A manuscript is the work that an author submits to a publisher, editor, or producer for publication. In publishing, "manuscript" can also refer to one or both of the following:
Even with desktop publishing making it possible for writers to prepare text that appears professionally typeset, many publishers still require authors to submit manuscripts formatted according to their respective guidelines. Manuscript formatting varies greatly depending on the type of work, as well as the particular publisher, editor or producer. Writers who intend to submit a manuscript should determine what the relevant writing standards are, and follow them.
Although publishers’ guidelines for formatting are the most critical resource for authors, style guides are also key references since "virtually all professional editors work closely with one of them in editing a manuscript for publication." Nonetheless, individual publishers' standards always take precedence over style guides.
As formatting of a short story is considered the most general rubric for manuscript submissions, it is referred to as the standard manuscript format and is easily distinguishable from most published material.
Main article: Preprint
An ordinary manuscript only becomes a "publisher's preprint" if it somehow gets distributed beyond the authors (or the occasional colleague whom they ask for advice). A future "final print" must be planned – with better layout, proofreading, prepress proofing, etc. – that will replace the "preprinted manuscript".