Skills Earth Sciences

Formatting your text

Learning outcomes

At the end of this chapter you will:

  • Understand what constitutes a good layout
  • Know what aspects of your layout you need to look out for when formatting your text


Presenting your scientific writing in a neat and organized manner will help readers to focus and will improve conveying your message. Often, scientific readers will initially only selectively read your text, starting with the aims and objectives in your introduction, the figures in your results section, the discussion (including figures), and conclusions. If the reader’s interest is piqued, they will continue reading other sections of your text or look into some of your references. Understanding your audience’s reading patterns will help you structure your text in an accessible way: consistently refer to literature and other parts of your text and include all important information in your figures. This chapter will suggest some strategies to develop a consistent layout and will offer some guidelines on the use of figures, tables, and diagrams in your text. For more information on the latter, go to Visualisation.