Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

Washington Apple Pi Journal Writer's Guidelines 2013

After 35 years, we no longer accept articles in Apple II or III format. Nor do we accept things on an Apple II Unidisk floppy disk, or even a 3.5” Mac disk. About the only circular objects that are acceptable are Mac-formatted CD-ROMs or DVDs, but electronic submissions work even better.

Who can write:

(Almost) anybody can write an article for the Washington Apple Pi Journal. We prefer submissions by our own members, but a good article (in English) on aquatic use of iPads, by dolphins, would be fine. We do not publish press releases masking as magazine articles, or magazine articles sent in by vendors.

What to write about:

Meeting reports: Washington Apple Pi members are scattered across the planet, so the vast majority don't have the opportunity to attend the General Meetings, Special Interest Group meetings, field trips and other Pi events. Reports on Pi events are always greatly appreciated. The reports don't have to be from the meeting leader; anyone attending can write about the event.

Hardware and software reviews are always appreciated. Please don't copy the format of the "professional" magazines that seem to consist of nothing except excerpts from the owner's manual or specifications taken from the side of the box. Write about how it is to actually use a given piece of hardware or software. Write about what you do with it. Include photos or illustrations or screen shots that aren't just reruns of the included demos.

“Look what I've done!” We love articles about how you use your Mac or iPhone or iPad or other Apple gizmo to perform some task. The task can be strange -- building an underwater lobster trap monitoring system out of old Mac SEs -- or it can be more commonplace, such as adding captions to vacation video. It can also be very specific: if you've figured out a way to have Siri pilot a radio-controlled plane, by all means, tell us.

How to articles are always popular. If you've re-wired a San Francisco Victorian home with state-of-the-art surround sound in every room, controlled by an iPod, tell us how.

“It works this way.” Some of the more popular articles are devoted to simply telling how something works. Can you explain why a wireless connection probably won't work in the middle of a desert -- or in a lead-lined fallout shelter in your basement? People want to know.

When to write:

Journal deadlines are published on page 2 of every issue, but don’t obsess about deadlines; write when you get the idea, and send it in. The Pi has had over 400 straight months of people missing deadlines, so write, and send it in. Don’t let the calendar hem you in.

Article submissions

All material must be supplied in machine-readable format. If you have an Internet connection, the fastest way to send material is to E-mail it to: editor@wap.org. For those lacking an Internet connection, please mail CD-ROMS (first choice) to:

Washington Apple Pi, Ltd.
P.O. Box 6800
Silver Spring, MD 20916-6800

If you do mail something physical to the Pi office, it does help if you can send an E-mail message to editor@wap.org telling the editors to look for a package.

Article length

There is no hard and fast rule against long pieces. Most articles tend to be shorter. Use this guide, and your word processor's word count feature, to judge the length of an article:

SIG meeting report: 300-500 words
Short note: 300-500 words
Short review article: 500-800 words
Article: 850-2,000 words

These lengths are approximate and are intended to serve as guidelines only.


Please do not submit material that is not your own or that bears someone else's copyright notice. You may copyright your own material; make sure your byline includes the appropriate notification, such as © 2013 Charlotte Brontë (will she ever be surprised). Should you have programming code in your article, please include written permission for us to print it, and make sure all the code is your own.

If you quote someone, be sure you get the quote exactly correct, and in context. Short quotations from copyrighted works are permitted for reviews and educational purposes, but only if you get it right.

Archive format

Unless you are submitting something via diskette or CD-ROM, please bundle up your submission in an archive. Mac OS X has built-in support for Zip archive format. Collect all the pieces of your Journal submission into a folder, and give the folder a descriptive name, such as “WritersGuidelines.” Then select the folder and go to the Finder File menu and select “Compress [name of folder].” Then compose an E-mail message introducing your work, attach the archive file to your message, and send it to editor@wap.org. You should get back a confirmation message in a day or two that the submission has been received.

If the archive is over 10 megabytes, you might wish to upload the archive to Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other online file service, and send a link to the archive to editor@wap.org.

Why send things in an archive? There are several reasons: (1) by bundling everything together, the editors know they have all the pieces; (2) the compression makes the submission smaller, making it faster for you to send and for the editors to receive; (3) archives have error checking code, so if something is corrupted in the transmission process, it is easy to detect; and (4) many E-mail systems do odd things to attachments, especially multiple attachments in one message. By submitting things as a single, compressed, error-checking archive, the needs of humans and computers can be met on common ground.

