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Build Your Book - Format a Paperback Manuscript

This guide shows you how to turn your Microsoft Word file into a PDF that's ready to be uploaded to KDP. It includes:

  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Videos to show you what the instructions look like onscreen
  • Downloadable, printable companion guide to use as you format your manuscript on your computer

The Build Your Book guide is designed for two types of authors:


You want to format your paperback so that it meets KDP's basic specifications--with minimal fuss. To get these results, follow all the steps in the guide below except those marked "Advanced."


You want to format your book so that it meets the standards many professional designers follow. You don't mind taking the time to achieve the exact look you want. To get these results, follow all the steps in the guide below.
For the best results, follow the steps below in order. Also, remove any formatting you've already done. This guide works best for unformatted files. The information we give is specific to the 2016 version of Word, but the steps are similar in most versions. As you format your manuscript, keep in mind that many of the design elements described below are optional. If you're unsure which to include, find books with content similar to yours to get an idea of what readers expect. Learn more about paperback interior design elements.

Before you start…

There are other resources to help you format your book:

  • Kindle Create Add-In. A free tool that formats your book as you're writing it in Word.
  • Professional services. See this list of designers you can hire.

Step 1: Setting page size and margins

Step 2: Modifying styles for a custom look

Step 3: Formatting chapters

Step 4: Formatting front matter

Step 5: Adding pagination

Step 6: Adding headers (Advanced)

Step 7: Additional formatting for chapter title pages (Advanced)

Step 8: Adding images (Advanced)

Step 9: Creating a table of contents (TOC)

Step 10: Proofing and exporting to PDF

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