There is a distinctive type of manuscripts across the whole of West Africa characterised by ample space between the lines. This codicological feature seems to point to teaching practices wherein extra space is planned for annotations. This article attempts to draw a correlation between this specific layout and the content of the manuscripts, thus demonstrating that practices of Islamic education can be deduced from analysis of manuscript production. Following Introduction, section 2 discusses ample space layout relation to annotations in the Borno Quran manuscripts; section 3 focuses on the same features in manuscripts from Borno, other than Quran manuscripts; section 4 is a comparative survey of the Borno, Senegambia and Adamawa manuscripts in terms of the relationship between the types of texts and the ample-spaced layout. This comparison reveals a complex pattern of correlation between types of glosses, layout, titles of works, curricula and phases of education.