typography dropcap in ebook format

If you’ve added dropcaps to your Word document and converted to ebook files, the dropcaps probably won’t display in the right places, because Word adds a special text box that will become misaligned after conversion. You need to redo your dropcaps in Sigil (free, open source ebook editing software).

I added a video, it might help, if not skip down below:


Open up the epub and look at the first paragraph of chapter one. Go into code view. You’ll need to make a special span class around the first letter of the first word, and that span class will be inside the regular paragraph titles.

Mine looks like this (my first paragraph main body style is “block 14”. I’ve bolded all the code.

<p class=”block_14″><span class=”dropcap”>P</span>ERSEPHONE PUSHED THE WHEELBARROW to the last troll in a ring of the pungent beasts guarding the steaming hole in the great cavern, the pack of fenrir-wolves trailing her as they had done since the demon army had been released. </p>

Then I have to go into my stylesheet and add the details for that span class, which looks like this:

span.dropcap {

float: left;

font-family: ‘LHF Larcher Roman’, serif;

font-size: 6.7em;

line-height: 0.8em;

margin-bottom: -0.1em;

margin-top: -.4em;



You’ll need to play with those figures to get the dropcap to display exactly where you want it, and how large. Also make sure you’ve added the right font into your ebook, if you’re using a special font, by adding this at the top of your stylesheet.


@font-face {

font-family: “LHF Larcher Roman”;

font-weight: normal;

font-style: normal;

src: url(‘../Fonts/Larcher.ttf’);



But let’s be real, you don’t want to do all that!

Jutoh is an ebook formatting tool that lets you make dropcaps. And it’s function. But Vellum is so much cleaner and more user-friendly, and you can easily change the dropcap fonts and style.

Vellum Dropcaps

Vellum Book Formatting

Derek Murphy
Derek Murphy

I'm a location independent book designer (and book marketing genius) working on my PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle to use as a writer's paradise. I write non-fiction and YA.

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