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How to Format a Book with Word

There are a ton of options available for formatting your manuscript before you can submit it for printing at Johnson Printing. Even a simple Google search can give you nearly endless options. It’s pretty overwhelming. But, since many people are familiar with Microsoft Word, we have decided to provide a blog on how to format a book with Word is in order. Presenting a nice-looking book to readers is essential. If it looks unprofessional, it’s going to be harder to gain readers and build your reputation. That’s why formatting your manuscript is so important. So whether you’re looking to format your manuscript for an ebook or a print book (or both), this guide can help! First, we’ll talk about formatting an ebook and then a print book, since they’re both a little different. But, it’s a good idea to read through the whole thing, because formatting for an ebook sets you up for formatting for print. In this article, you will learn:

  1. Formatting chapter headings in Word

  2. How to format your book for print in Word

  3. Setting up the book size and page format

  4. Formatting your book in Atticus vs. Word

Let’s dive right in. Note: If yours is a picture book or one that has lots of images, graphs, blockquotes, illustrations, and the like, Word is not the best option for formatting. You’ll probably want to go with a professional formatting service or try your hand at formatting with a fixed-layout file manuscript format. You can check out this article on KDP for help with image-heavy books. Formatting a Book in Microsoft Word First off, you need to make sure you have everything ready to go in your document. This means having the title page, introduction, preface, etc. in place. Many writers are so excited with their finished and edited manuscript that they forget about the seemingly little things that can have a big impact on readers. If you’re not sure what goes into the front and back matter of a book, check out this article. Font Start with a standard font size and style, like 12-point and Times New Roman or Arial. These will make your life easier and your readers will thank you, whether they're reading your Kindle book or your print book. Once you have all the parts of your book organized in your manuscript and your text size and style set, it’s time to get formatting. Setting Paragraphs and Spacing Getting paragraph indentations and spacing are important for a professional-looking ebook. You can help Kindle Direct Publishing (or whichever platform you’re going to sell on) by making sure these are all within the proper bounds. Make sure you’re in the Home tab for proper navigation. First, click on the Paragraph bar at the top of your screen. Set the alignment to left and make sure the Outline Level is set to Body Text. Next, under the Indentation heading, there’s a Special column on the right. Set that to First Line and place the indentation at 0.2”. Then you’ll want to make sure that Line Spacing is set to Single. Chapter Headings Formatting your chapter headings correctly differentiates them from the rest of the text so that when the manuscript is transformed into ebook format, the ebook reader will know when a new chapter is starting. To do this, place your cursor on a chapter title. Then click on the Styles tab. A window should open up on the right side of your screen. Click the Heading 1 style. You’ll see the heading change. Once it has changed, you can select whatever font style you want without removing the Heading 1 style from the chapter heading. Repeat this process for all the chapter headings in your book, making sure they’re all the same font. Once you have all of them changed, you can go to the View tab and check the box for the Navigation Pane. You’ll then be able to view your headings on a window on the left side of your screen. You can also jump to a chapter by clicking on your chapter title in the Navigation Pane. Table of Contents Next, you’ll want to create a table of contents (TOC). Decide where you want your table of contents (it should have its own page after the title and copyright pages). Place the cursor there and then navigate to the References tab and click on the Table of Contents. Select Automatic Table 1. Go to Table of Contents again and select Custom Table of Contents from near the bottom of the menu. When the box pops up, set the Show Levels option to 1. Then unclick the Show Page Numbers box above that. It will ask you if you want to replace your current TOC. Click OK. Next, you’ll need to add a bookmark to the TOC. Highlight the word Contents at the top of the table of contents. Navigate to the Insert tab. Under the Links heading, select Bookmark. Label the bookmark TOC. That’s it! I can’t say that it’s easy exactly, but it’s not the hardest thing in the world. Next, you can upload the .docx MS Word document to Kindle Direct Publishing and Amazon will convert it to an EPUB file for you. Double-Check Your Work! Now, it’s important to make sure the final products look good. One drawback of formatting with Word is that the Kindle ebooks often have some issues in formatting, so you need to go through it with a fine-tooth comb, paying special attention to the text and formatting. Of course, if you’d rather not go through all the hassle outlined above, you can also use Atticus to format your ebook! But, more on that later. First, let’s talk about formatting your book for print.

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