Important computer tools for writing scientific
If you do not know how to type efficiently, take a course. It will probably turn out to
be the most important investment you have made.
The following is a list of software tools that I use.
A word processor for entering the text: e.g. Microsoft
- Styles. Sets up a template of fonts for the different parts of a paper
- Revisions. Highlights changes. Especially useful when several authors
A search engine for references
A spread sheet program for assembling data, generating
tables and bar graphs, and simple stats: e.g. Excel.
1) Using Worksheets and Workbooks
- A Worksheet is a collection of spreadsheet pages. A Workbook is a
collection of worksheets.
Suppose each experiment examined 1 of 5 factors in 7 subjects.
- One could then use worksheets and workbooks to organize the data as
- For each factor create a page of a worksheet with the data for 1 subject
- A worksheet contains 7 pages, one for each subject.
- A workbook contains 5 worksheets, each for a different factor.
2) Multiple linking of cells
- This automatically updates the values of cells in your worksheets
whenever a change occurs in any one element.
A computer graphics program for generating the final
figures: e.g. Corel Draw.
- You can save a lot of time by drawing the figure in the
scale it will appear in the journal.
- In most cases this means scaling the width to 3.35" (1 column
width). Use guidelines to mark these edges.
- Styles: Select two or three common
fonts, font sizes and line thickness,
etc. for all your figures.
- Multiple pages: Keeps all your figures in one file. This makes it easy to
find and keep the figures in order.
- Print them and check that the text and lines are clearly visible. Make them
larger or wider if necessary.
A data base for organizing the references: e.g. Reference
- Reformats references automatically to that required by each journal.
- Links with your word processor so that references in the text are matched
to your reference list.
Short courses are offer by ITS at Western
Copyright © 1995
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada
Created 28 Sept 1995
10 January 2007