Every font is different, so there is no definite answer – some fonts will work fine at 6pt, but others this will be far too fine or small to read.
It is important to look at the thickness of the lines that compose each letter. The finest lines of the text should be 0.25pt line thickness or equivalent (for offset printing). For other output methods, please see the relevant article about finest detail for that product.
Please note that line thickness pt and font size pt are different (eg. 8pt Arial font does not have 8pt line thickness).
As an example, the smallest size we would recommend for Helvetica Regular would be 6pt. Small font sizes like 3-5pt may print well, but will likely be very difficult to read for most people.
We recommend you always print out your design file at 100% (no scaling) to check the font sizes are able to be read and are not too small. Please note, font sizes in the Online Creator may be different to actual size.
See: Fine detail.
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The Library's Theses Office assists with formatting theses, projects and extended essays for submission to the Library. You are encouraged to use the Library's thesis template to help format your thesis. The requirements stated on this page are default settings for the thesis template
Parts of a thesis
1: Title page
Title page - no page number
2: Preliminary pages
(Roman page numbers)
Approval page – always page ii
Required if the research was subject to ethics approval
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Required if the document contains tables
List of Figures
Required if the document contains figures
List of Acronyms
3: Main body
(Arabic page numbers)
Chapters—always beginning with page 1
Chapters and subsections may be numbered or unnumbered
You may use a single reference section at the end of the document or include references at the end of each chapter
File format, file size, and page size
The final copy of the thesis must be converted to .pdf for submission to the Library (maximum 256mb).
Theses must be formatted for US Letter (8.5X11) pages. Landscape 8.5X11 and 11X17 pages are permitted. Legal, A4, or other paper sizes are not permitted.
Arial 11 point
Word template default
Times New Roman 12 point
Recommended serif font for Word
LaTeX template default
Arial is the preferred font for SFU thesis submissions. You may use other fonts with the approval of your committee. See the Thesis Template Instructions for directions to change the default template font.
The default template line spacing is 1.5 for text, with single-spaced block quotations.
Margins should be set to:
- 1.25" left/right
- 1" top/bottom
All pages must be numbered, with the exception of the title page. Page numbers should appear at the bottom centre of each page, at a minimum of 0.5” from the edge of the page.
Preliminary pages of the thesis must be numbered with Roman numerals. On the first page of the main body, page numbers must restart with 1. The thesis template is preset with this numbering style.
SFU Library does not require a specific citation style. Consult your supervisor, your department’s graduate handbook, or a liaison librarian for help determining which style is appropriate for your research.
The default formatting in the library’s thesis template may differ from some requirements of your citation style, but it is acceptable for SFU library submission.
Cumulative, or paper-based, theses must use the same general format as other submissions. Consult your supervisor or your department's graduate handbook for more information. If including published papers in a thesis, please consult the Copyright and your thesis FAQ.
For theses written in a language other than English, the Library requires a second complete English title page. Supporting documentation must be in English.
Individual personal information must be removed from the thesis before publication, including signatures, email addresses, and phone numbers. For example, if you are including a survey instrument or consent form, your own contact information must be removed.
Blank pages in the thesis must be removed before publication.
Optional pages in the thesis template may be removed if not used.