July 29, 2015, Wednesday, 209

# Writing best practices

## Default Best Style Practices

The following is OLEG's summary of default style and formatting practices when preparing a journal/conference manuscript or thesis. Of course, these are only rules of thumb, and are easily superseded when justified and agreed by the co-authors:

### Equations

1. Equations should normally be introduced as a natural part of the sentence, including punctuation. This rule applies whether the equation is inline or on its own line. For example:
```correct: "The grating equation is
sin(theta) = m*lambda/Lambda,         (Eq. 1)
where m is the order, lambda is the wavelength, Lambda is the grating period, and theta is the diffraction angle of order m.
```
```incorrect: "The grating equation is shown in Eq. 1 below.
sin(theta) = m*lambda/Lambda         (Eq. 1)
Note that m is the order, lambda is the wavelength, Lambda is the grating period, and theta is the diffraction angle of order m
```

### Units

1. A space nearly always exists between a number and its unit (correct: "1550 nm", incorrect: "1550nm"). The only exceptions for this are units that are symbols, such as percent (%) and degrees (°).
2. Units are not normally italicized.

### Acronyms

1. Capitalize letters when defining an acronym (correct: "... a simulation tool called Wideband OpticaL Fdtd SIMulator (WOLFSIM)", also correct: "... a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)").

### Commas

1. Use a comma to separate the elements (three or more) of a series, including the last two (correct: "... red, green, and blue", incorrect: "... red, green and blue").
2. Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives, especially important in titles. If you can put an "and" or a "but" between the adjectives, a comma will probably belong there. For instance, correct: "efficient, compact, optical system", but incorrect: "efficient compact optical system". Keep in mind however, that we would correctly write "efficient, compact liquid crystal polarization grating" since "efficient" and "compact" are the adjectives, while "liquid crystal polarization grating" is essentially the noun. (adapted from http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm).

1. clarify

1. more