last minute panick: what do I do now?


I thought I took extra care and checked everything before I took the thesis to the copy- shop to be printed. I asked to print the 3 copies together so that i could have this 4 holiday days to check for any problem before they got bound.

Then when I arrived there they had printed only one copy and they ask me to check things there, which of course I could do only in a very quick and superficial manner. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I picked up the 3 bound copies today, and everything appears fine except for three pictures (I have a volume of figures as I am in art history) that are reconstructions that I made using my own drawings and power-point elements, which appear to have some missing parts.

Clearly when I converted the word file into PDF it registered the image in a different way, something that could be easily sorted if I had the chance to check it properly before they were bound.

However, now the thesis is bound and I am very fed-up because I thought I took all the care possible to avoid this. I spent a lot of money to get it professionally printed, and now I face two possibilities:

1) I get it stripped again and ask to insert the amended images (but I am not sure that this is possible, without having to reprint the whole thing), or 2) I submitted as it is and: a) I hope that they are blind and don't notice them, b) I print the incriminated pictures properly myself and take them to the viva, and explain what happen with the idea to get the matter sorted in the final version.

Obviously I will probably get lots of corrections, or perhaps I won't even pass the viva at all and I am just being maniac over a stupid thing, but on the other hand I could also get minor corrections just for these three pictures, and I don't feel happy about it.

Is there anyone who feels like saying something nice and supportive? thanks in advance!


Hi Corinne, I don't know how useful I can be because I'm not anywhere near getting my thesis written let alone bound, but I think you should try option 1 - to get it stripped and the correct images inserted. I don't want to sound patronising - it's a shame that it will cost you more but I think that it will save you a lot of stress when you are preparing for your viva, I guess that is stressful enough without having to worry about taking images in and having to mention the problem at the beginning, or constantly wondering whether the examiners will pick up on it.

I have slight experience of something similar and fortunately I didn't lost marks for it, but when I got my MSc dissertation bound the printers had put two sets of references in each copy, hence about four extra (repeated) pages. I ended up just leaving them in there because I didn't want to ruin the binding, but for the two months I was waiting for the mark I kept worrying about it; I was worried enough about the actual dissertation without that extra stress on top.

So if you can get it sorted, I really would, despite the additional cost which I guess is the most irritating thing. Hope that's helped a bit, Nx


I think taking them along to the viva is a good idea, and as long as you can discuss the content in a clear and expert manner then it shouldn't be a problem. However, I am saying this based on the assumption that your whole argument won't suffer without them being there in their proper form - if those images in particular are critical then you might have to bite the bullet. Also, it probably isn't the first thing you'll see when looking over your thesis that you think should be changed, and as I understand it very few people get through without any corrections at all.

Should probably drop in a post-post caveat that I am in a different discipline, haven't been through the viva process just yet and am more than likely at a different uni. But going on the limited info it would really depend to me on how much weight those images in particular carry.


Hi Corinne,

first, try not to worry, you have come this far, with having a thesis completed you have done about 99% of the work and it is now a matter of fine tuning. As you indicate you have a few days off now, as such a bit of time to look at the paper version of the thesis. It may be a good idea to have a good look at it. Apart from the mentioned pictures are you happy with everything else? Are there any other areas / errors that you had not noticed and which you think should be changed? I would suggest to make a list of these potential problem areas.

Then after the weekend I think you have two choices:

1. You could leave the thesis as it is, but take a list of the problems areas to the viva. It is important that you are aware of them. Several people on this forum have done this, for example related to grammatical errors, and have been happy that they have done so. Also remember that the examiners often have only quickly looked over the thesis and may not have noticed. If you feel comfortable with this idea, you can leave it like that and start preparing for the viva.

2. If you say I really dislike not having a perfect thesis, the correct pictures are really important and I want to hand in a perfect example, then I think you should go with you list of corrections to the printers and have these changes made. I think it is pitty because of the extra investment in money and time, yet this may save you a lot of nerves while preparing and especially during the viva.

Personally I would go for option 2.

Evenso, whatever you decide, remember you have done most of the work! You will pass!



