book formatting in microsoft word

I made this video while helping a friend improve his print formatting; it was already formatted but I added some professional touches, removed all tabs, and talk about how to use styles and paragraph spacing to keep things consistent – which makes it so much easier to make changes later without needing to go through the whole book again.

How to format a book in Microsoft Word

Formatting a book in Microsoft Word can be a straightforward process if you follow the right steps. Here’s a general guide on how to do it:

  1. Setting Up the Document: Start by creating a new Word document. Go to “Layout” or “Page Layout,” select “Margins,” and then “Custom Margins.” A common choice is to set a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  2. Page Size and Layout: Go to “Paper Size,” and set the width and height according to your book’s size. For most books, 6″ x 9″ is a standard size. Choose “Mirror Margins” under “Multiple pages” for facing pages in a book.
  3. Page Numbers: Click on “Insert” and then “Page Numbers” to add page numbers. For a professional look, you might want to start page numbers on the second page.
  4. Title Page: Create a title page with the book title, subtitle (if any), author name, and publisher logo (if applicable). Center align the text.
  5. Copyright Page: This usually goes on the back of the title page. Include the copyright symbol ©, the year, the author’s name, and any legal notices.
  6. Table of Contents: Insert a table of contents by going to “References” and “Table of Contents.” Make sure all chapter headings have been styled as “Heading 1” to appear in the TOC.
  7. Chapter Headings: Use “Heading 1” for Chapter Titles. This provides a professional look and helps in creating the table of contents.
  8. Body Text: The body of your text should be “Normal” style. A common choice is 12-point Times New Roman or another easy-to-read font.
  9. Line Spacing: For body text, line spacing is typically set to 1.5 lines for easy readability.
  10. Indentation: Go to “Paragraph,” then “Indentation.” Under “Special,” choose “First line” and set it to 0.3 inches to 0.5 inches.
  11. Header and Footer: Under “Insert,” select “Header” or “Footer,” and add any text you want to appear there, such as the book title, author name, or publisher.
  12. Page Breaks: Insert a page break at the end of a chapter to ensure the next chapter begins on a new page.
  13. Proofread: Finally, make sure to thoroughly proofread your book for any typos or formatting errors.

Remember, these are general guidelines and the specific formatting requirements can change depending on the genre, audience, and where you’re planning to publish the book. Always check with your publisher or printing service to ensure you meet their specific requirements.

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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