2. WYSIWYG – Createspace Word document to PDF

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This is the part 2 of my publishing on Createspace series.  Part 1 was just an introduction to Createspace publishing, which introduced what I am intending to do with this course and showed you a screenshot of my own earnings on Createspace since I started creating physical versions of my Kindle books.

In this tutorial, I want to tell you about something that is important, and should be kept in mind as you format your book.

I am assuming you already have a Kindle book that you want to publish on Createspace.  If you don’t, then you can still follow this set of tutorials to release your book on Createspace.  You’ll know ahead of time what you need to get right as you write your book.  The fact is, most of what you need to do for Kindle versions also needs to be done for Createspace, but there are a few differences that we will look at as we go through this course.

NOTE: If you are more interested in formatting and publishing on Kindle, I recommend you read my Kindle Publishing book on that topic.

Before you start!

Get the book proof-read and/or edited.

This is important for Kindle books, but it more important for physical books, like those you’ll be creating on Createspace.  Why?  Because a Kindle book can be updated and pushed through to customers, a physical book cannot.  Once someone has bought a Createspace version of your book, it’ll be there on their bookshelf, with all mistakes visible to anyone who reads it.

It is therefore vital you get your book proof-read or edited by a professional.

Fortunately, that does not have to cost a fortune.  A friend of mine is an editor/proof reader, and I use him for all of my books now.  I shared my story of why I use him in an article on why an editor does not have to cost a fortune.  Andy (my editor), provides an excellent service for a price that I have not seen matched anywhere else.  You can find out more about his services on his site if you are interested (BTW, I make no commissions for recommending him).

OK, book checked?  No grammatical or spelling mistakes?  Good.

For all of my books, I use Microsoft Word and that is what I am going to be using throughout these tutorials.  If you don’t own it, I recommend you try to get a copy as it makes formatting for Kindle and Createspace very easy.

Word .docx to .pdf

The first VERY IMPORTANT thing to understand with Createspace, is that once you submit your Word document, they will convert it to a PDF file and every page of your Word document will become a single page of the PDF document.

The significance of this may be over your head at the moment, but it is vital you understand this and as you go through publishing on Createspace, you will understand why I am mentioning it at the very beginning of this course.

Knowing this fact allows you to concentrate on making sure each page of your Word document is laid out as you want it, and as you want it to appear in the final, physical book.  If there are a few blank lines at the top of a page in your Word document, there will be a few blank lines at the top of the page in your physical book.

NOTE: If you are familiar with Kindle publishing, this is actually different to what you are used to.  With Kindle, you don’t consider individual pages, since the Kindle reader actually paginates on the fly, and you have no control over what constitutes a whole page.  Because of that, Kindle books (and the documents you create for Kindle) have no page numbers in the documents you create and submit.  I’m not going to go into detail on formatting specifically for Kindle, as that is all covered in my book, which I mentioned at the start of this article.

So what does this mean to you as you format your book for Createspace?

Well, firstly it means you CAN be certain what will be included on each page of your physical book, because it will be exactly what is on that page of your Word document.

Secondly, it means you can include page numbers and a table of contents if required, and be certain that page numbers in the TOC match up with page numbers in the book.

Thirdly, it means you can layout every page, exactly as you want that page to appear in the physical book without having to guess (as is often the case with Kindle format).

Finally, it means you can check your Word document carefully for simple mistakes, and be certain you have it right before submitting it to Createspace.

As we go through this course, I’ll highlight some of the simple checks I do on my Word documents, to make sure the physical books looks exactly as I want it to.

If you enjoy this series, please share using the social buttons on this page, and tell your friends.  Thanks!

Here is the link to all of the Createspace tutorials in this series.


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.

Publish on Createspace

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.

Kindle Publishingself-publish on amazon

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5 thoughts on “2. WYSIWYG – Createspace Word document to PDF”

  1. Hello Dr. Andy!
    I’m hanging on every word. I have purposely NOT done any research on CreateSpace publishing, having decided to rely on yours. Ha!

    I already knew the coin of the print graphics realm was the .pdf. But I had no clue about CS. Now I’m just a leetle smarter!

    So, I also see now that I need to go remove all of the page breaks and such because what you see really is what you get with the PDF.

    It’s safe to say that I can hardly wait for the next installment! Super super job!!

    Your main fan in Cowchip/AL

    1. Hi Norm
      I think once you know the one Word page = one PDF page, things get a lot easier.
      Page breaks are OK to use if you use them in the correct places. Since the page break creates a new page in your Word document, it will also create a new page in the PDF.

  2. Great stuff Andy!

    Although I still need to see through the Kindle projects first, it’s really nice to know that after that, this info is ready and waiting to implement to then take the CS route. Looking forward to your next segment.

    Having been a writer for several years, I’m surprised (and I guess a little embarrassed), that I’ve never heard the term ‘paginate’ before! Goes to show you learn something new every day. 🙂

    Thanks for your kind efforts posting this Pal!

  3. I finally have the time to go through this tutorial. It’s much needed and much appreciated. I’ve shared it on Facebook under my pen name, Delora Dennis.

    1. Thanks Olivia. I need to get these tutorials finished. I am also putting it all together in a more comprehensive set of tutorials as a Kindle/Createspace book 😉

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