Thank you very much all of you. Rick indeed I decided to go for option 2 and get it reprinted (at least the copies that I have to submit).
As I couldn't sleep I re-worked the incriminated pictures and they now look fine also in PDF. Just as well that I have a week left before the deadline, or I would have had a heart attack!
I will probably spend this long weekend worrying anyway!

I will keep you posted! :$


Hi Corinne,
Its sounds like you've decided but just to say I agree with you! For the cost of a night out getting your thesis as good as it can be will save you so much stress. And to leave it as is seems to negate all the hard work you've done. It, and you, deserve better.
Thankfully you've allowed yourself time for last minute "issues".
Well done for getting this far and all the best for your viva.


Thank you Chuff! You are absolutely right, and I'd prefer not to insert something that is not good enough rather than to risk spoiling everything. It's just a pity that I cannot get it re-printed before Tuesday, but at least the file is sorted now, and my own re-print of these pages look fine.

So the tip of the day is: leave some contingency time for last minute issues, and cross check everything as many times as you can, however boring it can be, before you get it printed!



....or have someone else have a look? Sometimes another person sees things immediately that you may overlook, as you have seen the thesis so many times already!

Just a thought. :-)


Hi Rick, yes, ideally you could ask someone else to read it. The reality is that my sup took over a month to read it and he didn't spot even one of the issues that I have just found. My husband read it too and didn't pick these up either. So, in the end you are the best person to spot your own mistakes.

Also, it is difficult to find someone that is available to read a document of that length at short notice and in a few days time, when you are so close to submission. However, I managed to sort out all the most apparent at least. Surely there will be other minor issues, such as spelling or punctuation, but with the kind of supervision that I had it would be a miracle if I could get away just with these minor corrections.

Anyway, I will get it re-printed tomorrow, aiming to submit by next weekend. Trying to stay positive...Thanks to all of you. This forum has been a valuable help throughout.


Just an up-date on the situation. This morning I went back to the copy-shop and they re-printed a copy for me to check. Pictures were technically fine now, except for the fact that they used a different printer and the colours were far to strong. They said they will reprint the most affected images with a different machine, but they definitely cannot use the same printer that they used before for there are other docs lined up for printing there.

At the edge of a crisis I bumped into my internal and explained the situation. She advised me to wait an see the final quality of the re-print, and if I am not happy cut off the 5 bad pictures from the first print and attach the correct copy with glue. My sup will then inform the external of the PDF problem.

So, it's not as straightforward as I would have hoped, especially after all the work and effort that I put into it. However, I will talk with my sup shortly and we will see what the best option a this point is...:-(


Hi Corinne,

Just wanted to say well done for getting to this point, not that I can really add much. On a minature level, I had a PDF issue with my MA dissertation, where the original word doc had been re-embedding previous edits i'd done, so they re-appeared in later versions (like pop-up rats in an amusement arcade) and, inevitably, despite contact re-editing -in my bound version. Also, being in a field in the close family of art history, I had images which came out horribly (parched and pale and 'liney') and the printers kept trying to tell me it was fine. It really seemed like they were used to working with purely text-based theses, or maybe those with black and white diagrams at the most.

It's really frustrating, and I definitely sympathise with the scale at which your annoyance must have been magnified!

Hope you're sup has some helpful suggestions...good luck getting it resolves

PP x


Thanks Prettypollicy, my hubby even tried to print it in his office - they have a laser printer there - but again the resolution and colour balance is not very good.

What can I say, I know that it sound like a tantrum, and indeed it is. At the end of the day, there is only this much that I can do, and I am usually very careful. I will see how the second re-print looks, and then I will decide, but I wonder what I would have done if I was time-constrained.

I realise only now all the spelling mistakes that I have in my previous messages - hopefully it is stress-related and I will be back to normal soon.


Just one last up-date. I got it all re-printed to a much better standard and have just submitted. Yupeee!
Obviously there is still the viva and other things may go wrong, but at least I have something positive for the next wee while!


Huge congrats Corinne on successfully submitting, after what sounds like a stressful few days. Chillax for the moment and enjoy the well deserved time off.

I dream of submitting :-x hopefully in a couple of months


Well done on submitting!  It is a massive achievement and such a relief. Next will be the limbo stage of what to do next while waiting for a viva date, guilt for doing nothing or prematurely doing something :p  So for now, go and celebrate (up)