Academic Editing Services

The aim of functional editing is a document you can submit with confidence.

Additional Services

We offer several additional services:

Formatting – We will format the thesis in line with the requirements by faculty or to the standards we know are the conventional ones. Similarly we will format your article or book in line with the requirements by the journal or publisher to whom you are submitting your manuscript. 

Reference Checking – We will check the List of References or Bibliography for conformance with the style guide mandated by faculty or publisher in case of the Harvard author / date system. Likewise we will check the footnotes or endnotes for conformance with the style guide mandated if you’re following a system that uses those rather than a List.

Final Reviewing – We will do a Final Review of text you’ve changed in response to our comments in the editing stage to ensure no glitches have crept in. We would only check the changed text, plus a paragraph or two before and after to make sure the changed text coheres with what comes before and after. This service is highly recommended for non-native speakers of English.

These three services can be chosen completely independently of each other, and of any other service. We’d be happy to format your text or check the references even if you didn’t get us to edit it.


Formatting means implementing the guidelines mandated by university faculty, journal or publisher, using MS Word paragraph formatting, also called paragraph ‘styles’. There are many advantages to applying Word styles, yet writers often choose to ignore those and ‘tweak’ every paragraph manually, without using Word styles. Let’s review the three most useful advantages of proper formatting.

  1. Consistency of appearance of each paragraph. The entire document will be consistently and perfectly formatted: Headings (chapter, section), captions (table, figure), types of paragraph (paragraph of running text, immediately following a heading or a subsequent paragraph), block quote, example, and many more.
  2. Style formatting is much quicker: more than ten times faster than manually formatting.
  3. Generation of Table of Contents, List of Figures and List of Tables automatically. Every thesis has these, so why would you want to create them manually, typing each chapter and section heading in a Table of Contents (TOC) and adding the current page number? And since the page numbers of course change with changes to the text, the TOC requires updating of page numbers, possibly many times. Apart from this being tedious, and likely to result in errors, such a manually created TOC misses out on the headings in the table being ‘clickable’, that is, one click on a heading taking you to the heading in the text of the document. The same goes for the Lists of Figures and Tables.

Formatting consists of:

  • Creating paragraph styles for each type of paragraph in the thesis.
  • Applying these styles to all instances of a given type of paragraph.
  • Managing pagination to avoid tables or formulae being cut in half.
  • Managing placement and page numbering of front-matter elements.
  • Managing headers and footers (if used) and footnotes.
  • Generating Table of Contents, List of Figures, List of Tables.

Example of Formatting

Here’s a partial example of a TOC that was created by FunctionalEdit. It shows no changes or corrections since it was created by the editor, not the writer. If the writer had created a TOC ‘manually’, the editor would delete it and replace it with a TOC generated by Word.

table of contents as formatting example

Reference Checking

Reference Checking ensures that all entries in a List of References are correctly formatted in line with the guidelines nominated by your faculty for your thesis, by the journal for your article or by the publisher of your book.

Style Guides

Some reference style guides

APA Publication Manual

The American Psychology Association publishes this very widely used style guide for the publication of articles in American psychology journals called Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association, usually referred to as APA, currently in its 6th edition, thus APA6. This style guide is also often set by journals other than American psychology journals for citations and reference lists.

APA6 follows the Harvard author/date style, is very detailed (the printed book runs to 272 pages) and thus very useful — for citations and reference lists. Its guidance on matters of writing is useful but slanted towards American journals — it is not a general guide for thesis writing, nor are the publication conventions assumed by it always appropriate for writing and publishing in other countries. So, use with care and discretion.

APA6 is available in print and on the internet. Start here to explore what it has to offer on the internet: APA Publication Manual

Chicago Manual of Style

Another very useful guide to writing and publishing, covering two major styles for citations and references: Harvard author/date and Notes & Bibliography. It is much more detailed than the APA Manual (the printed book runs to 1026 pages), and though less commonly set by journals for citations and references than APA6, it has fantastic resources on-line, including an interactive reference guide that is available for subsription. Start here to explore what it has to offer: Chicago Manual of Style

MLA Handbook

This was formerly titled the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.

Published by the Modern Language Association of America, the MLA Handbook 8th ed. is another highly respected style guide. It covers the writing of journal articles, theses and books, and is widely used in the humanities for citations, references and many other aspects of publishing besides. In addition to the Harvard author/date system it covers the Endnotes and Footnotes system used in some disciplines, for example in history. Start here to explore what it has to offer: MLA Handbook

Style Guides

Additional style guides

(Australian) Style Manual

Formerly titled The Commonwealth Style Guide.

This style manual is the premier Australian style guide, having been first published by the Australian Government in 1966. It is an invaluable resource for all kinds of publications, running to 550 pages in its print edition. The current 6th edition, a major revision by Snooks & Co., is now published by Wiley & Sons. Unfortunately, it is only available in print.

Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) 3rd ed.

AGLC is published by the Melbourne University Law Review Association in collaboration with the Melbourne Journal of International Law and seeks to provide the Australian legal community with a standard for citing legal sources. There is no single standard for legal citation in Australia, but the AGLC is the most widely used: AGLC (pdf)

Vancouver Style

Vancouver is a numbered referencing style commonly used in medicine and science, and consists of:

· Citations to someone else’s work in the text, indicated by the use of a number.

· A sequentially numbered reference list at the end of the document providing full details of the corresponding in-text reference.

The Vancouver style follows rules established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, now maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is also known as Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals. The Vancouver style thus doesn’t follow the Harvard author/date style for citations, using numbers instead. The exact style for entries in the reference list will be determined by a style guide that follows Vancouver, be it a published one like Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers or the (American Medical Association Manual Of Style ), or a ‘house’ version provided to students of a particular university or faculty.