Ruled paper (or lined paper) is writing paper printed with lines as a guide for handwriting. The lines often are printed with fine width and in light colour and such paper is sometimes called feint-ruled paper. Additional vertical lines may provide margins or act as tab stops or create a grid for plotting data, for example graph paper (squared paper or grid paper) where horizontal and vertical lines divide the page into squares.
Lines on ruled paper provide a guide to help users keep their writing or drawing consistent with a predetermined set of rules. The ruling layout is not determined by the paper size but by the purpose, style of handwriting or the language used. Many different line layouts support handwriting, calligraphy, plotting data on graphs, musical notation or help teach students to write in a particular language or script. The following are common examples:
- Note paper (or Writing paper, Filler paper, Loose leaf paper, Binder paper) is typically used for handwriting and is produced in different layouts and sizes. The layout usually consists of evenly spaced horizontal lines, or feints, with vertical lines drawn to indicate margins, the middle of the page, or sections of a line. The example shown right is described as A4, bound, with narrow feint and margin.
- Graph paper has horizontal and vertical lines evenly spaced over the entire page to create a grid of squares and is used for drafting, drawing and plotting graphs. Often every tenth or fifth line is bolded to assist in counting the lines when plotting data.
- Quadrille ruled paper (or quad paper) is similar to graph paper but without the bolded tenth lines. It is useful in mathematics to keep numbers in columns when doing manual operations such as long division or long multiplication, and in spreadsheets or accounts.
- Semi-log ruled paper is similar to quadrille ruled, except the horizontal lines are spaced according to the logarithmic scale instead of being evenly spaced.
- Log-log ruled paper is similar to semi-log ruled except that both the horizontal and vertical lines are spaced logarithmically.
- Manuscript paper is used for handwriting music. The most basic page is laid out with a series of five-line staves, each spanning the width of the page. Any musical notation (clefs, bars, notes, etc.) may be written in as desired by the artist. As notebook paper is to the written word, music manuscript paper is to the written score.
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Regional standards exist for ruling layouts, particularly for academic or government clerical purposes.
Elementary students use Tianzigezhi ruled paper.
In order to foster handwriting discipline, a type of ruling known as Seyès ruling is used on paper in schools. Heavy horizontal lines are printed 8 mm (appx. 5/16 in) apart, with three lighter lines 2 mm (appx. 5/64 in) apart between each pair of heavy lines. Heavy vertical lines are spaced 8 mm (appx. 5/16 in) apart, beginning 16 mm (appx. 5/8 in) from the left-hand edge of the page. These sheets of paper are generally known as grands carreaux (large tiles) as opposed to the petits carreaux (small tiles) which are 5x5mm. Seyès ruled paper is available in single sheets (copies simples) or joined double sheets (copies doubles) which are sometimes preferred for exams, being easier to handle.
DIN 16552:1977-04 (“Lines for handwriting”) specifies the types of ruled paper to be used by school pupils.
Among others, genkō yōshi (原稿用紙, "manuscript paper") is a kind of paper mainly used for kanji script writing, formed vertically with individual boxes for each Chinese character. There is a thin column to the right of the boxes, for transcribing kana pronunciation. The sizes can vary for ability levels. It is used across the East Asian cultural sphere, for example in Korea for writing proverbs.
It is also the main form of rule used by Taiwanese students, where it is called 原稿紙 (pinyin: yuángǎo zhǐ). In Taiwan, students use the thin vertical column to transcribe Bopomofo pronunciation.
New Zealand standard for school stationery, 1984 specifies standards for ruled and unruled paper.
Formats for exercise notebooks are standardised.. School exercise books must use 8 mm spacing between the lines, other ruled paper may use 6 mm, 7 mm, 8 mm and 9 mm spacing. The paper for cursive writing uses pairs of lines 4 mm apart, with 8 mm between the pairs. They may also have angled lines at 65 degrees to vertical to provide additional guidance. The lines can have gray, blue, green or purple color. The vertical margin line must have red or orange color.
Ruled paper is available in a variety of semi-standardized formats:
- Narrow ruled paper has 1⁄4 in (8⁄32 in, 6.4 mm) spacing between ruling lines, and is used by those with smaller handwriting or to fit more lines per page.
- Medium ruled (or College ruled) paper has 9⁄32 in (7.1 mm) spacing between horizontal lines, with a vertical margin drawn about 1 1⁄4 inches (32 mm) from the left-hand edge of the page. Its use is very common in the United States.
- Wide ruled (or Legal ruled) paper has 11⁄32 in (8.7 mm) spacing between horizontal lines, with a vertical margin drawn about 1 1⁄4 inches (32 mm) from the left-hand edge of the page. It is commonly used by American children in grade school, as well as by those with larger handwriting.
- Gregg ruled paper has ruling specialized for stenography. It has 11⁄32 in (8.7 mm) spacing between ruling lines, with a single margin drawn down the center of the page.
- Pitman ruled paper has ruling specialized for stenography. It has 1⁄2 in (12.7 mm) spacing between ruling lines, with a single margin drawn down the center of the page.
