Saturday, 30 June 2012

Formatting an eBook in Word - Creating a Clean Document.

This post is going to be the first in a number I plan to post on formatting in Microsoft Word. I know a lot of people who hate Word, but it’s the only thing I’ve ever used. I know nothing about any other formats! So far, I haven’t had any complaints about the formatting of my ebooks, and my books look good on my kindle, so I guess I’m doing something right! I hope this will be a simple explanation about how I do things and will be helpful to others. I'm the least technical person in the world, so if I can figure this one out, you should be able to as well!

1.    If you’re unsure of your formatting from the start, or the document has been through a couple of different computers or editors, copy and paste the whole document into something like Word’s OneNote. This removes all the horrible little formatting issues (some of which may even be hidden when you have the formatting sign on) such as change in font sizes. These things ruin the look of your ebook.
2.   Copy and paste the cleared of formatting piece from OneNote back into a new Word document.
3.   Hit ‘Select All’ on the top tool bar.
4.   Decide which font you want to go with. I tend to use Georgia. So, with the ‘select all’ highlighting your document, choose the Georgia font (or whatever one you want).
5.   Again, with the whole of the document selected, right click and select ‘Paragraph’. Here you need to make a number of selections. Start at the top and work down. Check Alignment is ‘Left’. Check indentation is ‘0’ for both left and right. Choose Special, first line by ‘0.8cm’. (This is the indentation I prefer. You may want to make it bigger or smaller.) Line Spacing needs to be ‘Single’. (Again, some people prefer 0.5, but this is your choice). Finally, check the ‘Don’t add space between paragraphs’ box. Now hit ‘OK’.
6.   This should give you a good looking document with no nasty formatting surprises!
7.   Start to personalise your document. If you want certain things centered, you need to highlight that title and center it. Same with any changes in font, etc. If you want a line to be perfectly centered in the document, you need to right click and select ‘Paragraph’ again. This time make sure everything is the same as above, but change the ‘Special’ to ‘None’ and this will make it perfectly centered.

The next post will be on making your eBook look good on an e-reader, so stay tuned!


  1. I thought this sounded familiar! ;) As you well know, you'll find me a very captive audience for this kind of material. Thanks again for everything.


  2. Lol. Yeah, I thought you'd recognise it! I figured some other people may find it useful too! And you're welcome, of course. :-)