than the raw data itself. MP3 files are good for storing long passages of sound content where high quality is not required.

Suggestions Regarding Sound

The quality used to store sound in electronic format reflect the quality of the original recording source. There is very little reason to store low fidelity recording of speech content in a very high-quality format, as the added file size would not result in any increase in quality. Conversely, high-fidelity recordings should be stored at high quality.

Other Formats

If you have content that has been created in a proprietary format, it is recommended that you include a copy of the content in both the proprietary format and in a more common format as well. If you have multimedia content that is too large to be downloaded via the web, it is recommended that you include a copy of the content stored at the original quality, and a copy stored at lower quality.

For LaTEx templates


If you choose to use LaTex templates, please be sure to follow ETD guidelines (e.g. text must be left justified). The Graduate School does not have technical support for LaTex formatting.

Questions / Concerns

For any questions or concerns regarding the format of ETDs, please contact Dr. Ratna Sinha at