How to Format an eBook in Word

Format an eBook

Each step in the process of creating an eBook is crucial. Of all the steps involved, eBook formatting is highly demanding and tough for both authors and publishers. Though formatting an eBook can seem like a tough task, but it is significant to publish.

It is the writer’s dream to publish their book for the world to read, and it also their responsibility to ensure the eBook is entirely ready for publication.

Why format an eBook

It is a fact that formatting is crucial in creating an eBook. Writers need to put in enough effort and time while formatting their eBook or seeking professionals to do it.Let us look at why you need to invest ample time for eBook formatting.

  • eBook readability is dependent on the formatting. Only a well-formatted eBook can ensure an enjoyable reading experience.
  • An eBook has to be rid of any minor errors. You should pay attention to all the major and minor aspects. For instance, paragraphs, margins, font, style, and many more aspects have to be taken care of.
  • Like traditional books, cover design and interior book design is immensely significant. It increases the reader’s curiosity, appeals to them, and enhances the reading experience.
  • Not just the design of an eBook, it also makes sure eBook can be read in all possible devices and platforms.

There are a number of online tools that help you with formatting an eBook. You can also hire a professional to make the task easier and less stressful.

Important Formatting Tips

Before you get the manuscript ready for formatting, it is always better to go through the original document again. Follow certain formatting rules to make your manuscript ready for conversion. Here are a few tips to begin with:

Review:

Proofread your manuscript again to ensure the content is error-free. Read and check thoroughly for grammar, proper spelling, and syntax. It is better to be prepared now than find some minor mistakes later.

Standard Fonts:

Use standard fonts. Don’t think of fancy fonts while publishing an eBook. It hinders with seamless reading, and it is crucial to note that not all fonts are supported by eReaders and apps. Make sure you use standard font sizes like 12 pt. for text, and 14 to 18 pt. for chapter titles.

Mind the Spaces:

Usually, paragraphs and whole text might get justified in Word. The lines are paragraphs are spaced accordingly, and the manuscript ends up having unwanted spaces in between. Ensure that the document doesn’t have unnecessary spaces and gaps.

Get the Manuscript Ready:

it is important to get the whole manuscript ready, including the front and back matter. Review the document again to make sure you have the parts ready and in order.

eBook Formatting Softwares

If you are planning to self-publish an eBook, you need be aware of the formatting process and softwares as well. eBook formatting softwares help you set the eBook for digital publication. There are many apps and online softwares that help you with formatting an eBook. Here is a list of eBook formatting softwares that will help you make a choice.

Vellum

It is tool exclusively available in Mac for book creation. It helps you to professionally format your eBook. The book styles and formatting options are professional and visually appealing. It is slightly expensive than other softwares available.

Scrivener

It is one of the softwares that’s hugely popular among writers. It has efficient organizational functions which allow writers to organize the notes, research, and structure. It also has formatting options that helps to meet writer’s needs. The software is mainly designed to help with creating an eBook. So, if you are looking for exclusive formatting software, Scrivener might not be the best choice.

InDesign

It is software launched by Adobe that has beautiful templates and layouts for books. It helps the writer design their books and get it ready for digital publication. The option of audio, video, and animation is available here. InDesign is slightly technical and expensive. So, it might be difficult for both aspiring writers and published. 

Word

Microsoft Word is the often used by many people while making an eBook. It is commonly used to the text document ready. If you aren’t keen on learning, or comfortable using any other formatting software, Word is the easy option. Minimal formatting of text can be done here but it is advisable to use other formatting software to design the eBook.

Formatting an eBook in Word

Any published writer will tell you formatting an eBook is no simple task. The endeavor requires ample time and tireless effort. There are hundreds of online tools and apps that help you with the task of formatting. Still it doesn’t make the process stress-free.

It is a fact thatonly a well formatted eBook will give the reader an enjoyable reading experience. You can have good content and brilliant cover, but if your book is not formatted properly, it hinders the reading experience.

