How to Use Microsoft Word to Create an Ebook

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Set Up the Ebook's Chapters

To continue, start a new page by choosing Page Layout, Breaks, Next Page. Now you’re now ready to start with Chapter 1 of the book. Type the first chapter heading, and format it using the Heading 1 style. Add second-level headings if you desire, and format them as Heading 2 style. It’s important to use Heading 1 style for chapter headings and Heading 2 style for subheadings, because Word automatically configures them to be the first- and second-level headings in the table of contents.

Add some placeholder text for the chapter content, such as Text goes here, and format it using the Normal style.

Add Page Headers and Footers

To make your pages look more professional, add a header displaying the book title, plus a footer with page numbering. To do this, click the Insert tab on the Ribbon toolbar and click Header. From the list choose Edit Header to create your header. Click Header & Footer Tools, Link to Previous (if it isn't grayed out already) to break the link, so that the headers in each section can be different. Now type the book title into the header--or enter some placeholder text indicating what should go there--and format it using a style.

Configure the footer for the document to start numbering at the first page of the first chapter.
Still on the first chapter page, choose Insert, Footer, Edit Footer, and again choose Header & Footer Tools, Link to Previous (if necessary) to break the link between this section’s footer and the footer in the preceding section. Click in the footer area. On the Ribbon toolbar, click Page Number, Bottom of Page, and then select a page number style (such as Page Number 2).

Now, choose Page Number, Format Page Number, and click Start at. Set its value to 1 and click OK. This gives you a footer with the page number in it, starting with the first chapter as page 1. Click Close Header and Footer to return to the document.

Set Up the Next Chapter

To set up the next chapter, choose Page Layout, Breaks, Page and again add the chapter title (or placeholder title text), subheadings, and placeholder text for this chapter. Format these items using the same styles as you used for Chapter 1. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the placeholders from Chapter 1 and update them. Continue in the same way to add more chapters as necessary.

To test the table of contents, return to it, click inside it, and press F9 to update it.

Save the Design as a Reusable Template

To save this design as a reusable template, choose File, Save As, and in the 'Save as type' drop-down list, select Word Template (*.dotx). Click the Templates entry below the 'Microsoft Word' name in the top-left corner of the Save As dialog box so that the file will be saved into the Templates folder. Type a name for the template, and click Save. You can now close the document, as you no longer need it.

To create a new ebook based on this template, choose File, New, My Templates, and then select the ebook template you just created from the Personal Templates list. Click OK, and you’ll have a brand-new ebook document with all the prompts and layout in place.

If you are creating only one ebook, and if you don’t want to create an ebook template from your file, go ahead and save the file as you would any regular Word file.

Save in Other Formats

Once you have completed your ebook and it’s ready for formatting into a special ebook format, you can save it in the required basic format within Word. If you need a file in the .rtf or .html format, choose File, Save As and select either Rich Text Format (*.rtf) or Web Page (*.htm;*.html) from the Save As list. Type a name for your file, and click Save.

If you need a .pdf file, choose File, Save & Send, Create PDF/XPS document, and click the Create PDF/XPS button. Type a name for the ebook, and then select the desired optimizing option and click Publish.

Test as You Go

Creating your ebook as a Word document gives you multiple options for publishing the ebook as a .pdf or converting it using an online or downloadable converter. As with any process that is likely to be somewhat complicated--particularly the first time you do it--you should create a chapter or two of your ebook and test the template design with your preferred publication method to make sure that everything works as expected, before you invest a lot of time and effort in formatting the entire document.

Although no “one size fits all” tool for ebook publishing exists, Word is a customizable and flexible layout tool. Its .doc file format is so widely used that you’ll likely find a way to get from there to any ebook format relatively simply.

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