Text formats

Make sure you include your name, and preferred article title and byline, at the start of your text. If the editors can't figure out who wrote an article, they won't publish it. Even if you want the article published anonymously or under a pseudonym, please stick your name at the start of the article, along with your preferred byline. Your E-mail address and telephone number are also handy, if there are questions. A sentence or two about yourself, at the end of the article, is also appreciated, but entirely optional.

Do not embed graphics within the article. Ever.

Please do not pre-format submissions with columns, text boxes, pull quotes, shadings and such. The editors must undo all your work.

Ideally, articles should be saved in Microsoft Word 2008 or 2011 format, or in Pages '09 format. You can also submit articles written in TextEdit.

Please do not submit articles by simply typing them into an E-mail message. Reformatting E-mail messages into something useful takes an incredible amount of time.

If your article contains programming code or HTML code, please format the code using Courier. It would also help if you include a parenthetical note to the editors reminding them of special formatting, such as:

[format in Courier]
        for i= 32 to 127
        print chr$(i);
        next i

Graphics format

Articles with illustrations are invariably more popular than articles without illustrations, so by all means include illustrations. Illustrations should always be included as separate files; don't paste graphics into your text. Ever.

Please note that every illustration should also include a caption, and captions should either be appended to the end of your article text or be included as a separate file. Journal readers are scattered all over the planet, so please fully identify any people in photos. "John sitting at his desk" might seem to be a great caption to you, but literally tens of millions of people are named "John," and the vast majority of them probably don't look like the person in your photo.

All of the following are acceptable graphics file formats. Since it isn't usually obvious what kind of graphic a given file might be, please be sure and use the appropriate file extension on all graphics files:

Acrobat PDF files -- .pdf
TIFF graphics -- .tiff
EPS files -- .eps
JPEG compressed graphics -- .jpg

If you want the Journal to use only part of an illustration, please crop the illustration before you submit it. However, please submit the graphic in its original size; we may shrink it for including in the Journal, but having a graphic in the original size makes this easier.

Journal style

The Washington Apple Pi Journal is in every way a publication by, for, and about its members. Accordingly, unlike the Associated Press and Washington Post, no effort is made to make sure that all articles look and sound the same. On the other hand, a large percentage of Pi members are either new to computing or new to the Mac or iPhone or iPad, so some consistency is required. For example, "mackintosh" is a proper spelling of a type of raincoat, and "McIntosh" is a manufacturer of superb audio equipment, but Apple, Inc., produces computers spelled (or misspelled, depending on your point of view) "Macintosh." iPod, iPad and iPhone all start with a lower case I; they are never written as Iphone or IPad or ipod.

Here are a few general guidelines:

Except for common abbreviations and acronyms, a long name should be spelled out the first time it is mentioned in the article with the abbreviation or acronym after it in parentheses.

Similarly, fully identify individuals the first time they are mentioned, such as "Washington Apple Pi President Martha Washington." Subsequently, you can shorten this to "Martha" or "Washington," as appropriate.

Numbers, including money, should be written with commas where appropriate: 1,000 or $13,450.

If a number series occurs within a paragraph, number the series using "(1)," etc.

Do not attempt to line things up using spaces. Most word processors have table tools for creating tables, so use tables to bring order to such information.

Do not use more than one space between sentences, or after punctuation marks. In fact, there should never be more than one space in a row anywhere in your article.

Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks. Other punctuation marks go outside, unless they are part of the quotation.

Add subheads where you think they might be useful, or to break up long passages of text.

Italicize all publication names, such as Washington Apple Pi Journal.

Italicize all software names, such as Photoshop, Acrobat, etc.

Never put a space before punctuation marks.

Do not use ALL CAPS for titles, subheads, or emphasis. If you want something emphasized, use bold.

Do not use footnotes, as they are difficult to handle. Endnotes are acceptable, but should be avoided if at all possible.

In software or hardware reviews, be sure to include the full name, version, company name, company address, Web address, phone number and price of the hardware or software.

The Journal will not publish material that is offensive, which addresses Pi politics, or which says anything less than flattering about Pi members, either individually or collectively. This is not censorship, just a matter of good taste.


Please write all proper names -- hardware model names, software titles, publications -- as they are presented by the owner. Note, in particular, the picky, mixed-case punctuation of trademarked, copywrited hardware and software. Apple maintains an extensive list of their trademarks, with proper spelling, at: