Posted by: nancyisanders | October 30, 2013

Highlights: Format Your Manuscript

I had finished the final version of my manuscript. Yay!

So now I went back and double-checked that it was formatted correctly. You can do that, too. If you don’t know how to format a nonfiction article for submission, here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Set up your header and page number
In your document tool bar (usually under VIEW) click on the “Header and Footer.” Inside the header, on the left hand top of the page, type in your last name followed by one word of your title. If it’s a short title you can type in the whole thing. Like this:


Then insert your page number. On most manuscripts I’ve ever seen, it’s at the top right, so choose the top right, but not on the first page.

Step 2: Type your personal information
On the top left of manuscript submissions, I type my personal information. This is single-spaced. Like this:

Nancy I. Sanders
Street Address
City, State, Zip
Phone Number

Step 3: Type in the Word Count
On the top right, I type in the word count. Like this:

Word Count: 800 words

(On other manuscript submissions directly underneath the word count, I also type in what rights I’m selling such as Picture Book Rights or First Rights, but since Highlights always purchases all rights, I just left this blank.)

Step 4: Type in the title and the author’s name
Move your document down the page until the curser is about 1/3 of the way down. I like to center my curser and type in the title, then skip a double space and write my name.

Step 5: Skip a double space and start your manuscript.
From here on out, everything is double spaced. Use paragraph format, not business letter format, in an article such as this. Paragraph format means no breaks between lines and indent the first line of every paragraph.

Do you have any questions about any of this? Of course, some styles can vary about how you format your manuscript, but this is a standard style used in the publishing industry, so you can’t go wrong formatting your manuscript this way.

Just for a point of reference, here’s a picture of the first page of my manuscript with fake text dropped in so you can see what yours should look like.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 2.35.58 PM


  1. Congratulations, Nancy.
    I’ve been reading all of these posts and saving them as well.
    When I’m ready to submit to a magazine, I’ll be well armed.
    Thank you. I’ve enjoyed following your journey.
    P.S. I’ve also added your blog to my blog sidebar so others may be able to find your helpful “writerly” blog.

    • Tracy, I’m glad you’re enjoying following along! And a great big thanks for adding my blog to your sidebar…I’m so honored!!!!

  2. My pleasure, Nancy 🙂

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