- Manuscript ruled paper is used to teach young children how to write. A blank sheet consists of rows of three lines (the space between them depends on the age group being taught) with the middle line in each three-line set being dotted. The D'Nealian writing style is a well-known teaching method that makes use of this type of paper ruling. Another educational institution, A Beka Book, utilizes this ruling along with a house metaphor (upstairs, downstairs, and basement) to help young children learn where parts of each letter should be written. The usage is similar in concept to the use of the horizontal lines on French Seyès rule paper.
- Junior Legal ruled paper is found on 5 inch by 8 inch Junior Legal Pads. This can be equal to Narrow rule or Medium rule, depending on the manufacturer.
In this article we’ll show you how to use mind maps for essay writing. Mind maps can not only make this often dreadful task a whole lot easier, but also save you a huge amount of time. If you want to learn how this simple yet effective technique works, just follow the steps as outlined below.
What Is a Mind Map?
A mind map is a diagram that displays information visually. You can create mind maps using pen and paper, or you can use an online mind mapping tool such as MindMeister. Whatever you use, the rules for creating a mind map are simple:
1) Write the subject in the center of your paper / canvas.
2) Draw branches that point away from the center. Each branch symbolizes one thought or idea related to the subject. Use meaningful keywords to write these ideas onto the branches.
3) From each branch more ideas can branch off.
4) Use colors, icons and images whenever possible. These function as mental triggers and can help spark new ideas in you, which is important during brainstorming sessions.
Now that you know how to create a basic mind map, let’s go over how you can use mind maps for essay writing.
Step 1: Using a Mind Map to Find a Good Topic for Your Essay
If you have the opportunity to choose the topic for your paper yourself, try to find one that’s been covered by other researchers before, but still gives you a chance to come up with new findings and conclusions. If you choose a topic that has already been explored in depth by a gazillion other researchers, you might be hard pressed to develop a unique perspective.
Ideally, the topic should be something you are also personally interested in, or at least something you can relate to in some way. This will make the whole task of writing your essay a little less dreadful. The best way to find such a topic is a brainstorming session.
How to brainstorm topic ideas in a mind map
Create a new mind map and simply write “My Essay” or “My Paper” in the center of the map. Now, start adding ideas around the center. These can be things your professor suggested, related subjects you discussed in class, or anything else relevant to get you started.
Next, note down your own areas of interest and see where they intersect with the former. Once you have a few good ideas for the subject of your paper, you can start weighing them against each other, noting down pros and cons. Eliminate topics until you’re left with only one. This will be the topic of your paper.
In the example below, the only requirement that had been given was to write a paper about literature from the English Renaissance. You’ll see various famous writers of this time mentioned in the map, as well as various aspects of their work that could be examined in a paper, such as the symbolism, dramatic conflicts or themes.
Step 2: Start the Research Process
While working through both primary and secondary sources, it’s quite easy to get confused about the numerous arguments and counterarguments. Many students get frustrated and waste a lot of time just trying to figure out how to make all the different pieces of information fit together into a coherent text.
What you need, therefore, is a system to collect and structure all this information in one central place, so you can easily review the materials while you write.
How to collect research in a mind map
Create a new mind map for each source (book, article, essay) you read and take notes in this mind map while you work through the text. Alternatively, you can use one single map where you list all your sources and create child topics for every page/paragraph/quote you want to use in your paper.
In the map below, you’ll see that – based on our initial brainstorming session – we chose ‘Love in Romeo and Juliet’ as the topic of our paper. For our research map, we wrote this topic in the center and created individual branches for each source we read. Next to the book title, we noted down the topics covered in the source, its central question as well as important passages that we thought we might want to quote in our essay.
Here are some practical tips to set you up for success:
- Use colors, arrows and icons to indicate connections between the arguments and quotes.
- Be sure to add the page numbers to the topics in your map so you can quickly go back to do some more fact checking if necessary. If you’re working with online sources you can also attach their links directly to the topics in your map.
- As you go along, you can restructure the sources according to topics, which usually provides a better overview of the material you have available for each section of your paper.
Here’s another example of a research map. This is the map we used to take notes while reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the subject of our paper. As you can see, we created branches for each of the text passages we wanted to analyze in the essay.
Step 3: Outline Your Paper in a Mind Map
Before you start with the actual writing, it’s very important that you first create an outline of your paper. This will help you create a coherent structure of your arguments, counterarguments, examples, quotes, and the sources you want to reference in each argument.
You can quickly review this outline whenever you get sidetracked in your writing process, or when you’re unsure about how to continue. A mind map is a great format for such an outline because it provides you with a visual overview of your thesis statement and the entire text structure.
If you’re using mind mapping software such as MindMeister, you can also…
- Link the individual topics in your map with the respective research maps you’ve created.
- Add notes and deadlines to each step to make sure your writing stays on schedule.
- Export your finished outline as a Word document and use it as the basis for your paper.
Using mind maps to plan and outline your essay will not only make the writing process a lot easier, it will also enable you to work through sources more efficiently and help you find information more quickly. Of course, you can use mind mapping for all types of writing assignments – from essays to short stories and from book reports to blog posts. Try it out!
See also: The Student’s Guide to Mind Mapping