Research Computing >> Software >> Scientific WorkPlace / Word >> Northwestern Dissertation template


Miguel Lerma, in Northwestern's Math Department, has created a LATEX class file and template to fulfill Northwestern's dissertation guidelines. In addition, technical support at MacKichan Software has created the shell and style files, as well as modified versions of files needed by Scientific WorkPlace and Scientific Word. These files will be included in future releases of Scientific WorkPlace and Scientific. Users with version 4.1 build 2363 and earlier need to add these files manually. To verify the version of the software in your computer, select "About Scientific Word/WorkPlace" from the "Help" menu.If you have a previous build, download the most recent patch from, under "Downloads."

The instructions below require that you download both sets of files. Thanks to Miguel Lerma (Math Department) and George Pearson (MacKichan Software) for their help. Even if the files are available in the computer you are using, it would not be a bad idea to download a fresh copy of "nuthesis.cls" since Miguel Lerma keeps it up to date with the latest requirements from the Graduate School.

The Graduate School's manuscript preparation guidelines are available online:

Do not forget to check the deadlines for degree application and submission of the dissertation, and the Graduate School's "Degree Completion" page.

For doubts about how to document your dissertation and general stylistic issues, you can also consult the "Chicago Manual of Style" and the Turabian "A manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations." Both publications are available to Kellogg doctoral students and faculty in Jacobs, room 4219, for short term borrowing.

If you have tips that would improve these instructions, send e-mail to Research Computing. Please note that we do not troubleshoot Scientific WorkPlace or LATEX problems, but we are willing to incorporate your tips to this page; Kellogg doctoral students may refer to the Scientific WorkPlace manuals and the LATEX books available in the Research Computing library in Jacobs 4219.

The instructions were written for Scientific WorkPlace 4.1; the directory structure in Scientific WorkPlace 3.51 differs slightly. For example, there is no "Theses" sub-directory as mentioned in step [2], so the shell file may be saved under the "Books" or "Other Documents" sub-directory.

Scientific WorkPlace/Word version 5 and higher already include the "Northwestern University Shell". you only need to follow step one to ensure the typesetting specifications are up to date. See additional tips at the bottom of the page.

  1. Download the Northwestern thesis class file (nuthesis.cls)

    Download "nuthesis.cls" from the Math Department's web site (access restricted to the Northwestern IP domain; use proxy services if needed):

    Save this file to a sub-directory of "..\TCITeX\TeX\LaTeX". For example, if Scientific WorkPlace is installed in "C:\swp41", create a sub-directory called "nwu" under "C:\swp40\TCITeX\TeX\LaTeX\contrib\other" and place the file there. The resulting full path for it would be "C:\swp40\TCITeX\TeX\LaTeX\contrib\other\nwu".

  2. Download the Northwestern University shell file:

    Northwestern University.shl

    Save this file to "..\Shells\Theses\SW".

    If you have Scientific WorkPlace or Scientific Word version 5, there is nothing else you need to do.

  3. Download the Northwestern thesis style file:


    Save this file to a sub-directory of "C:\swp41\Styles\". For example, create a sub-directory called "nuthesis".

  4. Replace "classes.opt" and "classes.pkg" in the Scientific WorkPlace's "..\Typeset" directory (e.g., "C:\swp41\Typeset"):



    These files specify the default options and list of packages available to the different class files in Scientific WorkPlace and Scientific Word. (Make a backup of these files before replacing them.)

Other tips:

  • Inserting graphics "In Line" in your document may generate strange blank spaces when the document is compiled. It is best to insert graphics as "floats" and allow LATEX to position them.

  • For complex tables, you may want to add one of the packages supported by Scientific WorkPlace: "longtable", "supertabular" or "xtab". These packages allow, among other things, to break tables automatically according to the page margins. The documentation for all packages is included in Scientific WorkPlace in "dvi" format (e.g., supertabular.dvi can be found searching the directory where Scientific WorkPlace is installed).

  • You may need a text editor to work on your document, particularly if additional packages are needed or if you must clean extra codes in your file. For example, if one of your papers was manually set to 1.5 line spacing, you will have to eliminate the LATEX code inserted for that purpose. Our page on Text editors offers links to a number of good MS Windows text editors that support LATEX syntax highlighting.

  • If you need to convert Excel tables into LATEX, there is a convenient add-in that will create the code for you: Excel2Latex. Once you install the add-in. all you have to do is select the table in Excel and choose "Convert table to Latex" from the Excel Tools menu.

General Scientific WorkPlace advice:

Scientific WorkPlace has three default settings users should change. Under the "Tools" menu, select "User Setup" and click on the "Edit" tab. Click on each of the three buttons at the bottom of the dialog box (Spaces, Enter, Tabs), and set "Action" to "Ignore" repeated instances. The defaults introduce additional blank space into your document. For example, if you hit the spacebar twice, by default, Scientific WorkPlace will introduce a backslash ("\"); if you hit the "Enter" key twice, it will introduce a \bigskip, etc.

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