University of Alberta Press Style Guide

Following these guidelines will give your manuscript consistency, from first to final draft, and will enable a smooth transition into production. 


Submit one digital copy of your manuscript in MS Word format. Please send in original format, not as a PDF file.

Manuscript should be in 12pt font, double spaced, in Times New Roman, with pages numbered.


Our house style is based on, but does not adhere rigidly to, The Chicago Manual of Style on matters of punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation, number treatment, and so forth. If another style (MLA, APA, etc.) is more appropriate to your discipline, please do not hesitate to check with us about using it.

Our primary concern is that a consistent style is used throughout.


Write direct, clear English in a style that is accessible to the broadest possible audience for your work.


Avoid jargon as much as possible. Define specialized terms if they are essential.


Please be sensitive to the social implications of language and seek wording that is free of discriminatory overtones. Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language of the Association of American University Presses (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), is a useful guide. In writing by or about Indigenous peoples, we strongly suggest referring to Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging (Edmonton: Brush Education, 2018).


The cost of creating an index is typically the author’s responsibility. Your acquisitions editor will discuss indexing with you at an appropriate time, or you can raise it with them at any point.


On matters of spelling we consult Canadian Oxford Dictionary


Please use footnotes, and create them using the note tool in MS Word. Start note numbering anew for each chapter. 

Automatically Generated References

If you use EndNote, RefWorks, or other software that automatically creates or formats a bibliography, remove field codes before finalizing your manuscript. Check your software’s instructions on how to do this. These embedded links can wreak havoc at the design stage.


The amount and types of illustrations to be reproduced in your book are subject to approval by the Press. In most cases it is the author’s responsibility to seek high-quality illustrations and to secure and pay for permission to include them in the book. Do not pay for illustrations or their permissions until your acquisitions editor has confirmed that the illustrations will be used and the rights granted in the permission are adequate for our needs.

  • Submit electronic versions of any images you anticipate including. 
  • Discuss image quality requirements with your acquisitions editor. Minimum requirements for a typical book are:
    • .tif, .jpeg, or .eps format;
    • minimum 300 dpi at 5” x 7” (that is, minimum dimensions of 1500 x 2100 pixels).
  • Please mark the manuscript at the locations where the images should appear (e.g. <place image 1 here>). 
  • Send final illustrations with the final manuscript but in separate files. Do not paste illustrations into your text files or draw them in your word processor. Files sent to us in this manner cannot be used. 
  • Do not make captions part of the artwork or part of the main text (see below). Make sure that illustration source lines and footnotes are separate from chapter notes.


Please submit your tables as original word-processing files. Give each table a title and provide sources and notes as needed, separate from the chapter notes. Use tabs rather than spaces to separate columns of text. Tables do not require captions or alt text.


Many maps need to be redrawn for use in the book in order to match the book’s design and to meet production standards. The cost of creating maps is typically the author’s responsibility. If you anticipate using maps in your book please discuss this with your acquisitions editor at an early stage. A map may or may not require a caption, but will require alt text (see below).

Captions and Alt-Text

The Captions and Alt-Text Guidelines For Authors page on our website outlines the content requirements and formatting considerations for including captions for your images and alt-text to make them accessible to readers with print disabilities. The Captions and Alt-Text Template must be submitted with your final manuscript for production; it is not required for the draft manuscript at peer review. 


Include credit lines in your manuscript wherever the rightsholder requires you to do so (usually copyright page, caption, note, or acknowledgements section). Use the wording required by the rightsholder.

Do not pay for permissions until your acquisitions editor has confirmed the rights granted in the permission are adequate for our needs.

With the final manuscript, send an inventory of the permissions that are required, as well as completed, signed copies of all required permissions forms. (Ask your acquisitions editor for a sample permissions agreement and permissions tracker if required).


Integrate quotations into your narrative as logical, grammatical parts of the text.

