In this tutorial, I want to go over the basic text formatting of your document. Now, there is no way I can cover everything you need to know about formatting in Word. I am not a Word expert, and there may be different and even better ways of doing things than I show in the next couple of tutorials. However, the way I do things works, so I will cover the basics to get you up and running. If you know of better ways of doing things, please leave a comment at the end of the tutorial, and I may update these tutorials with any suggestions.
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is what font you want to use for your book. I am not going into font selection, so if you want to read some thoughts on this, look at this article – Picking Fonts for your Indie Book.
Please note that you cant just use any font. You need to make sure you have the rights to use the font commercially. I am not a lawyer, so please don’t ask my advice on this. You need to read the copyright information of the fonts. Having said that, any fonts that came pre-installed with Word, are probably safe to use.
OK, let’s look at the formatting.
On the Home tab in Word, the ribbon bar gives you some “buttons” for quickly formatting the text of your book.
If you select any text in your Word document, and click one of these buttons, the text will be formatted accordingly. Click the Heading 1 button, and the selected text will become a large heading. Click on Normal, and your selected text will be formatted as “normal” text.
The main text in your book should be formatted to the “Normal” format:
You can test this by clicking into a paragraph of your book, and the Normal format should be highlighted:
You can see where I have clicked into the opening paragraph, and the Normal format is highlighted.
If by any chance some of the text is not formatted as “Normal”, it is usually easy to spot in your document.
See how the circled text looks a little different. To fix this, I just need to click into that paragraph and then click the “Normal” format button.
Changing the Fonts used for Formatting
We are about to modify the fonts used to format your document, and once complete, it is a good idea to save your changes as a custom style. You can therefore select it whenever you want to apply the
The main formatting buttons I use in my books are as follows:
Normal – For the main text of the book.
Heading 1 – For chapter headings.
Heading 2 – For the main sub-headers in the chapter.
Heading 3 – For sub-sections of the main chapter sections.
Title – For the title on the cover page.
Subtitle – For the subtitle/tagline on the cover page.
You need to make sure that all of these formats are using your chosen font. To do that, simply right click on the format button and select the Modify option:
This opens a dialogue box that allows you to change the font:
Note that in my screenshot, I have chosen Trebuchet MS, size 12. I’d recommend that text should be no smaller than size 12.
Notice that you can also change the alignment of the text, so you can set this to justify if that is what you want.
At the bottom of this screen, you have the option to apply this format to just this document, or to all new documents you create based on the current template. I usually select the latter.
On clicking OK, the font formatting will be saved.
Repeat this process for all formatting options you are using in your book. Here are my settings for the Heading 3:
I always add two points to my “normal” text size to use as the Heading 3. I’ll then add 2 more for heading 2, and 2 more for heading 1. This is just personal preference, but here is a quick reference for those sizes:
Normal text – 12
Heading 1 – 18
Heading 2 – 16
Heading 3 – 14
Obviously you need to decide on these for yourself and what works best with the type of book you are writing, but the headings are hierarchical, so the Heading 1 should be bigger than Heading 2 which is bigger than Heading 3. Heading 3 should be bigger than the main text to make sure the headers stand out.
When you modify the heading formats like this, you’ll see a check box to Automatically update. Leave this option UNCHECKED.
After you have formatted all of the styles to your liking, your document should be starting to look good.
If you have your styles all set up, and want these to be the default styles when you create a new document in Word, click the Set as Default item in the Change Styles menu.
Now, whenever you create a new document, it will use the styles you just defined.
I haven’t completed the tutorials on this site. Instead, I’ve re-written most of them, added a lot of new ones (plus a number of video tutorials), and created a complete “Self-Publishing on Createspace” book that will take you through the entire process of converting your manuscript to Createspace format. You can buy the book on Amazon Kindle.
I also have my Kindle Publishing book available on Kindle, together with the Self-Publishing on Amazon book that contains both of the first two books.