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eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide

This step-by-step guide shows you how to turn a manuscript written in Microsoft Word into a file ready to be uploaded to KDP. The information we give is specific to the 2016 version of Word, but the steps are similar in most versions. Depending on your eBook, some steps may be unnecessary (e.g., if your book doesn't have images).

After you format your manuscript in Word, add finishing touches with Kindle Create. In a few clicks, it can help you format your title page, table of contents, and individual paragraphs and change you book's look and feel by applying themes.


Set paragraph indentations and line spacing

To ensure your book body text displays consistently, you'll want to indent paragraphs (Tab spacing doesn't convert to Kindle) and set line spacing. To ensure consistency and save time, modify the Normal style. This will automatically apply the formatting.

  1. On the Home tab, right-click the Normal style and choose Modify.
  2. Click the Format list (the drop-down at the bottom of the dialog box) and choose Paragraph. This opens another dialog box.
  3. Under Indentation > Special, set First line indent to 0.2" (5 mm).
  4. Under Spacing, set Before and After to 0 pt, and Line spacing to Single.
  5. Click OK.

Finish your manuscript

  1. Format chapter titles. As you write your book, apply Heading 1 to chapter titles. This will also help you later when you create your table of contents.
    1. Place your cursor next to the first chapter title.
    2. On the Home tab, click Heading 1.
    3. Set the alignment to Center.
    4. Repeat for each chapter title.

  2. Add front and back matter. Front matter includes elements like title, copyright, and dedication pages. Back matter can include an “About the Author” page or bibliography. Your eBook should include a title page with your book title and author name. You can also add other front matter as well as back matter pages, but these aren't required. To get ideas, look at books with content similar to yours. If you want to add a copyright page, here's a template:

    Copyright © 2018 Author Name
    All rights reserved.

  3. Add page breaks. Adding pages breaks also helps to ensure your text displays as intended. Wherever you want one page to end and the next to begin:
    1. Place your cursor.
    2. Go to the Insert tab.
    3. Click Page Break.

  4. Insert hyperlinks. External links should enhance the reader experience and the content of you eBook. For details on our guidelines for links, see the "Links" section of our quality guidelines.
    1. Highlight the text you want to link.
    2. Go to the Insert tab.
    3. Under Links, click Hyperlink. This opens a dialog box.

    4. Enter the URL you want to link to in the Address field.
    5. Click OK.

  5. Add footnotes. Footnotes in your eBook must have working links so readers can click easily from content to footnote and back.
    1. Place your cursor where you want the footnote to appear.
    2. On the References tab, click Insert Footnote.

    3. The cursor will jump to the footnote section at the bottom of the page.
    4. Enter your footnote here. When your upload your eBook, the footnotes will be automatically converted to endnotes.

  6. Insert images. We recommend inserting images with Kindle Create, which is explained in step 3 of this guide. Kindle Create can help you insert and edit the size and alignment of your images with preset options based on professional book layouts.

    Prefer to do it yourself? Here are our top tips for adding images in Word:
    • Insert images at their original size. Insert images into your file; don't cut and paste. After you insert your images, don't enlarge them because this will decrease the resolution. We also recommending adding a single line of space before and after images. To insert an image:
      1. Go to the Insert tab.
      2. Under Illustrations, click Pictures.
      3. Select the file from your computer and click Insert.
      4. Set the alignment to Center.
    • Check your device settings. Most cameras and scanners offer high-resolution settings. Make sure they're set to high resolution before using them.
    • Turn off image compression. To reduce file size, Word is set to compress images. To change the setting:
      1. Go to the File tab and click Options.
      2. Under Advanced, find Image Size and Quality.
      3. Check the Do not compress images in file box.
    • Check the image resolution. Don't know if your images are high resolution? Check the image details and calculate the pixels per inch (PPI):
      1. Right-click on the image file and select Properties.
      2. In the window that opens, click the Details tab.
      3. Look for the number of pixels under the Image header.
      4. Divide the number of pixels by the image size. For example, the pixel count of your image is 1200 x 1800, and the image is 4" x 6". That means your image has 300 PPI.

  7. Create an active table of contents. We recommend doing this with Kindle Create, which is explained in step 3 of this guide. As part of conversion, Kindle Create detects possible chapter titles and displays them for your review. Once you revise and accept the entries, they are used to create two types of TOCs, the TOC page and the Kindle Interactive TOC.

    Prefer to do it yourself? Here's how to create a TOC in Word:
    1. Click where you want to insert your table of contents.
    2. Go to the References tab and click Table of Contents.
    3. Select Automatic Table 1.
    4. Click Table of Contents again, but this time choose Custom Table of Contents.
    5. Uncheck the Show Page Numbers box, set Show levels to 1, and click OK.
    6. When asked if you want to replace the table of contents, click Yes.
    7. Highlight the table of contents title Contents.
    8. Go to the Insert tab, and in the Links section, click Bookmark.
    9. In the Bookmark name field, enter toc and click Add.
    10. Insert a page break after your table of contents.

