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Digital Commons

A guide to posting and navigating DigitalCommons@CalPoly

General Format Recommendations

Each academic department determines the standards for the successful completion of senior projects, including style guides. Please consult your advisor or department for specific department guidelines.

For general information, consult style manuals such as Form & Style: Research Papers, Reports, Theses by Carole Slade. The Library has some general recommendations:

1. Title Page

Please include a title page. A sample title page is found here . A title page template can be downloaded here. The title page is the first page of the senior project and should include:

  • Full title of your senior project
    • Capitalize the first letter of every word in the title except for coordinating conjuctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet), prepositions, and article.
  • Name of author(s)
  • Full name of department
  • California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
  • Month and Year
    • Typically reflects the date your final project was provided to your advisor
  • Copyright notice
    • The copyright notice should contain the following:
      1. The Copyright symbol ©
      2. The year of publication
      3. The name of the author(s)
    • Example: © 2019 Jane Doe
    • If the work was created as a joint work by multiple authors, include all names in the notice.
    • Example: © 2019 Jane Doe, Jóna Jónsdóttir, Jaime Ramírez, and Rajwinder Kaur

2. Approval Page

Kennedy Library does not require an approval page; it has been standardized and replaced by the Senior Project Requirement Form, which students use to collect approval signatures.

However, check with your department to see if an approval page is required. If an approval page is required by your department, the approval page should be a separate page that appears immediately after the title page. The approval page should include the typed name and title of the advisor. Check with your department to see if additional guidelines are available.

3. Binding

Students wishing to order a bound copy of their senior project may directly contact binding vendors, such as HF Group's online Thesis On Demand binding service.


If your Senior Project is in the form of a research paper, it is recommended that you upload all pages as ONE SINGLE FILE. Consult here on how to combine multiple PDFs into one document.

Senior Project Formatting - Basic Considerations

  2. If your Senior Project is in the form of a research paper, it is recommended that you upload all pages as ONE SINGLE FILE.
  3. Consult your department style guide for information on margins, page numbering, and citation style. Electronic Senior Projects are expected, in most part, to retain traditional typographic conventions and thus be equivalent in many ways to their paper predecessors.
  4. No limits have been set for file size. If you have special file transfer needs, please contact the Digital Commons Staff for assistance. Please be sensitive to Web distribution and file size. Consider a good balance between file size and downlaod time of your file. Sometimes materials can be broken down into smaller more manageable sizes, or various resolutions may be used to achieve a similar outcome.
  5. If the senior project is co-authored by a team of students, only 1 digital copy of the project should be submitted to the Kennedy Library via DigitalCommons along with 1 copy of the Senior Project Requirement Form. The library fee is assessed per project, not per author.
  6. Common file extensions should be used with submitted files to assist the document user in opening and utilizing the file. More information is available in Recommended File Format for Text-Based Senior Projects section.
  7. Embed any special fonts you use to ensure that the individual opening the document will see the information as you intended. More information is available in Embedding Fonts for Text-Based Senior Projects.
  8. The student is responsible for ensuring that their files are compliant with campus, copyright, and CSU ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) policies. These are links to: Copyright information and ADA tutorial.
  9. Students may elect to include a wide variety of creative formats. For instance, a given project could include: audio clips, video clips, animation, interactive simulations, increased graphics, data sets, or even appropriate links to other web sites.
  10. Please note that Academic & Scholarly Communications
    • determines the format in which senior projects are preserved
    • does not provide hosting services for senior project websites
    • does not retain three-dimensional items in the collection

Recommended File Format for Text-Based Senior Projects

The Portable Document Format (.pdf), Word (.doc, .docx), or Rich Text File (.rtf) formats are recommended for the body of the text since they retain all formatting and graphics and may allow for links and annotations. In addition, Adobe Acrobat files can be indexed and searched by keywords. The student is responsible for ensuring that their files are compliant with campus and CSU ADA policies.

A PDF will be auto-generated from .doc, .docx, and .rtf documents submitted electronically to DigitalCommons@CalPoly.

Embedding Fonts for Text-Based Senior Projects

To ensure that your file appears the same on every computer, consider using one of the following fonts in your text-based project.

Arial (Bold, Oblique, Bold Oblique)

Courier (Bold, Oblique, Bold Oblique)

Helvetica (Bold, Oblique, Bold Oblique)

Times (New Roman, Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)

Symbol, Zapf Dingbats

If you use a font NOT listed above, you will need to ensure that your fonts are embedded in your text file so that a user sees your document exactly as you have designed it.

