We do our best to have On Watch conform to a consistent style from article to article and issue to issue. If you are asked to submit an article, please review the basic style conventions that we use and make sure your article conforms to them before submitting. Thank you.
NO: ALL CAPS headers, tabs, underlining, centering, endnotes
YES: Left align, footnotes*
- Nothing in ALL CAPS.* Nothing underlined.
- Our titles and subtitles are in sentence case. Just like that last sentence. No final period, though. Of course, acronyms and proper nouns follow regular sentence style.
- Don’t center titles or subtitles, or include any paragraph breaks in them.
- Left align paragraphs, with ragged right.
- Double space between paragraphs.
- No use of Tab key. Don’t format/indent/center text with tabs or spaces. (Don’t use the TAB key for anything.)
- Don’t indent paragraphs — not with tabs, not with spaces, not with formatting settings.
- Footnotes vs endnotes. We now use footnotes in the PDF/print On Watch, and our layout person converts them to endnotes for the web version of the articles, in that order. Therefore you must use the Footnote tool on your word processor toolbar to create your footnotes. Use Arabic numerals for the footnotes. Tutorial for MS Word.
- Quotes that are paragraph-long (or multiple paragraphs) should be indented using the toolbar indent function. No quote marks are used to set off these blockquotes. For our purposes, you don’t need to worry about the right margin.
- We occasionally use photos. If you want to submit photos, you are welcome to do so, but we can’t guarantee they will be used. See the digital section below for more info about submitting photos.
Spelling and such
- Ensure that all acronyms are written out fully on the first use. Even those you think our readers know, like PTSD or DoD.
- Title for officials should be included on first use of their name.
- Plurals of time periods, acronyms and abbreviations: no apostrophe. Examples: the 60s, GIs
- Numbers under 10 are spelled out: one, five. Unless at the beginning of a sentence, use numerals for numbers 10 and above.
- We use “servicemember” as a single word. Your spellchecker tool may disagree.
- Make sure you include your name under the title in a byline — do not use ALL CAPS here either.
- At the end of your piece, include a brief biographical paragraph.
- Submit articles in .doc or .docx format NOT PDF.
- URL and hyperlinks. Suggested URLs (links) for content in your article are encouraged. For instance, if you mention an organization, a link to their website. If your article has footnotes, links to cited sources will provide a lot of additional value to your work. However, don’t hyperlink any text within your document; we will make the hyperlinks during layout. Rather, provide the URLs within carets after the relevant text: “Military Law Task Force <nlgmltf.org>”
- Photos. Do not embed photos inside your document. If you need to submit photos, attach them to the submission form. Credit the source of the photo, even if that source is you, and name the subjects if they are not well known figures. Do not send originals, or your only copy, because it can’t be returned. They should be sent in image file format (.jpg, .png, .gif) and attached to the same email as your article submission.
*We appreciate it if you suggest a title, but we sometimes change titles or subtitles, or add them.