  8. Quality check. After finishing your manuscript, check the following:
    • Spelling. Use Word's built-in spellcheck and grammar tools, but also proofread your file manually. The tools may not catch every error.
    • Hard returns. A hard return is anywhere you press the Enter key while typing your manuscript. Hard returns can change the design of your book in unintended ways. To avoid this, only use hard returns when you want to start a new paragraph or create extra space between paragraphs. You shouldn't use them at the end of every line.
    • Track Changes. Make sure the Track Changes option is turned off. You can check this by going to the Tracking section of the Review tab.
    • Cover image file. Don't include your cover image in your manuscript file. When you publish your eBook, we'll automatically add the cover image you provide during title setup.
    • Page numbers, headers, footers. eBooks are reflowable and can be viewed with different font sizes, so page numbers and page count don't apply. Also, eBooks don't have headers and footers, so you don't need to add them to your file.
    • Text boxes and shapes. We don't recommend inserting text boxes and shapes to create diagrams. If you want to include visuals like these, insert them as images.
    • Drop caps. Drop caps are large capital letters at the beginning of a block of text with two or more lines of regular text. They're typically used for the first letter of the first sentence of a chapter. Drop caps are supported, but they may not appear the way you want them to if you add them in Word. We recommend using Kindle Create to add elements like drop caps.

Finish formatting in Kindle Create

For in-depth instructions, see Building Your Text-Heavy eBook with Kindle Create.

  1. Get started with the tool
    1. Download (PC or Mac) and install Kindle Create.
    2. Open Kindle Create and click New Project from File.
    3. Choose the type of book you're making and click Choose File.
    4. Find your document (DOC/DOCX) and click Open. Kindle Create will then import your document.
    5. Click Continue. Kindle Create will start finding chapter titles.
    6. Click Get Started. A list of suggested chapter titles will appear.

  2. Create a table of contents
    As part of conversion, Kindle Create detects possible chapter titles and displays them for your review. Once you revise and accept the entries, they are used to create two types of TOCs, the TOC page and the Kindle Interactive TOC.
    • TOC page: The TOC page, sometimes referred to as an HTML TOC, is a page in the beginning of your book that includes links to each chapter of the book.
      • How to get it: To add a TOC page in Kindle Create, click the thumbnail of your first chapter in the Contents pane and select Insert > Table of Contents. The list of detected chapter titles is displayed. Click OK to accept it and the TOC page is added to your book. The TOC page is automatically updated as you add or remove chapters of your book and cannot be changed manually.
    • Kindle Interactive TOC: The Kindle Interactive TOC, sometimes referred to as the NCX, is displayed in the Kindle menu and can be accessed from anywhere in the book.
      • How to get it: You can allow Kindle Create to detect chapter titles during .doc(x) import or by selecting Edit > Chapter Detection or you can add a manual entry to the TOC by selecting the thumbnail in the Contents Pane and then selecting the Include in Table of Contents checkbox in the Properties Pane.

  3. Add finishing touches to front matter
    1. Place your cursor next to your book title and click the BOOK TITLE button in the Text Properties panel on the far right. This will format your book title.
    2. Repeat these steps for your author name, and if you have them, your copyright and dedication pages.

  4. Format chapters
    1. Place your cursor next to the first paragraph of your first chapter and click Chapter First Paragraph. This adds a drop cap (a large capital letter) to the first letter of the first word in a chapter.
    2. Repeat this step for each chapter beginning.

  5. Add images. Kindle Create requires images in JPG format. We recommend at least 100 pixels on the longest side and 300 pixels per inch (PPI) to ensure image clarity. To add an image:
    1. Right-click where you want to add the image and choose Insert Image from the pop-up menu.
    2. Choose the image you want to add and click Open. Your image is added and the Image Properties are displayed in the Properties Pane.
    3. Choose a size. You can also change the position of small and medium images.

Preview your eBook

We recommend previewing your eBook before you publish it. If you're formatting in Word, use Kindle Previewer, a free desktop application. If you're formatting in Kindle Create, you can preview your eBook by clicking the Preview button. Both versions of Previewer show you how your eBook will look on:

  • Tablets
  • Kindle E-readers
  • Phones

Previewing your eBook can help you find quality issues you should fix before you submit your eBook for publication. When you upload your eBook to KDP, you can also do one final check in the Online Previewer.


Upload your eBook

I only used Word I used Word and Kindle Create
  1. Save your file in DOC/DOCX format.
  2. Go to your Bookshelf.
  3. Upload the DOC/DOCX file.
  1. Prepare your file for publication in Kindle Create by clicking Publish in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Go to your Bookshelf.
  3. Upload the KPF file.

After you submit your book, we'll review it. If your files don't pass our reviews, you'll need to edit and resubmit them. Learn more about timelines for new publications.



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