In general, a prose quotation of fewer than 100 words should be run into the text unless the quote consists of more than one paragraph. Verse quotations of one or two lines should generally be run into the text, with a slash ( / ) separating two lines. Longer quotes should generally be set as block quotations. Indent block quotations from the left margin (change the paragraph indent). Do not use multiple spaces or tabs. 


Use chapter-opening epigraphs consistently (in all chapters or none). Aim for manageable length (shorter is better) and number (one preferred, two at most). Please do not use epigraphs or block quotations immediately after subheads or untitled breaks. If a quote is vital to a section, work it into the text by putting some of your own words before the quote.

Part and Chapter Titles

Aim for similar construction and length (shorter is better). Some questions that can help guide this process include: Are some titles long and others short? Do most chapters, but not all, have subtitles? Are some titles straightforward and others meant to be evocative? Aim for reasonable consistency in the tone and length of chapter titles and in the use, tone, and levels of elements such as epigraphs and subheadings.


Use title-style capitalization for part and chapter titles (This Is an Example), not all caps (THIS IS AN EXAMPLE) and not sentence-style capitalization (This is an example).

Sections Within Chapters

Make sure that subheadings (section titles) or untitled breaks are helpful to the reader without fragmenting the text. Often an over-reliance on headings indicates larger structural problems with transitions between paragraphs and/or sections. Ensure that transitions are handled appropriately. Subheadings should be of similar construction and length (preferably concise). Use title-style capitalization. Avoid numbering. Treat each level of subhead consistently with others of the same level and differently from the other levels. We suggest the following styles:

  • first-level subheads, flush left, 14 pt. and on a separate line;
  • second-level subheads flush left, 12 pt. and on a separate line;
  • for untitled breaks, three asterisks on a separate line;
  • please avoid adding subtitles to subheads.

Final Checklist

The following issues will be double checked in copyediting, but a manuscript that comes in well prepared in these ways will move more smoothly through editing.

Before you submit your final manuscript:

  • verify facts, including dates;
  • check that quotations are transcribed accurately;
  • check the spelling of personal and place names;
  • check the spelling of organizations, awards, names of publications;
  • check the spelling of non-English terms, inserting accent marks as needed;
  • check the accuracy of bibliographic data in your references;
  • ensure that the notes and bibliography, if both are present, do not give conflicting information;
  • provide a title page that includes the manuscript’s main title and subtitle, as well as the names of each author/editor, in the correct order; 
  • provide a table of contents that lists the title of each chapter (and author if applicable); 
  • ensure that titles in the table of contents and on chapter openers match exactly.

Anthologies and Edited Collections

For anthologies and edited collections some additional considerations apply. A successful edited volume should be approached as a coherent intellectual project from the very beginning. 

1. Mechanical Style and Consistency 

Before submitting the final manuscript it is the responsibility of the volume editor to impose stylistic consistency where the contributors have not. Chapters should be thematically or conceptually integrated and cohere in ways that create consistency across the volume: please pay attention to chapter length and structure, use of citations, spelling, etc. Forms of names in the table of contents, on chapter openers, and in the contributor bios should match exactly. 

2. Documentation

We require that edited collections use a uniform documentation style throughout, whether the essays have been published previously or whether they were written for the collection. 

3. Length

All chapters in an edited collection should have a similar length. Always include all notes and references when discussing the word count of each chapter and the complete manuscript with your editor.

4. Contributor Biographies

At the end of the manuscript, provide short contributor bios listing current affiliation, citizenship, a few notable publications, and relevant research interests.

5. Contributors’ Agreement 

All chapters will require a contributor’s agreement. Your acquisitions editor will provide a template to use, and volume editors are responsible for distributing these to chapter contributors.

6. Permissions

If any chapters in the collection have been published previously, obtain permission from the publisher to reprint before submitting the final manuscript. All contributors must obtain permission from the publisher to reprint others’ material as needed. If a fee is being charged for permission, that cost is typically the author/volume editor’s responsibility.