How to create an eBook using Microsoft Word

First up I am using Word 2007 so if you are using an earlier or later edition the location of the tool categories may differ.

Now many people think that you need a specialised writing program to format an eBook correctly, however with a little effort and know how you can prepare your book using Microsoft Word.

So let’s get started.


First things first open a fresh word document. First of all we want to check several things before we get started. So you want to want to click the main Word button and in the lower right hand corner of the drop menu select word options. This will open a popup menu which holds commands for the whole word document. Here we need to check the proofing so click proofing along the left hand side of the menu. Here I only select, flag repeated words, check spelling as you type, use contextual spelling, and mark grammar errors as you type. Then you want to click on autocorrect options, which you will find in the top right hand corner. This will open another popup menu where you need to edit several things.


Under the autocorrect tab you can select all and under the autoformat tab and under replace you can select all and remember to select styles under preserve. Here is where it gets a bit different under the autoformat as you type tab deselect all because this can cause problems when you upload your file, however I leave straight quotes with smart quotes selected as I prefer the look.



Next you want to go to click advanced on the left hand side of the word options menu. Here you want to make sure that under editing options, keep track of formatting is selected and mark formatting inconsistencies bellow it. Then in case you decide to copy and paste work into the document from another make sure under the cut, copy, and paste section you select match destination formatting for all.


Now if you are like me and are using a lot of vocabulary from various languages fictional or not you may want to set up additional dictionaries to help the document cope with spell checking. How you do this is head back to the proofing section and under when correcting spelling in Microsoft Office programs click on custom dictionaries. This will open a popup menu, here you simply need to click new on the right hand side then it will ask you to save the new dictionary so give it a name and click save.


Next you want to fill it with words and you can do it one of two ways, you can select the dictionary and click edit word list, which will open a popup menu in which to enter the new words or if you select the dictionary of choice and click change default then all you need do is start a spell check and when a word is called up you simple click the add to dictionary button.



After this we head over to the page layout tab and the page setup section, to open a popup menu click the small icon in the lower right hand corner of the section.


For eBooks there is no standardized margin size so using the default setup is fine, which typically should be a margin size of 2.54 cm all around, found under the margins tab, and the paper size can remain as the letter, found under the paper tab under paper size.


Next you want to set some text styles as it is the easiest way to ensure that the formatting of your text will remain constant throughout your document. So head to the home tab and the styles section then right clicking on the style called Normal and in the drop menu select modify. Once you do this it will open a popup menu.

In this menu you can edit the font style and size and its alignment. Now I typically use Times New Roman for the main text as most books use this font because it is neat, easy to read and it looks professional. A good font size is also 11 pts. Now that is done go to the lower left hand corner and click format and in the drop menu select paragraph.

Here under the indents and spacing tab make sure that the indentation is set to 0 cm for the right and left and under special select first line and give it an indent of 0.5 cm. Then under spacing make sure that before and after is set to 0 pts and select single line spacing. Now your Normal text is formatted.


Next up is your headings style. So select the style called Heading 1, for headings it is good to choose a new font, personally I like Garamond as it blends well with Times New Roman but looks a bit more formal, a good size to set your headings at is 14 pts, and centered alignment of course. Now you want to go into paragraph again and set it the same as your Normal style with the exception of removing the first line indent.


If you are like me two text styles may not be enough so you might want to create your own. To do this you need to click the lower right hand icon under the styles section this will open a popup menu. Here you click the lower left hand icon which has the yellow star and A in it. This will open another popup where you are free to name your new format and format it as you see fit.


As examples I will show you some of my custom styles. Centered I use for the Title Page and for the Other Titles Page. Glossary, Copyright, and Table of Contents are pretty much self explanatory.


Now you are ready to write within your document. As you write you want to set out your work neatly, I will use two line spaces before the title of a chapter and another two below the title and remember that after each chapter you want to insert a page break.


You can do this one of two ways, you can go to the insert tab and under the pages section click page break, or under the page layout tab you can go to the page setup section and click breaks and under the drop menu click page.  Also remember that each chapter heading you want to apply the Heading 1 style and the body of the text you want to assign the Normal style.


Once you have written the bulk of your book it’s time to lay it out nicely. So first thing you will want to do is create a Title Page. Here you want to have the Title of your book, the author’s name, who has published it, and where it has been published. Now select the text and apply the Centered style to it, you may also like to select the title alone and increase the size of its font for emphasis.


Next comes the Copyright Page. Here you want to list your right to the copyright and who ever created the cover art. It is also good to put a disclosure in if it is fiction.

All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Now the copyright law may differ from country to country to make sure you know whether or not you are covered under the law of your country and included the rights listed in your copyright act. You may need to apply and pay a small fee for copyright protection.

Then comes your ISBN, now some places where you can upload your book will supply you with an ISBN while others require you to have your own. There are several ways you can acquire an ISBN, you can purchase one or if your country permits it you can contact your National Library for free ones, if they provide that service. But if so you must adhere to their terms and conditions.

And to close it is good to add something like this: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published. And of course assign Copy Right style to the text.


Onto the Contents Page, now I always like to have a table of contents in my books because as a reader the titles of chapters often help me decided whether or not it sounds like a good book. You can set out the table of contents in anyway which ever best suits your book. Note that here it is fine to use tab if you wish to list the chapter number and the name. Laying out the contents page is not the tricky part however.


Firstly what you want to do is go through your document and highlight one by one the chapter titles or any title you want to have a link to in your table of contents. Once highlighted go to the insert tab and under the links section click on bookmark, this will open a popup menu and here you can create your bookmark. Now I typically use shorthand to label my bookmarks, P for prologue, G for glossary, and then simply Ch1, Ch2, etc. Simply enter in your desired name and click Add on the right hand side.


Once this is done head back to your table of contents and highlight the words you wish to hyperlink. Then you go back to the insert tab and under the links section click hyperlink, a popup menu will open. What you want to do is click on place in this document on the left hand side. Then simply scroll down until you find the right bookmark and press okay.


Now you want to check all your links are working, so go through the table clicking on the linked words, then go back to the bookmark popup menu and select a bookmark and click go to, do this for the whole list. Once done you need to select hidden bookmarks in the bottom left hand corner of the menu and some bookmarks beginning with the label _Hlt will show up. In order to keep your file clean select them one by one and click delete.


One last thing to do to keep your contents page looking good,  select the whole of your table of contents and head to the home tab and the styles section and click the small icon in the lower right corner, you’ll see the popup menu you saw when creating new styles. Now you want to scroll down to Hyperlink and then click the icon with the pencil and the A, this will open another popup where you want to scroll down and select Hyperlink (Hide Until Used), now click modify and like other styles you can set it however you want. Because I already have a style, Table of Contents, in the style based on section I scroll down and select (underlying properties). Now that is done you can see that your table of contents is uniform.


You may however want to put certain sections in italics and give them a special indent of 0.5 cm, which you can do independently using the regular tools under the home tab.


At the end of the document you may want to put a Glossary Page especially if you are using a lot of uncommon terms or foreign words. Here you will use the Glossary style and then for added emphasis make each entry bold. You may also want to add supplementary information such as a page about the author, a preview of your next book, or a page which lists your previous titles.


Here you would use a similar process as in the Contents Page except your hyperlink is a direct web url. Remember to check the links and clear out any hidden bookmarks afterwards.


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