There are many writers who use Microsoft Word to format their eBook, and needn’t be such a difficult task

Steps to Format an eBook in Word

There are many writers who start writing their first book in Word. It is one of the widely used processor for different writing purposes. Many authors and educators use Word to edit and format their books since it offers numerous formatting options.

Let us look at the various steps involved in formatting eBooks in Word.

1. Review again

As an author, you would’ve paid enough and more time with your book so there are chances you might miss minor errors in the document. It would be beneficial if you go through your book again for spelling, grammar errors, and syntax. If you are starting to write the book in Word, then make sure you type it clean. Use the default setting in Word before writing.

2. Clear Formatting

It is important to have a clean manuscript. It should not have any prior formatting, no HTML codes, no bold or italics, and more. It is essential to have a clean manuscript because the document might have different styles, fonts, or prior formatting spill overs. It will make your manuscript messy, and the end product is a bad eBook. No one needs that.

In Word, select the whole manuscript by (CTRL+A), and select the option of clear formatting in font section.

After this, the manuscript will have no above mentioned factors.

3. Mark Paragraphs

Use the Pilcrow symbol when you write to separate sections or paragraphs. It is easier to learn the way to view the document. In Home tab, click on the Show/Hide Pilcrow option. It is the paragraph symbol used by the publishers.

This will show you the Pilcrow symbol after each paragraph, after you’ve hit ENTER to move to new line, and spaces. It will give a better view of the manuscript.

4. Use Styles

In Word, Styles is the feature that gives you numerous options to style your document. Styles is the already set formatting pattern for your chapter titles, sub-headings, bullet-list, and also gives you the fonts for the same. It makes formatting easier for publication.

To change the style set, you can click on the Change Styles option, and move to Style Set to select the set needed.

5. Page Break

Your manuscript has to be broken down to sections. It gives the eBook the complete look with chapters or sections rather than merely having a document that runs from pages to pages.

In Word, it is easy to create sections. At the end of a chapter, give a Page Break. Click on Insert section, and click on Page Break. If you are writing your book on Word, then instead of hitting ENTER several times to go to a new page or chapter, insert page break. The book will start in the next page, and will be easier for you as well to create sections.

6. Paragraphs

A common mistake that most of the writers face during eBook conversion is with paragraphs. They make errors with indentation and formatting of the paragraphs.  It is common to hit TAB or Space bar to intend paragraphs. But as far as creating eBooks is concerned, it is better not to do it.

To ensure that the paragraphs are properly intended, use the Paragraph setting. In Word, select the content, and move to Paragraph section in Page Layout tab. In the section, there is option change the indent and spacing. Here, change intends and spacing as it is required.

For instance, Kindle has specified requirements. Under indentation, scroll to Special, and   First Line should be indent to 0.2”. Under Spacing, the Before and After should be set to 0”, and Line spacing should be set to Single. Look at KDP Guidelines to know about their formatting specifications.

7. Headers & Footers

Page numbers are more often found in print books. But do not add page numbers in your manuscript manually. Make use of Headers & Footers in Word. Have the page number in the Footer and remember to select Different Odd & Even Pages option since that is essential as well.

8. Chapters

Use Chapter titles and Headings in Quick Style option in Word. For instance, give Heading 1 for chapter titles, Heading 2 for sub-titles or sub-sections.

9. Table of Contents

In Word, there is an option to create Table of Contents. Under References section, select Table of Contents, pick a style, and insert it after formatting the chapters. You’ll have a page of contents with page numbers.

Even if you make any changes in the manuscript later, the table of contents can be updated automatically. You can do this by clicking on Table of Contents section and select Update Table.

Once you have finished formatting your eBook in Word, it is time to convert your document into the preferred eBook format, namely, EPUB, MOBI, or PDF.

You can use GoogleDocs, KindleGen, or other conversion softwares like Zamzar, Hamster, or Calibre to convert your manuscript file into preferred eBook format of your choice.

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