The readability of your dissertation

It might be the first time you are in contact with a designer to outsource the layout of a document. So you are probably not accustomed to checking the layout of a text. Of course, you’re used to looking at font size and line spacing within Microsoft Word. But how do you check these elements within a pdf and how do these elements affect the readability of your thesis? In this article, we will discuss the most important things you can check regarding the readability of your dissertation.

Font size

The perfect font size does not exist. This is because every person has their own preferences. Therefore we advise you print a couple of pages from your thesis and read them this way instead of on screen. While reading, you can pay attention to the size of the letters.

The rule of thumb is as follows; large letters are easier to read, but using large letters means less text fits on a single page. Additionally a large font-size quickly looks childish. This is because larger letters are easier to read and thus suitable for children’s books. You need to think of your audience and how they like to read. For example, a surgeon is accustomed to medical books where a small fontsize is common. In such a case, the use of a smaller fontsize is not problem.

The picture below shows clearly how a large letter is easier to read but also takes up more space.

Line spacing

In addition to the font size, the line spacing is also important aspect regarding the readability of your dissertation. As the illustration below illustrates, the line spacing is the space between two lines of text.

A good line spacing makes sure your eyes do not accidentally jump to a next line of text while you are reading. In addition, a visual aspect is associated with line spacing. A small line spacing, makes a block of text look darker because more text is placed in a small area. In contrast a large line spacing often looks lighter. You can establish a minimum line spacing by checking if your eyes do not jump from line to line while reading.  After you established the minimum line spacing it all depends on personal preference.

In summary, see if you can read the layout of a text comfortably. If not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have to put in a lot of effort to focus my eyes on the text?
    In this case, we recommend increasing the font size.
  • Do my eyes wander between lines of text?
    In this case, we recommend increasing the line spacing.

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