Font embedding is a feature of word processing and document applications such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. It allows the fonts used in the creation of a document to travel with that document, ensuring that a user sees documents exactly as the designer intended them to be seen.

The below information is to assist you in embedding your fonts, but it may not answer all your questions. For additional questions, please consult your word-processing program help files for specific information on embedding fonts.

For Mac Users: Embedding Fonts using Word

Due to the variety of information on embedding fonts on Word for Macs, we encourage you to consult the Word Help files which explain how to set the Font Substitutions.

For PC Users: Embedding Fonts using Word

To embed fonts in Word 2003

  1. Open up the Word document version of your project.
  2. Go to the 'Tools' menu up at the top & select the bottom-most choice there, 'Options'.
  3. This will open up the 'Options' window. Please select the tab entitled, 'Save'.
  4. On the left-hand side of this tab, the third or fourth election from the top has the caption 'Embed True Type Fonts'. Please make sure that the box beside this text is checked.
  5. Checking that box will make available the two indented boxes below the 'Embed True Type Fonts' box. Please make sure that both boxes are unchecked.
  6. Click 'OK'
  7. Save your Word document.
  8. Submit that saved document for pdf conversion.

To embed fonts in Vista/Word 2007

  1. Open up Word 2007.
  2. Go to the 'Quick Access Bar' menu (Office Button) up at upper left hand corner near the top & select 'Print Preview'.
  3. Select 'Options' icon.
  4. Select 'Save' from the left-hand side column.
  5. Locate "Preserve the fidelity when sharing this document."
  6. Check box "Embed fonts in file." Uncheck the boxes labeled "Embed only the characters..." and "Do not embed common system fonts."
  7. Click 'Ok'.
  8. Save your Word document.

Embedding fonts in an Adobe Acrobat PDF created from Word 2007

  1. Open Word.
  2. Go to the 'Quick Access Bar' menu (Office Button) up at upper left hand corner near the top & select 'Print'.
  3. Select Adobe PDF for Printer Name.
  4. Select 'Properties'.
  5. Select "Highest Quality" for the Default Setting, and check the "rely on systems fonts only" checkbox. Hit 'OK'.
  6. On the Print menu again, select "adobe PDF" for the printer, and then 'OK'.
  7. Save the new version under a different file name, and when it finishes reformatting, check it over again to ensure that the fonts, figures, or tables you may have used appear accurately and professionally.

Check your PDF in Adobe Acrobat to ensure your fonts are embedded

  1. Open the file in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Choose File>Document Properties>Fonts.
  3. Fonts should be listed as Type 1, TrueType, or listed as "embedded." If no, it will require you to embed them now.
  4. Select 'OK' to close the Font Window.

If you encounter problems while checking your file, consult Adobe's troubleshooting page.

Other Formatting Tips

Combining multiple documents into a single PDF file

Please consult the Adobe Acrobat help files for instructions on how to combine multiple files into a single PDF. The computers in the Kennedy Library provide access to Adobe Acrobat Pro. PolyConnect Lab, located in the Kennedy Library, can assist with this process.

Adobe Acrobat Tutorial

Numbering pages differently in separate sections (Microsoft Word)

Many departments require students to use different numbering formats in different parts of their document. For example, using i, ii, iii numbering for the table of contents and introduction, and using 1, 2, 3 numbering for the rest of the document, and then no page numbers for the index. Consult the Microsoft Word help guide for more information on how to accomplish this.


Images and Multimedia File Formats

The inclusion of complex multimedia objects in a senior project is a relatively new possibility. Interested students are encouraged to work with their advisor. DigitalCommons@CalPoly provides the option to upload supplementary files to accompany the main senior project. Supplementary files are intended to enhance the full text of the submission. A dataset is an example of a supplementary file.

If the project contains images or other content that are not the original works fo the student, the student may need to secure permissions from the original content creator. It would be unlawful to reproduce and distribute 3rd party content without the appropriate permissions. If your work includes music, videos, or other accompanying material that is not your original work, the same copyright stipulations apply.

If your work contains interviews, you should attach a statement to your Senior Project Requirement Form verifying you have the permission from the interviewees to reproduce and distribute their content.


Web-based Projects

The library does not provide hosting services for senior project websites. For Web-based senior projects, such as websites, wikis, and blogs; the discrete files can be deposited but the functionality of the website will not be emulated for users.

You may consider registering your website with Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, a service that allows people to visit archived versions of Web sites. This cost-free service will crawl your website and ensure that it is saved for posterity. To learn more, please visit .