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Know about Creating a List of Abbreviations in Your Dissertation

Know about Creating a List of Abbreviations in Your Dissertation

Students pursuing a Master’s or PhD degree have to submit a well-written dissertation to acquire their degrees. Many students get confused about including a list of abbreviations in the dissertation. This article will guide you about everything you need to know about a list of abbreviations in your dissertation.

What Is A List Of Abbreviations In Research?

An abbreviation is a condensed form of a word, terminology or phrase. For example, UNSC is the abbreviated version of the United Nations Security Council. The use of abbreviations is ubiquitous in all types of writing, including dissertation writing. The names of institutions, government agencies, conceptual perspectives, etc., are commonly abbreviated in dissertations. If your dissertation has a lot of abbreviations, it’s a good idea to produce a list of all of them in alphabetical order. You can even get masters dissertation help to write abbreviations.

The list of abbreviations in research helps in increasing the readability and comprehension of the text. It also assists in attaining the word count requirements by avoiding repetitions. For example, making a list of abbreviations makes it easier for the reader to understand the meaning by just reading the acronym. It also assists the readers in comprehending terminologies and making the content easier to read.

How Do You Make A List Of Abbreviations?

You will have to consider certain things before creating an abbreviation list. You need to keep the following things in mind:

Place the list at the beginning

The list of abbreviations should be at the beginning of the dissertation, directly after the table of contents. The table of contents should also include a list of abbreviations.

Alphabetical Order

The second thing to remember is to make the abbreviation list in alphabetical order.


Make sure to define each abbreviation appropriately.

Let’s walk you through the essential steps in creating an abbreviation list for your dissertation.

Manually Create an Abbreviation List

You can manually compile an abbreviation list by reading the entire dissertation and writing down each one. After noting down all the abbreviations, you can put them all in a list at the beginning of your document. But, it is time-consuming and not considered a very good strategy. It is because you can generate the list automatically in MS (Microsoft) Word.

Automatically Generate the List in MS Word

Microsoft Word does not provide an option to generate a list of abbreviations directly. But, there are some strategies that you can utilise to generate the abbreviation list. You can do the following things:

Select the Abbreviations

The first step is to go through your document in MS Word and select all the abbreviations you want to include in the list. Here is what you can do:

  • Navigate to the Ribbon in MS Word and select the find option
  • After selecting the find option, choose the Advanced find tab
  • You can also navigate to the Advanced Find by pressing the key Ctrl + F
  • Go to the Find section and insert “[A-Z,0-9]{2,}”, excluding the quotation marks
  • In the Find and replace toolbar, select the “More” tab
  • Select the option “Use wildcards” in the “More” section
  • Select the “Find In” Option in the Find and Replace toolbar and choose the “Main Document.”

Once you follow all of the steps mentioned above, it will automatically select all strings of capitalised letters and abbreviations. You can copy all of them by pressing Ctrl + C. After copying all of the abbreviations, you can use Excel to make the job easier.

Go to Excel

Open up the MS Excel on your laptop or desktop and do the following things:

  • Open a new Excel spreadsheet
  • Select a column and press Ctrl + V to paste all the copied abbreviations
  • You can select the column and navigate to the Ribbon panel in MS Excel
  • Navigate to the Home panel and select Sort & Filter Option and then choose Sort A to Z
  • You can manually remove the repetitive abbreviations, or you can do it automatically
  • To automatically remove repetitions, navigate to the “Data” option in the Ribbon and select “Remove Duplicates.”
  • Create a heading at the top of the abbreviations by inserting a new row
  • Create another heading of “Definition” in the next column
  • Now you can write down the definition of each abbreviation in the adjacent column
  • After writing down all the definitions, you can copy and paste the list into MS Word

What Are The Five Types Of Abbreviations?

Following are the five types of abbreviations:


Initialism is a type of abbreviation that constitutes the first letters of a set of words. We have to pronounce each alphabet separately. For example:

  • CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
  • BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • MP( Member of Parliament)
  • DEA( Drug Enforcement Agency)


An acronym is a group of letters that stands for a longer phrase. We pronounce the acronym like a word. It is important to remember that acronyms are not similar to initialisms. Many people confuse acronyms with initialisms. We pronounce initialisms letter by letter, but we pronounce the acronyms like a word.

  • NATO (North American Treaty Organization)
  • AIDS( Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
  • RADAR( Radio Detection and Ranging)


Contraction results from joining two words into a single word with an apostrophe. For example, ‘has not’ becomes ‘hasn’t’. But, it is important to remember that contractions are informal, and they should not be used in academic writing.


Shortening is a type of abbreviation in which we omit the first or last letters of a word. For example:

  • is a shortening of approximately
  • Flu is a shortening of influenza

Latin Abbreviations

Latin abbreviations are quite frequent in academic writing. For example, the Latin phrase “et cetera” becomes “etc.”

How Do You Identify Abbreviations in MS Word?

Here is all you will have to do to identify abbreviations in MS Word:

  • Press Ctrl + F and go to the “Advanced Find” Tab
  • In the Find What section, enter “[A-Z,0-9]{2,}” without quotation marks
  • Select the Reading Highlight tab and choose “highlight all”.

Once you follow all these steps, MS Word will highlight all the abbreviations in the document.


We have told you everything you need to know about creating a list of abbreviations for your dissertation. A general rule of thumb is to not incorporate too many abbreviations in the dissertation. Too many abbreviations make your text repetitive, so you should omit some common abbreviations and duplicates. You can buy dissertation online to overcome such issues.


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